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Xbox games software Reviews
15,669 Reviews

Kinect Star Wars review

£30

Manufacturer: Microsoft Game Studios

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

The exercise strikes back

Given Star Wars has been milked for every licensing opportunity going since its inception, it's faintly surprising that its latest videogame spin-off has sparked such outrage among the Lucasian faithful. Scenes of Han Solo dancing boy-band style have been greeted with claims that it's the ultimate betrayal of our childhoods.

It's anything but, to be honest. There's been Star Wars bubble bath and Star Wars biscuits and Star Wars everything since 1977, but most of all there have been Star Wars toys - and from that an infinite spread of roleplaying from kids. You could bet your bottom Imperial Credit that someone, somewhere used their Han Solo figure in a dance routine.

In any case, Han, Lando et al throwing themselves around to infectiously silly pop music is but a consciously ludicrous sideshow to the main event in Kinect Star Wars. The core of the game is a controller-free Jedi adventure, a chance to wave your hands around while holding an imaginary lightsaber as several generations of kids (and grown adults) so often have, but having it become something like reality on-screen.

Perhaps inevitably, the Kinect sensor's shortcomings complicate the fantasy-fulfilment, with occasionally sluggish or misread response meaning it's a struggle to be omnipotent Jedi we've all hoped to be. Most of all, the  sensor's ever-ludicrous requirement for over six foot of space between it and the player means that half the required acrobatics will be done with non-mansion-dwelling players' backs pressed firmly against the wall or sofa.

Despite that, if you can accept the silliness and, frankly, partial rubbishness, Star Wars Kinect is a whale of a time. It really is like having a pretend lightsaber battle in the garden, except all the noises are there and your enemy is truly defeated. It's a reasonably good looking game, opting for a middleground between cartoonish and photo-real that spares it from any trips into the uncanny valley, while the plot of the main game is essentially a greatest hits of the Star Wars saga, offering a chance to be involved in most of the main beats of the films both old and new.

Kinect Star Wars

Jedi action with lightsaber duels and rock-flinging, landspeeder bike chases, manning the turrets on a ship that's suspiciously similar to the Millennium Falcon... Sadly, it's set in the Clone Wars era, so your enemies are primarily droids with Disney voices rather than Stormtroopers but hey, at least it's Gungan-free.

It's lightweight and arbitrary for sure, rarely allowing you to unleash the Force fully because it's too determined to drop another scripted sequence or bit where you have to dodge some flaming logs in there, so enjoying it does require going in with low expectations. Treat it as just a muck-about and it's honestly a good time, even if lightsaber duelling controls are all over the place.

 Next page - podracing, rampaging, dancing

Kinect Star Wars Expert Verdict »

Available for Xbox 360 only. Requires Kinect sensor (sold separately).
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

The controls are all over the place and it's packed with ways to irk the purists, but treat Kinect Star Wars as a logical and thoroughly 21st century evolution of the toys we lapped up in the 80s and it's a right old giggle.

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