One could certainly find some logic in releasing a winter-sports themed title during the winter season, but Red Bull’s Crashed Ice for the Kinect definitely took the wind out of me. Maybe that has more to do with myself not being all that well acquainted with the real-world sports activity it is apparently based on. That, or I would prefer to “play” my digital sports games in more mild weather. Either way, I’m pretty sure a doped-up penguin would be more suitable as my replacement.
Regardless, Crashed Ice Kinect is developed by Bongfish, a studio which also worked on the surprisingly decent and still free-to-download XBLA combat-style racer – Harm’s Way. This would also mark their first Kinect outing, with a budget price tag of 400 Microsoft Points. While its an attractive proposition, it largely depends on how involved you would like to get with your motion gaming experience.
Crashed Ice Kinect’s an arcade-style racer that revolves around ice-skating down an obstacle-laden course for you to swerve, duck and dodge through. In order to gain any sort of speed, you’ll have to swing your arms in a running motion, while having your body react to whatever parts of the track that can slow you down.
This will usually result in you having to swerve your body left and right from punching bags, jumping at the right time over areas with style, or having your arms fold up to break through barriers. It can be a lot to take in, and the physical requirements will only ramp up once you’re playing with other opponents.
There is just too much to keep up with, and not all of the game’s tracks seem to balanced with this in mind. You will receive on-screen prompts to help you anticipate obstacles much sooner, but the Kinect’s sensor is not exactly known for tracking pin-point accuracy.
Most of the time, I found myself stumbling with the punching bags, not able to demolish barriers when I should have, or misjudging the appropriate times to duck. And with everything at happening at such a quick pace, most of the time, you’re just cheesing it through events. Well, assuming the AI opponents don’t mangle you first.
Performance also depends how visually well its all represented for you in order to make sense of what’s coming your way, but even here the game has problems. At only about 30 frames per second, the on-screen action can be choppy to follow when there are too many effects happening. Landing in first place during a race will have a spotlight shine in front of you, obscuring your field of vision.
Small things in the presentation, such as having to swing your arms to by-pass track cutscenes at the start of a race or having to wait until all of your opponents have been introduced before a race start can also be annoying. Shame that Avatar accessories aren’t compatible in this. Who doesn’t want to shred some ice while donning a Megatron helmet?
Red Bull Crashed Ice Kinect feels like one of those games where you can’t help but ask yourself… why did this need to be on Kinect? Had some of the motions required where toned down a bit to compensate for the lagging sensor, it could’ve been a decent casual offering for Kinect fans. Otherwise, its not exactly brimming with content. Nor would any said content at even a cheaper price would guarantee anything more than a single playthrough.
This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.