Finally – FINALLY – we get to play with the infamous Skittles. Microsoft was showing off Kinectimals along with all the other Kinect launch titles at its Play Day in Cologne last week.
Sitting sweetly in front of the screen were four plush animals – a cheetah, a lion cub, a tiger and a panther – with tags that you hold up in front of the Kinect camera for it to scan, after which your chosen critter comes to life on-screen. Aw.
The first thing he does – I got the cheetah, sadly, but I still called it Skittles in my head – is come up and lick the screen, leaving misty condensation that you have to wipe off by waving in front of you. Petting the wee thing is self-explanatory – you can step left and right to move around and tickle the cub’s sides.
The animal tries to imitate whatever you do. Raise your arms up in the air and it will stand up; stand on one leg and it will attempt to follow suite and fall over with a fluffy thump. Lie down on the ground and it’ll play dead. I taught my cheetah to jump by having it imitate me a few times – teaching it skills will let you explore the island further, I’m told.
There will be plenty of toys and activities. We’re shown an obstacle course where you have to run on the spot embarrassingly to goad the animal into action, balance on a balance beam, duck to tell it to run through a tunnel and leap over hurdles. My cheetah seems a bit reticent despite my enthusiastic actions. I just don’t think he wanted it enough.
Kinectimals is out at launch on November 10.