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The Bottom Line
A darling pet sim set inside a fun adventure story which plays without a controller using the new Kinect for the XBox 360. This is the best of the new Kinect launch games.
Kinectimals is a pet simulation game involving a variety of wild cat babies (an African lion, a leopard, a cheetah and others). In addition to caring for the cubs, you go on an adventure to explore a magical island once controlled by a kind pirate. As you explore, you find parts of a treasure map and unlock more of the island. You will also decorate your home with wondrous treasures you find or buy along the way.
You interact with the cubs by petting (just reach out your hands and start rubbing, and your cub will start purring), cleaning, feeding and playing with them. The farther you get into the game, the more toys you and your cubs will collect to play with including a volleyball, frisbee, water gun, lures, vehicles (they sit on top while you drive), and much more. You can also use a special instrument, called a Plunderscope, which helps you and your cub find treasure hidden under the ground.
Kinectimals really showcases the magic that is Kinect. By standing in front of your TV, you will see an adorable cub responding to you. It comes up to the glass and rubs against it, as if it was rubbing you. You can name it, and it responds to its name. You can teach it over 30 tricks by showing it what to do. If you turn in a circle, so will it. If you jump, it will leap in the air and then, very cutely, fall over.
Opening the Toy Box and playing with your cub is also very tactile and rewarding. If your cub brings you a toy, like a ball, it shoves it out to you; and as you reach out, you see that it is now magically connected to your hand. When you throw, the ball appears on the screen as if you threw it. For each toy, Kinectimals creates games that earn you "Discovery points" (which open up new areas on the island) and coins (used for buying new toys and decorations for your home). For example, with the frisbee, you might be challenged to throw it through a series of hoops.
Kinectimals is like no other game you have ever played. You open menus by simply moving your hand in the air and then holding it in one spot (like you saw in the movie "Minority Report"). The bonding with your cubs feels very real because you're are so tactilely involved. The pace of revealing new parts of the island is just perfect, with new exciting locations and games around every corner. The 3D graphics are lush and amazing to look at and make you excited to return to this nirvana-like place. Plus, the game is easy to follow and play because you are accompanied by a magical flying cat named Bumble who always explains anything you might find confusing.

Many of the Kinect games seem similar to what you can play on the Wii, but Kinectimals is unique and makes buying the Kinect worth it.

All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.

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