My daughter and I recently attended an event called Kinect for Kids, where we scarfed down mini-burgers and tried out the latest batch of XBox Kinect games for kids. For the longest time XBox ignored the little kid market, but now they’re poised to take a bite out of Nintendo’s market share. We only played the games for a few minutes at a time, but here is a list of the ones we’re most excited about.
Kinectimals: Now with Bears wins the warm and fuzzy award. The bears are absolutely adorable, responding happily when you train them, catch fish for them, and play games with them. In a brilliant stroke of cross-promotion, you can make special Kinectimal bears at Build-a-Bear Workshop and have them appear in the game. (Microsoft, $49.99, available now)
Now, I’m not a Disney fan in the way that some of my fellow GeekMoms are, so I’m surprised at just how much I enjoy Disneyland Adventures. You can explore the beloved theme park, meeting and interacting with your favorite characters. You can also visit the attractions which provide fun, contextual minigames like flying with Peter Pan. From what we’ve played, the game is fun enough to transcend the fact that it’s a gigantic ad for Disneyland. (Microsoft, $49.99, releases 11/15/01)
My daughter was so transfixed by Disneyland Adventures that I had to watch kids play Kinect Star Wars from afar, waving thier arms wildly while engaged in epic lightsaber battles on screen. The action and the art look great enough to please the Star Wars fan in your family. (LucasArts, price and availability pending)
Puss in Boots looks similarly entertaining, with luscious art that looks like it was plucked straight from the movies. Oh, and swordfighting. Lots and lots of swordfighting, using special attacks like “Claw Frenzy”. (THQ, releases 11/1/11)
Finally, it’s exciting to see Sesame Street enter the Kinect space which is far and away the loveliest-looking Sesame game of all time, Once Upon A Monster. Cookie Monster and Elmo explore a storybook filled with monsters, helping the monsters in each chapter. I love that this isn’t a letters and number learn-y Sesame title, rather an exploration through a fantasy adventure. What’s surprising to me is that my 6-year-old daughter, who has long since outgrown Sesame Street, wanted to return to this game again and again. (Warner Bros., $49.99, available now)
I’ll be keeping my eye out, too, for other partnerships between Sesame Workshop and Microsoft on two different projects: Kinect Sesame Street TV, where kids can interact with classic clips from the Sesame Archive (in a bit of sample gameplay, we threw coconuts to Grover who counted them) and code-named “Project Columbia” which is described as “a one-of-a-kind way to bring storybooks to life, allowing controller-free interaction with picturesque worlds right in the living room.”
Check back for more in-depth reviews on some of these titles. We’re eager to take a deeper dive into the gameplay!