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Sesame Street Once Upon has been released on 360 Kinect and been provided for us to preview/review by the publisher.
Believe it or not we are still playing it. Here are some extracts of what we made of it in chronological order:
"for me, this last weekend belonged Double Fine..."
- Tired Gamer (Fri, 09 Nov 2012)
"Sesame Street Once upon a Monster brings the Double Fine touch to Kinect's hands free controls. The result is a surprisingly unsentimental set of six emotionally engaging and genuinely interesting children's stories..."
- Family Gamer (Fri, 14 Oct 2011)
"My dad loved Sesame Street Once Upon a Monster, but I think most five years olds would prefer playing Costume Quest with their parents. The Kinect controls are too fiddly when you are little, and there are not so many things to do..."
- Junior Gamer (Fri, 14 Oct 2011)
Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster wraps up six episodes of storytelling with enough emotion to melt even the hardest of gamer's hearts.
As we get closer to its release, it's no surprise that core and casual gamers seem to agree this will be a roundly convincing Kinect title. The emphasis is on theatrical storytelling as Kudo's hands-free controller, Tim Schafer's joie de vivre and Jim Henson's puppets collide in the living room.
Cookie Monster, Elmo and other Sesame Street characters are each granted there own chapter that offers a particular story and series of motion challenges. What is still being sold as an uplifting and whimsical living storybook, is probably better seen as interactive theatre. As we found with The Gunstringer something magical happens when you stand in front of a controller and play with your hands alone.
Although the cap tipping towards the game's ability to teaching life lessons is a little more worrying territory, I'm sure that the Double Fine team (responsible for quirky loveable titles like Costume Quest and StackingM will keep things from becoming too worthy or cute.
Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster is released on Kinect on the 14 October 2011.
Sesame Street: Once upon a Monster may sound like a franchise led game, but in fact promises to be another nugget of imaginative genius from Double Fine. The combination of their theatrical storytelling with Kinect-led gameplay is just as significant as the Sesame Street branding.
Double Fine had publishing woes with Brutal Legend, their response was to kick back and let creativity rule in their Amnesia Fortnight. Costume Quest and Stacking were the first two games to emerge from this unusual approach to game development. The third is just as unusual and maybe even more exciting: Sesame Street: Once upon a Monster for Xbox Kinect.
The game grew out of project lead Nathan Martz's love of puppetry (Muppetry to be more specific) and a playful idea for a game with monsters he had brewing for some time. Even before being matched with Henson's characters, the game focused on creating an uplifting musical experience with cute, furry monsters.
Once Upon a Monster is recognisably from the Double Fine imaginative stable and threads a story book aesthetic through each chapter. Magical forests, monsters and enchanted creatures engage players who can work co-operatively through each level with the Kinect camera controller.
Gameplay is not a million miles away from Kinectimals, but with humour firmly replacing the earnest overtones. You control different Sesame Street characters like Elmo, Cookie Monster and Big Bird, steering, jumping and climbing your way through the world. Dance sections tasks players with following on screen actions performed by Grover.
Parents may be interested to know that the game adheres to the same social and emotional curriculum as the Sesame Street TV shows. This aims to get young players engaged in activities that teach friendship, cooperation, and recognizing and labelling emotions.
Sesame Street: Once upon a Monster will be available in the autumn on Xbox Kinect.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: