Kinectimals – now with Bears !
If you haven’t gotten Kinectimals yet — go get it because you now have even more reasons to. It has Bears!
Kinectimals is back!
Nearly a year since the original release as a launch title for Kinect, the folks at Microsoft Game Studios and Frontier have released an expansion add-on for Kinectimals â€¦ "now with Bears".
In the original title, you visited the island of Lemuria where you, your guide and one of several very authentically rendered cubs would learn tricks, win challenges, and discover new areas of a treasure map. It turns out that just across the bay, covered in a shroud of fog is a second island of Mira, which instead of being inhabited by felines, is the home a many varieties of bear cubs. As revealed in the opening cut scenes, the original pirate and guide from Lemuria had a pirate friend who also had a side kick. As in the original adventure, the pirate has gone off in search of a mystical treasure, and the flying guide is here to help you discover the new island and hopefully find the treasure too.
In other words, itâ€™s the same set-up as the original game, with new characters and new activities, and that is definitely not a bad thing!
Frankly, I wish more games would do this — use the same game engine, perfect some of the gameplay and options, and then give it new life with an incremental release. MGS and Frontier did it exactly right. It is so similar to the original formula that it would be hard to justify $40-$50 dollars for a complete new game, but is easy to pay $15 (1200 Live Points) for the chance to play it again.
In my opinion, the original Kinectimals was the best launch title from the original Kinect wave. Instead of being gimmicky and cartoonish with the Kinect experience (read: Kinect Adventures), it was a richly immersive experience where your Kinect actions were full motion and logical for the game, from running in place through challenge courses to broad gestures for training the cub to do new tricks.
For those who are obsessive about collecting, the original game offered a wide variety of highly-detailed feline cubs — and the expansion pack delivers the same qualities of cuddly and endearing bear cubs to collect as well. These new bear cubs learn different tricks, such as climbing trees — and the island of Mira offers new venues to explore and challenges to overcome. And of course, the game comes with additional Xbox Live achievements.
Perhaps the coolest implementation feature is how the two games are interwoven. From the main actions menu (right-arm to the side), you used to have access to toys, pet care products, and the map. Now, there are simply two maps â€“ Lemuria and Mira. By clicking on the other map, you easily switch between islands of Bears and Cats. The result is that my family has rediscovered the cats and the undone challenges and locations. (read: renewed ROI in the original game).
One very clever commercial tie-in with the new Kinectimals Bears is with Build-a-Bear. There are four build-a-bear friends that you can make with your favorite kiddo (or wife) and then download those friends into your Kinectimals game.
Would I have preferred the game to come out earlier than a year after the original? Of course. But I am always glad when a game studio doesnâ€™t sacrifice quality for an early release of DLC or otherwise. And I am even more appreciative when DLC content renews my interest in the original game, instead of simply adding one more level to an otherwise finished storyline. In all of these things, the folks at Frontier did it right — and the result is a great reason to dust off that Kinectimals case, get some exercise and play with a bear or two or six.
If you havenâ€™t already bought Kinectimals â€“ it now comes with Bears. (Amazon)
If you already have Kinectimals â€“ the Bears are an add-on. (Xbox Live)