Xbox Review: Kinect Star Wars

IF the words ‘flogging’, ‘dead’ and ‘horse’ spring to mind upon the release of yet another Star Wars videogame, you’re probably not alone in your cynicism.

Kinect Star Wars

Publisher: Microsoft Studios

Price: �39.99

Format: Xbox 360 + Kinect

Age rating: 12+

IF the words ‘flogging’, ‘dead’ and ‘horse’ spring to mind upon the release of yet another Star Wars videogame, you’re probably not alone in your cynicism. Coming just four months after Star Wars: The Old Republic blasted onto the PC, Kinect Star Wars is here to try to tempt us back to a galaxy far, far away, this time as an Xbox 360/Kinect exclusive.

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It puts players in the robes of a Jedi apprentice. It’s an enticing proposition, especially when you use your rudimentary Force powers to toss a couple of battle droids into the air with your left hand, while using your right hand to cut them in half with your lightsaber.

Essentially, the game is split into five modes. Jedi Destiny: Dark Side Rising is the main campaign. To be honest, it doesn’t add much to the Star Wars mythos, but then it’s just an excuse to engage in some lightsaber duels, destroy hordes of enemy droids, pilot a landspeeder bike and jump into the cockpit of a starfighter for some first-person space combat.

Next up is Pod racing. Steering couldn’t be simpler, with the player reaching forward to grab invisible handlebars and angling their arms to turn left or right. Pushing forward activates a boost, while a green racing line and driver assists help learner drivers grasp the basics. If that mode doesn’t excite, you can fire up fun mini-game Rancor Rampage, which lets you charge around Tatooine as a giant rancor, crushing all beneath you.

Another bonkers mode is Galactic Dance Off, which sees you busting some moves to a selection of Star Wars-themed pop songs. It plays like a simplified version of Dance Central, with new moves scrolling down the side of the screen, while Stormtroopers, C-3PO and even Princess Leia (in her slave girl outfit from Return Of The Jedi) strut their funky stuff. Of course, if all you want to do is indulge in one-on-one lightsaber duels, there’s a mode for that too. Duels Of Fate lets you take on some of Star Wars’ heavy hitters, including Count Dooku and Darth Vader.

Kinect Star Wars isn’t perfect, by any means. The game’s gesture recognition is poor at times, something that’s made noticeably worse if you’ve opted for the two-player co-op mode. It’s also crushingly linear and anyone expecting a serious lightsaber simulator will be disappointed. That said, if you’re a fan of the movies, and can put up with a bit of lag, swinging an imaginary lightsaber around your living room is an immensely satisfying experience.