The rough spot that was Rise of Nightmares aside, Kinect gaming has had a comfortable run-up to Christmas, with Child of Eden, The Gunstringer, Dance Central 2 and now Kinect Sports: Season 2 all scoring eights and nines. The best, however, is yet to come. You're pretty sick of hearing the words "the best is yet to come" in relation to Kinect, aren't you? Fulsome apologies. Please read on regardless.
Kinect has established itself as an entertainment brand, but there's still something to be desired in terms of core games. That's core games as in "substantial, testing, imaginative", by the way, not core games as in "has gunz; zero latency; unlock a foregrip when you reach level 20". Fortunately, upcoming offerings look substantial, testing and imaginative indeed. Here are the games you should take an interest in, care of our now-on-shelves Kinect Special mag.
1. Diabolical Pitch
A ghoulish, stylish Xbox Live Arcade game in which you hurl baseballs at hordes of demons. Use your left hand to aim and, once locked-on, pitch the ball with your right hand. It starts off sedate, but quickly becomes frantic, though the arcade tinkling of giant gold coins is worth the pain. When you're not wearing your arm out, you can catch incoming projectiles with your mitt, leap over them or smash them away with a bat. When jugular-gnawing defeat looms, get a friend involved via same-screen co-op. It's Kinect Sports for Twilight Zone fans, basically.
2. Steel Battalion: Heavy Armour
Goodbye, tank-sized custom controller! Hello, the sweet, sweet mercies of 3D gesture recognition! From Software's Heavy Armour reboot takes place in a world where silicon-eating microbes have devoured all the computers. Which means international spats are waged not with guided missiles, jets or IR scopes but honking great diesel-powered mechs. It's World War II meets steampunk, a dark, chunky action epic in which shooting and movement fall to the pad while Kinect handles the surprisingly crucial business of looking around your cockpit. You'll need to switch control banks to use all your mech's systems, and there's a crew to manage. Some men may lose their bottle when the battle's fierce, and require dragging back to sanity with a yank and a slap.
3. Fable: The Journey
We know, we know, it's a first-person Fable, and in the eyes of the Lionhead faithful, that's grounds for tearing your controller in half. But it doesn't look that bad. There's no melee combat, as Peter Molyneux doesn't think swordplay translates well to controller-free gaming, so purging Albion's demons is all about moulding and tossing balls of plasma instead. Keep your hands close together and jerk them forward sharply for a surgical, high-powered blast. Keep them spread and push the air rather than punching it for a slow, pensive Hadoken. There's an item crafting system to fatten out the game's back-end, plus a bunch of non-combative action mechanics like fishing. Best of all, you can sit down on the job. Slouch even. Ah, the benefits of horse and cart transport. Oh, and it's not on rails.