Kinect specific games are an interesting phenomenon. Like casual mobile games, most of them exist to capture the attention of folks who aren’t necessarily looking to invest a lot of time and energy into playing a full, core video game. In this sense, families with kids are the perfect target.
One of the biggest struggles for the Kinect has been to capture the hearts of the core gaming audience. Attempts to create a Kinect-specific game for gamers have mostly been met with lukewarm reception. The best use for the Kinect, and the most widely accepted use, has been integrating certain features that can be used with the Kinect in a secondary capacity. However, rather than suffer the wrath of core gamers everywhere by making these features mandatory, nearly every one of these features are optional (and mostly, voice commands), making the Kinect nothing more than a glorified external microphone.
Venture outside of the core gamer target audience, however, and you might be able to find some gems. True, many of these games are aimed at families/kids and can never compete with the sheer scale of a Skyrim, the beauty of a Far Cry 3, the emotional impact of a Mass Effect, or the fast, frantic action of a Call of Duty. A lot of games, such as Disneyland Adventures or Sesame Street: Once Upon A Monster are actually fairly decent and fun games, regardless of age.
Red Bull Crashed ice is one such game. It’s never going to win game of the year, and it’s graphics are nothing more than your XBL avatar slapped onto an equally cartoonish backdrop of environments, but the game is fun and you might burn a few calories as well.
For those that don’t know (and I had no clue this event even existed prior to reviewing this game), the sport of ice cross downhill involves taking some of the best hockey players in the world (and some who aren’t hockey players!) and tossing them four at a time onto a brutal downhill skating course. These courses, which can be up to 500 meters long, often involve chicanes, jumps, and other obstacles, and the participants are encouraged to push, shove, slide, sprint, wrangle…whatever, in a race to be the first to bottom. Events involve 64 riders starting off, with four man rounds and the top 2 moving on to the next round. In the end, the field is whittled down to the final four competing to be the winner.
How does all this madness translate into a Kinect game? Pretty well, actually. For those who played Kinect Adventures or Kinect Sports, you should feel right at home. The concept of RBCI is simple; swing your arms back and forth to accelerate, lean from side to side to turn, jump to jump, and crouch to crouch. It’s a simple concept that ends up being quite the workout. Sure you can play around just for fun; but play to win, and you’ll be drenched in sweat after a few rounds.
In all honesty, RBCI doesn’t offer much more than a fun way to get the family and friends together for some arm swinging fun. The game itself is not particularly deep; there’s not much more to do than just win. Just be the first one to the bottom. There’s aren’t all that many game modes or unlockables.
But the true fun in RBCI lies in the fact that it IS simplistic. It IS something that you can bust out when the family comes over for Christmas. It IS something that can keep the kids occupied during a birthday party. And for the adults, there’s something primal about racing and competition. This could make burning calories fun, and you’re racing against other people, albeit some computer AI.
Not every game has to be epic. Sometimes, short simple fun can more than satisfy our need to partake in electronic fun. Red Bull Crashed ice shows that a nice casual game can be a blast. Sure it’s short and probably isn’t something that will be all that satisfying if playing alone, but as a party game, it gets the job done. It’s fast, fun, and definitely worth a try if you see yourself getting into this sort of thing.