App Reviewed on: iPad 2
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A years ago at E3 2010, the world was introduced to a little game by the name of Kinectimals. As a launch title for the Xbox 360's Kinect peripheral, the game went on to receive moderate acclaim and a sequel in 2011. Until recently it was believed that the series would remain a platform exclusive, especially given the title's rather console specific name. Then, out of nowhere, Kinectimals made an unexpected iOS debut last week. Is this release a welcome surprise or cross-marketing gone horribly awry?
When looking at Kinectimals on a purely surface level, the game looks like an attempt to re-invent the Tamagotchi craze of the mid-nineties. Players are tasked with feeding and caring for up to ten different adorably rendered critters. The line-up of animals are all from the feline family such as tigers, cheetahs and even lions. Calling these creatures adorable almost feels like an understatement because almost every animation onscreen is "awww"-inspiring.
It is a safe bet that this game is not targeted at Microsoft's usual "hardcore gamer" demographic. With activities consisting of playing fetch, teaching the pocket beast tricks and bathing them when they become dirty, all of which can be done using the touchscreen controls, this becomes even more evident. Kinectimals can then be decked out in a wide variety of different collars and tags, which can be purchased from funds earned while participating in an assortment of training exercises such as jumping rope.
As silly as it may sound for an a grown adult to take part in these activities, it makes more sense when considering the game's target audience of young children. To them, this will be more than enough to occupy their attention for hours. Plus, when there are ten different animal's desires to juggle, each one more needy than the last, it can even become a little overwhelming to find a balance.
In a move that may reveal some of the motivations behind this portable port of the console experience, the game also can be used to unlock five new Kinectimals in the Xbox 360 game. To some, this alone would make the iOS version an instant purchase, because it is pretty much a cheap, playable version of downloadable content.
Microsoft's motivations aside, Kinectimals still proves itself to be a cute way to indulge the inner pet owner in everyone. As long as players go in with realistic expectations of a kid-targeted experience, there is plenty to enjoy and even more to love.