Kinect Fruit Ninja
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Just Dance 3 Kinect adds full body dancing and bespoke choreography to what is already my favourite dance game. Sensibly shaped dancers and a great track list make this a great party game for all ages.
We have really enjoyed Just Dance in our family, and bought the first two games on the Wii -- not to mention the Michael Jackson Experience and Kids spin off game a few months back.
I think it is because of this that we haven't used our 360 Kinect setup for dancing. Kinect has largely been my daytime reserve for some exercise, and games with my pre-school aged son who loves Kinect Fruit Ninja.
I was interested to discover that Just Dance 3 was not only on the Wii this time, but on Kinect as well (ed: not to mention PlayStation 3 Move). As we have two Just Dance games on the Wii already we decided to go for the Kinect version this time around.
I have to say this took a fair bit of getting used to. Firstly the experience of dancing in front of the Kinect camera is very different. You see a silhouette of your body in the top left of the screen, which makes you aware of each move you are making. Once I realised I still needed to look at the lead dancers on the screen to know what to do I got on much better.
Not holding anything was also a little strange after the last couple of years clutching the Wii-mote. But as I got used to this I found it actually meant I would dance with my whole body. On the Wii you know it can't tell what you are doing with your legs so often miss those moves out -- but on Kinect there is no getting away with that.
Unlike Dance Central 2, which I recently tried out at a game show, Just Dance 3 is much less exacting. This means that if you do the move roughly in the right direction it will give you points. You can even use the wrong arm or leg and still score well -- although to get Perfect on a move you do need to get the timing and the motion spot on.
Like Just Dance 3 on the Wii, this version on the 360 offers some new ways to dance together. What I was most impressed with was that it supported up to four people dancing simultaneously with Kinect -- I had thought the controller only worked for two. A word of warning though, to get this working properly we had to move the 360 setup out into our large conservatory. This gave us the extra space we needed and meant we were away from direct sunlight at the back of the house -- at least there is one benefit for not having a south facing garden.
The clever thing is that Kinect "sees" who you are from your body shape.
When you dance with multiple players you can choose dances where you all do the same moves or, and this was my favourite, you can go for songs where each player has different choreography. You simply stand in front of the character you want to follow before the song starts and then stick to their particular dance. The clever thing is that once you have registered for a particular dance you can then move around freely and Kinect "sees" who you are from your body shape.
I spent some time in the week putting together some custom routines. This is something you can do on Kinect but not on the Wii or PlayStation Move version. Basically you record yourself performing a move in front of the camera, which is then captured by Kinect. Once you are happy it has been "seen" accurately you can save it. Then you can combine this with other moves to make up a whole routine.
Underlying all this, like in previous Just Dance games, are some sensible design and dancer decisions. Each of the on-screen performers not only matches the style (and theme) of each song but is also shaped like a normal human being. This may sounds like a minor point, but in a world so shape obsessed it's a real god-send for a mum -- thinking more about the children's body-image than my own.
The most fiddly side of the game were the menus. It is hard to tell who is actually in control of choosing each song, and even when you have figured that out making a song selection is more luck than judgement. It's not too bad for adults, but put a smaller person in charge and Kinect seems to really struggle to see what they are doing.
You can go for songs where each player has different choreography.
To a lesser extent this is true in the main game. It worked really well for a bunch of mum friends I had over one evening, but try and play with our youngest (3 yrs) or even middle son (6 yrs) and it often got a bit lost. It also seemed to work better in the evening away from bright sunlight than in the daytime.
Even with these hang-ups the novelty of dancing without a controller was still enough to keep us persevering with it -- well all except our youngest who won't play it unless it's the Wii version. In fact we sometimes just give him a Wii-mote to hold while he's playing the Kinect game. The funny thing is it seems to work better that way -- although my husband assures me that can't be the case.
I'll leave you with the full track list of songs:
1. What You Waiting For? by Gwen Stefani 2. Barbra Streisand by Duck Sauce 3. Pump It by The Black Eyed Peas 4. Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO featuring Lauren Bennett and GoonRock 5. No Limit by 2 Unlimited 6. I Was Made for Lovin' You by KISS 7. Boogie Wonderland by Groove Century 8. California Gurls by Katy Perry, featuring Snoop Dogg 9. Dynamite by Taio Cruz 10. Giddy On Up by Laura Bell Bundy 11. Lollipop by MIKA 12. Take On Me by A-ha 13. Apache (Jump On It) (Instrumental) by The Sugarhill Gang 14. Baby One More Time by The Girly Team 15. E.T. (Best Buy Exclusive) by Katy Perry 16. Forget You by Cee Lo Green 17. Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now) by C+C Music Factory 18. Night Boat to Cairo by Madness 19. She's Got Me Dancing by Tommy Sparks 20. Teenage Dream (Best Buy Exclusive) by Katy Perry 21. Video Killed the Radio Star by The Buggles 22. I Don't Feel Like Dancin' by Scissor Sisters 23. Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Queen 24. Tightrope by Janelle MonŠe featuring Big Boi 25. Baby Zouk by Dr. Creole 26. Beautiful Liar by Countdown Mix Masters 27. Boom by Reggaeton Explosion 28. Da Funk by Daft Punk 29. Dance All Nite by Anja 30. Hey Boy Hey Girl by The Chemical Brothers 31. Hungarian Dance No. 5 by Johannes Brahms 32. I Feel Love by Donna Summers 33. I'm So Excited by The Pointer Sisters 34. Jamaican Dance by Konshens 35. Price Tag by Jessie J feat, B.o.B 36. Jump (For My Love) by Girls Aloud 37. Kurio ko uddah le jana by Bollywood Rainbow 38. Land of 1000 Dances by Wilson Pickett 39. Mamasita by Latino Sunset 40. Marcia Baila by Rita Mitsouko 41. Pata Pata by African Ladies 42. Spectronizer 43. Promiscuous by Nelly Furtado featuring Timbaland 44. Satellite by Lena Meyer-Landrut 45. Somethin' Stupid by Robbie Williams featuring Nicole Kidman 46. The Master Blaster by Inspector Marceau 47. Think by The London Theatre Orchestra & Cast 48. This Is Halloween by Danny Elfman 49. Venus by Bananarama 50. Airplanes (TE) by B.o.B featuring Hayley Williams 51. Let's Go To The Mall by Robin Sparkles 52. Only Girl (In the World) (TE) by Rihanna
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