|System: X360 (KINECT)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: BigPark||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Microsoft Game Studios||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|
Joy Ride isn't a completely awful game. At the very least, the graphical presentation is actually quite nice. All the cars are modeled well, and the tracks have a great cartoonish vibe to them. The desert tracks have a distinct Roadrunner vs Wile E. Coyote feeling to them, which I really enjoyed. If only traveling through them to see more wasn't such a hassle.
The game also supports a decent amount of game modes, although in this case it's quantity over quality. Only a couple of these modes are actually worth playing more than once. Others are like "Smash," which tasks you with smashing wooden statues, and "Trick" which is...well...out of place. In Trick, your car sprouts wings and you need to do poses on the wings. Yeah, I don't really know why.
The only really decent games are the racing modes. You can either play a straightforward race or a race with missiles and other destructive things added in. But, again, if you're playing that then you're subjecting yourself to the spotty control system that will make you want to drive off a cliff more than once.
The other problem with these game modes is that there's no sense of speed or control. Arcade racers like Mario Kart and Burnout succeed because they give you that edge-of-control sensation that causes you to get excited and feel the competition. Kinect Joy Ride has none of that, and the game suffers badly for it. In comparison to marquis arcade racers, or even just average arcade racers, Joy Ride gets left in the dust. If only they had allowed for the use of a control pad. Maybe then it could have salvaged just a bit of fun.
I hate to say it, but Joy Ride may be bad for the entire genre, and it's certainly bad for the Kinect system. Microsoft should consider it a loss every time they sell a copy of Joy Ride because that's one more customer who will likely be turned off to the entire idea of racing on Kinect.
There are so many things that Kinect Joy Ride needs fixed before it could even be considered close to worth its full retail value of $50. Even if all of the control problems were fixed, you'd still be left with a boring racing game full of identical tracks, indistinguishable cars, and pointless game modes.
There aren't any other options for racing game fans in the Kinect launch line-up, and that's a shame. There aren't even any mini-game collections that feature racing. If you're one of the gamers who is intrigued by the idea of using motion control to pilot a vehicle, just stay away. This game just isn't worth your time, and it's certainly not worth your money. We hope one day we'll see some of this game's transgressions corrected, but until then we're just going to try to forget that this one even happened. As a much cheaper experience, Joy Ride might have had some merit, but the price they are asking for this package is absurd compared to the competition on the market.
CCC Freelance Writer