Kinect!? The Nintendo DS!? This week’s crop of releases wants you to get in shape, D12 style. Otherwise, players might as well pray for rain.
miCoach by Adidas (360, PS3)
Adidas and THQ have produced ‘miCoach‘ for Kinect and Playstation Move to be the living room lynchpin of Adidas’ unfortunately named miCoach program. The angle for this fitness title is that the Kinect/Move peripherals utilize an augmented reality technique to film the players and place them in a virtual training area while monitoring and scoring (coaching) the players’ fitness techniques. The miCoach also interfaces with an iOS app that, when combined with the miCoach iPhone heart monitor accessory, can track and coach the user’s running/jogging progress. I’m just glad that Dwight Howard took time out of his “Embarrass the Orlando Magic 24/7” saga to be part of this game.
Quick side rant: The ‘miCoach’ in-game visuals are standard for fitness titles, which is to say that they’re static, lifeless and look like to have been made in a day. It’s almost as though someone said, “Hey, I mocked up some empty bleachers with a few Adidas logos thrown around just to have something in the background,” and then the game shipped with that.
In ‘Wreckateer’, the player uses Kinect gestures to launch boulders at castles in the hope of wrecking them and scoring points. It’s difficult not to think of ‘Wreckateer’ as a Kinect version of ‘Angry Birds’, but the game has some noticeable advancements. ‘Wreckateer’ takes place in a 3D space, and the projectiles have attributes such as deployable wings that allow them to be guided after launching. Still, this looks about as compelling as beer pong. I really want to know how solid the physics system is, which will determine if the results are consistently reproducible.
‘Malicious’ came out on PSN in Japan back in 2010. Now there’s also a Vita version… in Japan. The upshot is that ‘Malicious’ is now finally getting a release in the U.S. on PSN for PS3.
This is a budget game, with a budget progression. Pick a stage and you’ll be fighting that stage’s boss immediately. I really like what I’ve seen of the art style of ‘Malicious’. It’s drenched in that Japanese steampunk fantasy style that’s both familiar and intriguing. The protagonist is a Spirit Vessel sent by prophets, and the player utilizes weapons formed from the spirit’s scarf in order to combat the enemies that are a malicious blight upon the game’s world. The combat skews towards being a button masher. For $9.99, you get a total of six bosses to fight. This PSN release seems short but sweet.
Prototype 2 (PC)
In what’s becoming a common trend of delaying PC ports, ‘Prototype 2‘ for PC arrives this week three months after the 360 and PS3 versions. What’s worse is that the developer, Radical Entertainment, has basically been shuttered in the intervening time. At the very least, this is a cause for concern for the quality of the PC version and any future patches for the game. It’s also likely that we won’t be seeing a ‘Prototype 3’ any time soon.
To-Fu Collection (DS)
The ‘To-Fu Collection‘ brings two fun and free (with ads) iOS games to the Nintendo DS. In the two titles, ‘To-Fu: The Trials of Chi’ and ‘To-Fu 2’, the player stretches the little bandana-wearing block of tofu in order to launch him through the level and around obstacles to the goal. Each level has secondary objectives designed around picking up all the chi or only using a certain number of stretch launches, but the excellent level design and level gimmicks keep players interested. As popular as the ‘To-Fu’ game have been, this collection seems best suited for players who have a DS but not a smartphone.
Jewel Master: Cradle of Persia (DS)
‘Bejeweled’ has long been popular with casual gamers, like some of the older members of my family. ‘Jewel Master: Cradle of Persia‘ is the latest ‘Jewel Master’ game to make it to the U.S. Apparently, the ‘Jewel Master’ series is the European answer to ‘Bejeweled’, so anyone playing the match-three puzzle game of ‘Jewel Master’ here in the States can revel in the import goodness.