Kinect for Xbox 360 is a magical piece of technology, able to read the movements of the human body, which are in turn used to control video games. The Kinect's sole purpose is to allow non-gamers to get involved without having to master today's button-festooned game controllers. So what have game developers crafted to make use of such an amazing device? A series of mini-games populated by characters designed to appeal to seven-year-olds, where players run on the spot, jumping every now and then. It's a crying shame.
Bless Sega for trying to deliver a deeper, more immersive motion-controlled experience with Rise Of Nightmares. Give this game to the nearest child and you'll fill their delicate little mind with horrific scenes of exploding torsos, mechanised zombies and other brutal imagery, guaranteeing years of therapy. It's the first Kinect title aimed at adults - horror-lovers, to be precise - and uses the Kinect in ways that hint at this gadget's exciting possibilities. It actually puts you right into the game: you step forward to move the character forward, you tilt your shoulders left or right to turn around. Dozens of other gestures, such as wiping vomit out of your eyes (always handy), opening doors and crouching under barriers help to boost immersion immensely, but things get a little clumsy when you're surrounded by the game's walking dead. The combat auto-camera lock means you're stuck looking at one decaying beast, while several beat you up from other angles.
It's even worse when you're faced with the game's many traps: you'll often veer off path and wind up with a sharp spike through your chest. Hardcore gamers will snigger at the inaccuracies but, for the casual gamer, these controls remain a revelation. Sadly, the nightmare is over quickly: most players will breeze through the entire adventure in less than a day, with little reason to revisit. Still, we applaud the invention - it points the way to a bright Kinect future.