The hit TV show Hole in the Wall, which has taken the world by storm, has finally made its way to XBOX. Released for KINECT, players can star in their own episodes and navigate their way through oddly shaped holes hoping to win the covenant trophy. With the magic of KINECT, players can guide their avatar by moving themselves into position and match the shapes as best as they can with their bodies.
“Are you ready to play Hole in the Wall!”
If you have a young child in your household, then you have heard of Hole in the Wall. Hole in the Wall is a hit television show which airs on Cartoon Network. My son Alex, age 5, loves this show. He wants to go on the show and thinks we could kill at it. So when I saw that Hole in the Wall was available for KINECT, we had to get it.
The game is simple and easy for anyone to play. Just match the shape of the hole in the wall with your body to make it through. If you don’t, you get knocked off the platform and fall into the water. When the game starts, you are asked to login. Your custom XBox Live avatar is load and used during cut scenes of the game. My son and I thought it was really cool to see our avatars get suited up and used during the game. You then can choose to either play the Show or Quick Survival mode. Both modes can be played with 1 or 2 players.
The gameplay is pretty much the same for what ever mode you choose. Quick Survival lets you play through endless waves of holes which gets progressively harder. We played this mode a lot as its fun to just start playing right away. Show mode allows you to play through the 10 episodes of the television show. You have four rounds to play through. Just match the shape with your body to fill the gauge to make it through. If you don’t, you will get a strike. Three strikes and your out, your avatar get knocked into the pool and you have start the episode over again.
While the KINECT controls work OK with a single player, two players causes issues with the KINECT system. Maybe it was the height difference but, when playing with my son, serious control issues made the game almost unplayable. Glitches in the avatar’s movements were a pain but the biggest issue was the confusion of the players. Sometimes my movements would jump to the other player or a player would be “lost”. We also experienced lost players at start up of a round which caused the game to be stuck at that point. We would have to quit the game and start over. The appeal of this game was to be able to play with others as a team through the show. The KINECT issues makes this almost impossible.
The graphics were also a let down. The levels are very barren with mediocre cut scenes and animation. I know that you are facing a wall but the graphics were just so primitive. They could have done more with texturing or lighting. The cut scenes were also bad. Seeing your avatar get smacked by the wall and fall into the pool should have been an exciting section of the game. But it wasn’t. The animation was blocky and jerky with bad fluid dynamics. With a very simple game and few game objects, more was needed to keep the players attention.
A saving grace, for me, was the soundscape and voice acting. You really did feel like you were on the set. I remember seeing my son’s face light up and him getting excited when we heard “Are you ready to play… Hole in the Wall!” All of the shows music and sound effects have been added. I also like that you are represented by a shadow during gameplay. It made seeing the shapes easier and your shadow also changed color depending on how well you fit the shape.
It may seem that I am being tough on giving Hole in the Wall a 3.5 out of 10. But with a very simple game and only two game modes, everything needed to be spot on. Also, having only two game modes to play through was an issue. Once you have played through the Show mode and play Quick Survival a few time, you get bored. Adding a few other modes, like time trial, would have added more to the game.
The control issues with two players is what really killed this game for me. The draw to this game is playing through the show with a friend. Seeing them trying to balance with a leg over their head and falling down is what makes this game fun. And the control issue needs to be fixed.
Until the KINECT control system is improved, just tune into the television show.