With the one year anniversary of Kinect right around the corner (stay tuned for our Kinect retrospective) we decided to honor the occasion by sharing with you the ten best games that have graced Microsoft's peripheral thus far. Now I know what you're thinking... What games?! I thought the Kinect was just another name for the Dance Central machine. Believe it or not, if you do a bit of digging and keep an open mind, there are some pretty compelling titles for Microsoft's controller-less platform.
So with out further ado, here we go!
10. Rise of Nightmares- If you think the Kinect is just a peripheral aimed at moms and kids, think again because Sega has broken that stigma with Rise of Nightmares; a gruesome, gritty title aimed at hardcore gamers. The game was built from the ground up for the Kinect, so it makes excellent use of the camera, tracking your movements in real time. While the game isn't without flaws, just remember that the Kinect is still in its infancy, so the strides made by Sega in Rise of Nightmares is nothing to scoff at.
9. Your Shape- If you've been looking for a solid home workout and Wii Fit simply isn't cutting it for you, Ubisoft's Your Shape may be just what you've been looking for. You can ditch that clunky balance board and experience a fitness game that truly makes use of motion controls. With the Kinect's camera and voice recognition systems, Your Shape can accurately detect how hard you are working and more importantly whether or not you are performing the exercises correctly. Who needs a personal trainer when you've got a Kinect?
8. Fruit Ninja Kinect- Sure, slicing and dicing on your smartphone may be a fun way to kill time when you're on the go, but what about when you're at home and you want a similar mindless experience in your living room? Fruit Ninja Kinect delivers the same addictive gameplay as its iOS counterpart, but instead of touch controls, you get to wave your arms. Want to burn a few extra calories and look absolutely ridiculous in the process? Look no further.
7. Forza Motorsport 4 - Turn 10 has made fantastic use of the Kinect in its latest racing title Forza 4, proving that not every Kinect game has to be based solely around the hardware. Forza 4 still plays like you would expect a racing game should, only it adds additional options for the player, including motion controlled steering and added immersion in the game's Autovista mode. While not having a Kinect won't ruin the experience for racing aficionados, the added layers of integration truly serve to elevate the experience and offer more options to the player.
6. Halo CE Anniversary- Now just try and tell me you don't want to yell "grenade" at your TV while playing Halo… oh wait, you actually don't? Well, you may not think you'll want to, but you might just end up warming up to the idea. Just hear me out. When you're playing a first-person shooter like Halo, your ability to execute commands are limited to four fingers: both of your thumbs and pointer fingers. Any hardcore Halo fan will tell you that you need to choose wisely in how you plan to make use of these four fingers, in an effort to be as efficient as possible. Having to move your right thumb off of the thumbstick to reload or jump can end up inhibiting your ability to aim. So, with the ability to call out commands, gamers won't have to compromise their aiming abilities - assuming this voice recognition functionality is responsive enough to work. In addition, 343i has also added the ability to scan enemies and other essential parts of the Halo universe to build up a library of information so that Halo nuts can delve further into the series' lore.
5. Once Upon a Monster- When Tim Schafer of Double Fine took the stage at E3 this past year and announced that he would me making a Sesame Street game for Kinect, I think just about every gamer in the audience rolled their eyes. Why would such a talented developer waste his time on a toddler-focused game? While I'll admit that the game definitely won't appeal to the average gamer, it has turned out to be one of the best family games to grace this new motion-based peripheral. Families that are looking for a way to have fun with their kids have the perfect game that will get them up off the couch, and that is an achievement in and of itself.
4. Kinect Sports- With Season Two on the way, it looks like Microsoft is really striving to take the Wii Sports idea to a whole new level. With more interactivity than any other sports game before, Kinect Sports will have you up off the couch laughing with a group of your friends. While the game can hardly be considered a hardcore title, it provides that casual, lighthearted fun that drew so many people to the Wii several years ago. Will Rare be able to recapture the magic that is rapidly fading from Nintendo's console? Only time will tell, but if anyone will manage to do it, it's these guys.
3. Dance Central- The guys over at Harmonix are music rhythm geniuses and their latest IP is no exception. Dance Central has been - and will likely continue to be - the killer app for the Kinect. With a sophisticated control scheme that accurately reads your body as you dance, this game provides a fun and exciting way to learn how to get your groove on. With a broad library of songs and some killer new features packed in the game's sequel, there's so much to love about this game.
2. The Gunstringer- Twisted Pixel is a talented bunch, and they've proven themselves once again with a wholly unique and innovative title called The Gunstringer. In the game, the player controls the title's protagonist as he/she would a marionette puppet. It seems a little bit out there, but it actually works really well. While your arm may get a bit tired after a few hours of play, it's a minor complaint when considering all that this game achieves. With innovative ideas like this, there's no telling what developers will be able to come up with in the future. It's no wonder Microsoft just recently purchased these guys.
1. Child of Eden - If you're ready for a truly out-of-body experience, Child of Eden has got to be the craziest, most trippy game since its spiritual predecessor Rez. This color-filled psychedelic shooter is a marvel to behold, with bright and vibrant visuals that are sure to strike up seizures in anyone susceptible. Accompanying the other-worldly visual style is a soundtrack that complements the game's artistic direction and serves as the most compelling part of the package. If you couldn't already tell, this game is pretty hard to describe, so check it out for yourself and see what I'm talking about. Believe me, once you see it, you'll be headed to the store to pick up a Kinect. It's really that cool.