Kinect Sports Rivals review – pretty, if a bit overwhelming

Kinect Sports

Motion control systems all need a killer app to prove their worth, so it's unsurprising that Microsoft are looking to Sports Rivals to step up for Xbox One.

But while it makes a decent fist of ensuring that lurching about in front of the telly is fun, it's not there quite yet. With an island setting of clear blue skies, brash characters and bellowed audio commands typical of 90s arcade games, this compilation gathers a sextet of sports – tennis, football, bowling, climbing, shooting and jet-ski racing – and a wealth of contexts in which to tackle each one. It's a pretty, if slightly overwhelming, place to spend some time.

The sports are presented as heavily simplified versions of their real-world counterparts, and through such a ruthless boiling down the developer, Rare, has done a brilliant job of reappropriating the rudiments of each pursuit. As with all motion-based games, however, it's the quality of the actual control that matters most. In a well-lit room the game does largely function ably, but, crucially, misreads of player movement are too common – enough to ensure that Microsoft must continue looking for next-gen Kinect's defining moment.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Will Freeman, for The Observer on Sunday 13th April 2014 00.07 Europe/London

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