Last Friday, 'Red Bull Crashed Ice Kinect,' the first console video game from Red Bull Media House, hit Xbox Live Arcade. But even before that, Xbox Kinect was already having a pretty big year. Here's a list of the top five best Kinect titles of 2012.
Dance Central 3
The motion controls of the Kinect can struggle when it comes to controlling giant robots, as it did in the awkward mech game 'Steel Batallion,' but nothing else comes close to Microsoft's motion control system when it comes to shakin' your groove thing. That's especially true when moving to the beat of 'Dance Central 3,' the best dance video game we've seen yet.
The changes from the first two in the series aren't earth-shattering, but they're certainly welcome. There's a “dance-through-the-ages” story mode for solo players, tutorials that help teach you specific moves and a party mode that accommodates up to eight players. If you can stomach the potential shame of gyrating to Justin Bieber songs in your living room, “Dance Central 3” is definitely fun and a great workout.
NBA Baller Beats
Speaking of moving to phat beats, that's what you do in Majecso's 'NBA Baller Beats' except there's the added difficulty of using a real full-sized basketball.
Many were skeptical about the idea of a game that combined the stay-on-rhythm action of a dance game with b-ball dribbling and ball-handling skills, but 'NBA Baller Beats' works surprisingly well. According to All-Star point guard Deron Williams, who appears on the cover, the game can actually make you a better basketball player, too. Where do we sign up?
Tired of sending disgruntled avians on collision courses towards evil pigs? Iron Galaxy's 'Wreckateer' borrows some of the basics of the mega popular mobile game 'Angry Birds' but puts its own clever medieval spin on it.
Using the Kinect, you step back and launch one of several types of specialized cannonballs and maneuver them into one of the game's destructible 60 castles and orc enemies with a loud crash.
For the Basic Shot, you just aim and shoot with the option of using your hands to slap at the ball in the air to help guide it along. Meanwhile, the Speed Shot or Flying Shot can be guided by tilting your outstretched arms. Like 'Angry Birds,' busting up buildings and shooting to the top of leaderboards depends on an addicting mixture of strategy, skill and luck.
Fable: The Journey
For the fourth edition of its epic role-playing series, Microsoft decided to shelf the standard controller in favor of the motion-controlled fun of Kinect. Thankfully, for a long story based game, the developers figured out a way to let gamers play while sitting in a chair (even real adventurers get tired!).
You spend a bulk of your time holding your arms out to steer a horse-drawn carriage past dangerous obstacles, casting magic spells at evil creatures by flailing your arms at the TV, or feeding and caring for your four-legged beast of burden. As a piece of high fantasy storytelling about a reluctant hero who slowly gains the gumption to fight evil, 'Fable: The Journey' also hits a lot of high notes.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13
It may not have been a great year for Tiger Woods on the links, but everything worked out pretty well for him in the video game world.
'Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13' offered an interesting new mode called Tiger Legacy Challenge, in which you suited up as Woods in a variety of scenarios and milestones from various points in his career.
The normal career mode was also rebranded as The Road to the PGA Tour and started you out as a total noob who has to work his way up to the Masters the hard way (don't worry, no caddying).
The best thing about Tiger Woods' latest game is the Kinect controls, which were tweaked enough that you could almost believe you were swinging a real golf club (granted, an invisible one) in your quest for virtual PGA dominance.
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