Kinect Joy Ride

It's all about boosting cars

Of all the Kinect titles we've played, this is the one that takes the most finesse. Play this after Kinect Adventures or Kinect Sports and you'll have to effortlessly switch from fly-swatting arm waves to delicately manipulating an imaginary steering wheel. It's not an easy transition, but it adds an impressive degree of depth, particularly when you add mastery of drifting to your to do list.

At its core this is a Kinect version of Mario Kart with two flavours of races, Pro and Battle. Pro is a straight face-off on the track against seven other racers and is suitably frantic, with the CPU cars putting up a good fight.

Battle is a race with offensive and defensive power-ups, and is even more chaotic - not least because players have to take a hand off the wheel to fire. Aiming accurately can be tough, although most of the weapons affect a large area.

The game's full of neat touches that add up to make this one of the more compelling Kinect launch titles. For a start, you can paint your car any colour just by showing it to the sensor. Got a favourite jumper you want it to match? Simply hold it up to Kinect and you get a real-time preview of how the car looks in the new hue.

There are also mini-games outside of the competitive race modes, our favourite being the Tricks mode. This novelty addition sees your car sprouting wings and you going wing walking, with your task being to match comedy poses to a time limit.

Totally unrelated to racing, barely related to cars, but a great laugh nonetheless. Finally, if you're after tougher competition, the eight-player Xbox Live races should keep you busy long after you've unlocked everything in the single-player game.

Kinect Joy Ride provides a crammed package with plenty of games, a fine selection of unlockables and a challenge that offers plenty of room for improvement of your skills. If you're looking for a launch title to really get your teeth into even when you're on your own, you could do much worse than this.

The verdict

Charming kart racing with admirable depth

Racing / Driving