Kinect Star Wars Review
Maybe you should wait for the extended director’s cut.
I think everyone was excited the first time they saw Kinect Star Wars in action. The first videos showed people using the Kinect Sensor to swing a Light Saber and who doesn’t secretly (or not so secretly) want to be a Jedi? What we all wanted was a new Star Wars adventure where we got to be the Jedi, swing the Light Saber and use The Force. What we got was yet another collection of Kinect mini-games that fail to stand out.
As the title suggests, Kinect Star Wars is played exclusively via the Kinect Sensor with motion controls so Terminal Reality’s claim that this is “the first Star Wars game with no controllers in the way” is, at least, true. What isn’t clear is what the overall goal of this game was. What you get when you load up Kinect Star Wars is the choice of one of five game modes that offer Star Wars themed versions of things you’ve done with your Kinect before.
The core mode is the ‘campaign’ titled Jedi Destiny and those of you that were here for to play through new Star Wars story will be spending most of your time here. Or not, depending on how disappointed you are. You will take control of a Jedi in training and fight through a story that is a few hours long and involves little variety. Rather than trying to come up with a new narrative, or having you play out classic scenes, Jedi Destiny forces your character to play out events that mimic events in the Star Wars movies but don’t feature the original characters or stories.
Instead of engaging in real battles you’ll alternate between sequences where you need to deflect attacks with your Light Saber and sequences where you’ll swing it at droids. In between these, the game will advance you forward on its own, for the most part. You can jump to make your character flip over enemies and attack from behind but that’s about as interesting as the combat gets. You can attempt to grab and throw enemies with the force, controlled by your left hand, but all but the weakest enemies can just block this attack and the game is very picky when trying to aim your force attacks.
After you’re finished with the short campaign in Kinect Star Wars you’ll be able to choose from a few other options. Galactic Dance off is a ridiculously tacked on dancing mini-game that is so out of place and forced it’s more awkward than the Star Wars Holiday Special. If you really want to dance, and don’t already own another dancing game, you can dance to a few pop songs with re-recorded, star wars themed lyrics.
The Pod Racing game is probably the most enjoyable part of this whole package as it offers an experience that really gives you a sense of the speed you felt when watching The Phantom Menace. There is a story mode for this mini-game, though it’s obviously directed toward kids, as well as quick races. My only complaint is that you’ll have to hold both arms out in front of you, at all times, to steer so that can get tiring.
Duels of Fate mode is just a simplified version of Jedi Destiny that takes you through one on one Light Saber battles so I can’t see any reason to spend much time there. This brings us to the final mode Rancor Rampage. In this you’ll take control of a Rancor with the goal of destroying towns and eating bystanders. This mode can be fun for a few minutes and kids might enjoy stomping around for a while but there isn’t any real depth in Rancor Rampage.
Kinect Star Wars offers jump-in-jump-out co-op for two players locally so anyone in the room can jump into the game easily and leave when they get tired. There are no online multiplayer modes.
Kinect Star Wars is essentially a collection of Kinect games you’ve already played but with Star Wars skins slapped on everything. The main campaign mode offers the deepest experience out of the group but it fails to be any real fun and doesn’t control particularly well. Pod Racing and Rancor Rampage are fun for a while but lack any depth. Galactic Dance off is the result of being completely out of ideas but the effort that went in the music means it can’t possibly be a joke. I did, however, manage to get through writing this review without making a play on “these aren’t the droids you’re looking for”.