I somehow feel like I am back in the glory days of the PSOne. Remember when snowboarding and boarding games in general were all the craze? Well Kinect has launched and we have not one, but two brand new racing games that feature some kind of board contraption. Adrenalin Misfits combines the clichéd cuddly characters with wacky tracks and arcade racing for a functional, if not somewhat lackluster experience. Adding motion controls does little to keep you coming back for more and neither does the sheer generic overall feel of the entire package.
If you yanked out the “how to make a cute racing game” book, it would read something like Adrenalin Misfits. You have some colorful mascots shredding down outlandish tracks in an extreme manner. There are a variety of events to choose from and a plethora of boards to unlock. In fact this seems to be the focal point of the game. You can even download new boards from Xbox Live (for a price of course), and each one possessed new abilities that will improve your slalom down the hill. All of this would be fine and dandy if the game was actually somewhat entertaining.
That is the biggest problem with Misfits. The game is flat out derivative and uninspired. Each track is entirely too short and getting from top to bottom lacks any kind of enjoyment for the most part. The new abilities of each board are barely worth trudging along to unlock and the characters simply lack any sort of appeal. This is a classic case of a game that has absolutely nothing inherently broken about it; it just doesn’t manage to be that much fun.
This being a Kinect game the biggest question on everyone’s mind is how it performs with the new technology. If you read my review of Sonic Free Riders you know that I was not impressed with the sensitivity of SEGA’s first boarding effort. Adrenalin Misfits has issues almost entirely in the opposite direction. The sensitivity is at times far too high. I found myself turning left when I wanted to go right because the game was moving too fast for my motions. Also the trick system leaves a lot to be desired. Instead of actually performing tricks you simply twist your body or lift your foot. This becomes tedious quickly and leads to you ignoring tricks for the most part.
It amazes me how much variety the game seems to throw at you for it to be as dreary as it is. The tracks while short are your standard mix of ice, lava and all other quintessential videogame locales. The characters are chatty and colorful, but I could really care less who I was playing as. The game snaps photos of you to show off after the race like most other Kinect games, and you can see by the expression on my face after every race that I was simply not having a good time.
The single player game has you trekking through a host of events. Sadly only certain events are available at the beginning forcing you to rinse and repeat before opening up some diversity. You also have boards to unlock, but nothing really drives you to keep coming back for more. Once you grow bored of the career mode there is the option to tackle the game split screen. This actually makes the game a little more enjoyable as the competition between you and another player does liven it up quite a bit. Still this won’t be enough to warrant picking the game up when there are more impressive games currently available on the hardware.
Adrenalin Misfits is the type of game that you want to love. The goofy characters and breadth of unlockables make the game seem worth the effort, if it weren’t so maliciously boring. Kinect is an impressive piece of technology that seems ripe for this type of game. Unfortunately the developers definitely didn’t sink enough time into the development to make it take advantage of the gimmick it was supposed to portray. As it stands this is a prime example of a quickly developed title to meet a hardware launch window. Let’s hope the next generation of motion-controlled boarding fares much better.
Review copy provided by publisher.