Kinectimals Now with Bears

by Wencke Schuncken
author awarded score: 80/100

Kinectimals Now with Bears Review
Developer: Frontier Developments
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Format Reviewed: Xbox360
Reviewed by: Wencke Schuncken

Hold on, Microsoft. You got to be kidding me! Are you trying to make the kinectimals even more cute and cuddlier than the previous, original one? Now with bears instead of tiger cubs? The bar is set high, but who can resist the ultimate chance to play with a cute bear?

 kinectimals now with bears female gamers review

When the Kinect was released last year, one of the most impressive Kinect exclusive games was Kinectimals. It offered gamers the chance to interact and bond with tiger cubs using only the Kinect sensor in combination with your body movements. It fully proofed the Kinect functionality in every way and the accessibility to have fun for young and old. Kinectimals now with bears, is the sequel and your new virtual pet could be a panda bear, cinnamon bear, black bear, or polar bear. Five additional cubs can be unlocked in the course of the gameplay, like the glacier bear for example. But don't you agree that choosing one of the first types of bears is already tough enough.

Kinectimals now with bears is more an expansion pack than a fully new game. If you didn't had the chance to play the original game yet (shame on you), it is strongly suggested to get this sequel as it includes the original island to explore and to have fun with the bears, instead of tiger cubs. It even contains an extra island called Mira, uncharted and just off the coast of Lemuria (the original island), where Captain Abel Blackwood stopped off before heading off into the sunset. A new guide called Lina will guide to help you and your new bear cub to explore Mira. This island is also the place where all your adopted bears live in their own huts. Of course a camp is situated for the most important visitor of the island; you! This is the place where you'll stay on your expedition on Mira and keep your trophies, medals, and collectibles.

 kinectimals now with bears female gamers review

If you haven't played the first Kinectimals, it's recommended to get more details about the gameplay, controlling and environment, as this isn't going to be explained in detail in this review: website

New type of animals requires new interactions. What type of activities do you think of related to bears? In real life you would think of hiding, keeping quiet, or district one with fish. But as this isn't the real word, but a fun activity world, you can hug, cuddle, throw balls to catch, remote control a car with a bear on it, and many more activities. Activities which could be done in the original game. New in this game is juggling, fishing and tree climbing (take a look at that panda high in the air, and the cuddly bear proud with a fish in its mouth.) Exactly those activities which are related to bears. Tree climbing is one of the first abilities you'll have to learn a bear. It takes physical effort to let your pet bear learn how to climb, maneuver and to drop down, as you have to use your entire body. Personally I had more fun fishing, throwing a bate in the water and handling the fishing rod. While trying to catch a fish, a nervous bear is standing beside me until it's lunchtime. Juggle is also a favorite activity of the bears, and it's fun to do with your hands and arms. A win / win situation!

 kinectimals now with bears female gamers review

Nothing new to the exploration method on the island. Travel to the island, complete activities and challenges with enough scores and top 3 places to unlock different parts of the map. The overall goal is to explore the full island and have lots of fun with your virtual pet(s). The Kinect keeps on scanning your movements in an excellent way but there's an improvement in using the Kinect even more by responding to voice controls. It is possible to let a cub respond to a few voice commands, including an order to grab toy by itself or to go to sleep and let me having some rest as well.

What the bears expansion does is add depth to a pretty good motion-control game. Kinectimals lovers get another reason to load the island and explore. You also get a chance to see some really cute bears while you get some exercise from all the interaction you will do.
There honestly isn't much more to say about the expansion. It's really fun to go back to the game and interact with what are lively and wonderfully animated bear cubs. You'll do tons of activities, play with the bears, and get a great feel for what the Kinect sensor is capable of. I felt as if the graphics and motion controls were improved and the game is still really fun to play.

 kinectimals now with bears female gamers review

Who could have guessed that an even more cute version of Kinectimals could be created? Well, it sure wasn't this reviewer! But overall I'm impressed how a 38 year old gamer still can be fascinated by controlling a virtual pet and having lots of fun at the same time. Admittedly the driving force to win challenges and thus the unlocking of the whole island stayed thriving factors in the game. And secretly I admit that the panda bear stole a piece of my heart. It's one of those games the whole family can enjoy, either by playing, or simply by watching.