|System: X360 (KINECT)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Konami||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Konami||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 4, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Andrew Groen
Kinect has already seen quite a few games that don't seem terribly different from one another. Kinect Sports seems identical to Motion Sports, Dance Central is like Dance Masters, and Your Shape Fitness Evolved seems just like The Biggest Loser: Ultimate Workout. True to form, many people will notice that Adrenaline Misfits looks very similar to Sonic Free Riders. Sure, one of them uses a hover board and the others uses a snowboard, but we know what's really going on here. They're both games about leaning back and forth periodically. But whereas each of the duos listed above has one standout title, this pairing is unfortunately terrible across the board.
Adrenaline Junkies has pretty much all the same problems that I complained of in my Sonic Free Riders review, but this game has even more issues. At its heart, Adrenaline Misfits is a standard snowboarding game. The ad campaign gloriously touts, "it's not just a race, it's a battle!" Apart from being a wicked comma splice, it's also not really true. It's pretty much just a race. There's some light combat with power-ups, but that doesn't save it from being completely mundane.
The best thing that I can say about Adrenaline Misfits is that the camera at least works decently. As with every Kinect boarding game, you sway back and forth to turn in the corresponding direction. It works decently most of the time, but Kinect does have a tough time registering your jumps, which I found particularly annoying. For the most part, you just race down the hill, occasionally using power-ups to knock down your opponent. Like I said, it's very standard. It works well most of the time, and there's some fun to be had when you pull off some neat moves. For the most part though, you're just stuck doing the same stuff over and over again. The trick competitions don't offer much deviation either.
Pulling off crazy tricks essentially amounts to lifting one knee or twisting your body. This is hardly an immersive way to execute near-suicidal maneuvers. At that point we might as well be pushing buttons; there's not much tactile difference.
Where Adrenaline Misfits runs into problems is with its courses. The tracks will occasionally include turns that have a billboard or other obstruction along the turn wall. The levels are sloped in such a way that you can end up pinned against the obstruction with no way out. The downward sloping continues to push you into the obstacle, and it will take you minutes to actually get out. That's if you get out at all; you may just need to quit altogether. Either way, when it happens you're guaranteed to lose the race.
There are two things that I really enjoyed about Adrenaline Misfits. The first is that it's only $40. It's still massively overpriced, but it's nice to see a developer acknowledging their game isn't worth as much as competitors. At least the price tag is a small warning to the consumer not to expect as much as a $60 game. Ideally, Adrenaline Misfits would have been a $10-$15 Xbox Live Arcade game, but a ten-dollar price reduction is still thoughtful.