Developer: Frontier Studios
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Mode(s): Single Player
Platform: Windows Phone 7
Release Date: 3rd November 2011
Review May Contain Spoilers
Along Side Kinectimals, Now with Bears being announced not so long ago, it was also announced that Kinectimals would be taking a debut onto the Windows Phone 7. Many were surprised by this move as when a game has the title with the word Kinect in it, you would expect it to be a Kinect game, however Frontier Studios and Microsoft Studios have taken a twist out of the ordinary and remade the child favourite Kinect game, Kinectimals, on the Windows Phone 7. Although the game isn't Kinect compatible, there are some other cool features that the game has to offer, read on in our review to find out whether this game is as bad as it may sound.
Choose where you want to go from the map, with a variety of different places to visit
This game would easily strike you as a game aimed at children, but then you would think, what child, age 7, 8 or even 9 would have a Windows Phone 7, and would have access to purchasing games? Kinectimals throws you in the life of looking after a pet cub that you get to choose the colour of and the name. The game isn't
as critical as looking after a real pet, so if your phone runs out of battery then the animal won't die of starvation.
There are only a few things you can do with your cub; however whether it be washing, playing or eating, each option you have a variety of things to choose from. For example, if you want to feed your animal, you don't have to give them the standard pet biscuit; you have a variety of different foods, such as steak, which give you XP for giving to your cub. However they are slightly dearer, at a price of 200 coins.
The same applies for beverage's for your animal, you don't have to give them standard water, or even milk. You can give them Mineral Water, which is also slightly dearer however you will gain a mass amount of 2500 XP. With XP you can level up, to a maximum level cap of 20. Each level has 10000 XP in it, which is not hard to reach. If you head over to the statistics page, it shows you how many challenges you have completed, what mood your cub is in, or whether it needs cleaning or feeding, how much XP you have and what level you are at.
Use the camera on your WP7 to put your animal in a public location or your home
There are many challenges you can attempt, from skipping, to catching and throwing balls. There are also tutorials on tricks to complete; a few just to name are Playing Dead, 'Kinectimals Shuffle' and Back flips. These require specific movement and gestures pressed on the screen to make the cub do a movement, such as making an 'L' shape. Some are more complex, such as repeatedly making circle shapes. The game isn't very good at recognizing fast actions when completing these tricks. If you do a challenge, you are rated with a Bronze, Silver or Gold medal. The better the medal, the more XP you will gain.
Choose from various things in the inventory
One specific challenge that many will enjoy, allows you to use your phone camera to take a picture to put your pet in the photo. There is a twist, with the first challenge you have to take a picture of your pet in your home. You then continue to raise the bar to take a picture of your pet in your local neighborhood; with the further you are away from your home the more XP and coins you gain. You can then continue to take your pet on holiday
In the shop you can purchase many things to accessorise, feed, or clean your pet. In the food section there are many nibbles such as Meaty Kibbles which are priced at only 10 coins, or you can buy packs of 5 for 50 coins. There are other flavours such as Fishy or Veggie, and then there are other foods such as Bananas, Carrots, Steaks or Chicken Drumsticks. You can purchase accessories such as Collars or Pendants too. There are many different designs and colours you can choose from, with more available to purchase when you level up.
Take your animal for a walk along the beach
If you prefer to stick to the original, with no challenge you can use purchased Jump Ropes or Balls to play with your cub. With Jump Ropes, it will start off extremely slow, gradually getting faster and faster, to maximize the chances of not falling over the rope, you can press and hold on the screen to crouch, then release to jump higher, or you can just press the screen. When playing ball, you can flick the ball towards your cub, and if it is out of their reach they will not attempt to try and catch it, so you need to try and be as precise as can be. Playing with your cub is good fun but can get rather repetitive after a while.
When in the menus, it is easy to navigate through different pages, by simply swiping your finger to the left or right, you can choose from various things such as the Shop, Food, Drink or even equipment to play with your animal.
Kinectimal's Graphics are quite detailed, not only are they smooth and colourful but they are perfect for children. Each place on the map has a different setting, the backgrounds for each of these areas are detailed, for example with the beach area, the graphics give off an exotic feel, and along with the beach there is a wrecked ship. In the arctic area there are constant animations, with falling snow. For a Windows Phone game, you can't expect hugely fantastic graphics, but these are impressive.
When the animal is wearing a collar or pendant, you can clearly see what the design and colours are on it. This shows that the graphical details have had time spent on them, with care. There are extra things in this game that aren't needed, such as butterflies in the background, cracks on the floor are just a few to name. The game really takes advantage of shadows, even when you can't see the sun there is a shadow, this is good and adds some more animation to the game.
With a game that features animals, you would expect it to have a lot of animal noises, and this game does. When playing ball with the animal, every time they catch or miss the ball, they bark, when they are waiting they might growl. The game really features animal noises; the background music is relaxing too. You often hear the flute playing; which gives this relaxing feel.
Play ball with your animal in the Jungle
If you are an achievement hunter, with Kinectimals you are in luck as you can get an easy 200G, without much effort. With 15 achievements, worth a total of 200G, they are mostly easy. However there is one that will hold you out a little longer than the rest, which can avoid you getting that 100% completion if you are a lazy gamer. There are many basic achievements, which require such little effort - like cleaning or petting your animal for the first time. Others require you to simply visit a new unlocked place, which will give you 10G. Once all places are visited you can grab yourself an easy 30G. As mentioned before; there is one achievement that will be the one that you achieve last. It requires you to achieve Level 20 which is easy however time consuming. There are easy ways to gain XP, like feed your animal expensive food, such as steak - which will grant yourself 2500XP. Depending on your animal's mood, you can play with them to also gain XP.
You may wonder why a Difficulty section is in a review with a game which sounds like it doesn't require much skill; however you have to remember that the mini-games (Jump Rope and Ball) do require a slight amount of skill. With Jump Rope, you have to tap or swipe the screen in time of the rope meeting your animal's feet, if you do it too soon or too late you will end up out of time, maybe falling over the next one. With the ball, depending on how far away or to the side your cub is depends on how accurate your throw can be. If your animal is on the left, you may struggle to view the game in complete 3D and it may avoid you from getting a precise throw, it may go too far to the left. If your animal is far out in the center, you will have to swipe out powerfully to ensure your throw is perfect.
Kinectimals WP7 has a lot to offer to the younger range of gamers, with such bright vibrant colours, and interesting and relaxing sounds. Now with the Windows Phone 7 supporting DLC and extras it would be nice to see some more mini-games or animals as with the only two games, ball and jump rope they can become repetitive and boring, especially if you are aiming for the level 20 achievement. Although there isn't much to the game, it is worth £2.29/$2.29.