Mrs - Reviews

Author: Stefano "Stef" Castelli
Date: 2020-03-03 23:24:09
Any video game encyclopedia should contain a nice photo of Kinect under "missed opportunity". And I'm not talking about the original device for Xbox 360, which is already under-exploited in itself. No, I'm referring instead to his big sister, to the new Kinect launched side by side with Xbox One. A device of very different potential exploited very little and promoted even worse, to the point that today it is practically a vestige of the past, a warning for Microsoft of how many errors have been made with the launch of Xbox One.

Now, many buyers of Xbox One have found this blessed Kinect by the hand and maybe still use it for voice commands or to dust off the beautiful Dance Central every now and then. Here, this review is dedicated to them, since finally (and absolutely out of maximum time) a game has arrived that makes sense to this successful camera. Even a good game, take a look.

Equipped with an all-Italian backbone - the design is by the tricolor Mattia Traverso - FRU is in fact completely dedicated to Kinect, to the point that it cannot be used without the aforementioned peripheral. It is, among other things, one of the few examples of a video game capable of perfectly combining the use of a traditional controller - that of Xbox One - with Kinect.

In short, one of those games that Microsoft should have used as standard bearer of the new Kinect (and in part tried to do so), in case it had the clearest ideas about this poor peripheral.

Coming to the juice, FRU is a two-dimensional platform game in which you control a masked girl who tries to overcome the 100 and passes levels of the four worlds that make up the adventure. The control system simply allows you to move the girl to the right or left and make her jump (plus some other simple contextual actions scattered here and there). The centerpiece of the game, however, is not the little girl with the fox mask, but our beautiful colored silhouette that stands out in the center of the screen, faithfully granted by the Kinect sensors.

A nice 1 to 1 mapping allows us to move freely on the screen, bringing with us an interesting magical power: in fact, we function as a portal to a parallel world in which things can be different than the one in which the child resides. Moving and waving on the screen we therefore show a glimpse of this second world, perhaps revealing platforms that are not in the "regular" world, or simply covering those that are in the size of the girl. Taking advantage of this simple but effective game mechanic we will therefore have to manipulate the appearance of the over one hundred screens that form the adventure of FRU by providing our masked girlfriend with a usable (!) And safe itinerary.

This is simply the solid foundation on which FRU declines the over 100 levels of which it is composed, offering gradually some additional elements - such as elements with which the shape must interact or submerged areas - and attesting the level of game design always at very high values . In detail, it seems that the development team has studied the various situations a lot, creating funny cases in which you have to crouch or maybe climb over the little girl to implement the tactics that we have set ourselves to progress in the game. All this, I remember, while holding the controller, perhaps driving with one hand thanks to the particular symmetrical setup of the controls.

The best and at the same time the most distressing aspect of FRU is that, being the result of months of work on Kinect, the game shows how precise and versatile Kinect can be if put into willing hands. Practically a testament to what the peripheral could have offered if the software houses, Microsoft first, had invested a little more on the development of the games dedicated to it.

Regrets aside, it's nice to see how for once, a good idea has been implemented properly, even without taking full advantage of all the features of Kinect itself (but perhaps setting yourself some limits was the basis of the success of the game).

As for the graphic aspect, the complete restyling that took place in 2015 (after the game had presented itself in 2014 with this graphic design) has brought excellent results and now the overall appearance is certainly more pleasant and refined. FRU is a simple video game, which does not make use of amazing graphic effects or three-dimensional elements, but fortunately the Through Games team managed to give the game its own visual identity capable of marrying elegantly with the nature of its gameplay, making always be very clear, especially thanks to a wise use of colors.

The sound accompaniment is delicate and spot on, with the beautiful music that pops up from time to time from the speakers and the essential but very adequate sound effects.

In fact, the experience offered by FRU greatly enhances Kinect and at the same time it is splendidly enhanced. While not reaching who knows what heights of gameplay pushes the player to do things that generally he has never done in front of a screen, to reason often in a "lateral" way to overcome this or that passage and from time to time to be surprised: all elements well concentrate in the small handful of hours that requires the completion of the game, variable depending on the mental (and physical!) flexibility of those who face their puzzles.

To increase (slightly) the longevity we find some objects to collect that modify the interactions with the level - sometimes in a very ingenious way - and a bonus co-op mode deriving from the first version of the game. Although in fact all FRU can be played very well in cooperation with another person, leaving the controller to others and concentrating on interpreting their shape on the screen. Indeed, that's probably how the fun of this gem for Kinect reaches its peak.

I played FRU thanks to a copy kindly provided by the development team. I tried the game on my own, holding the controller while standing in front of Kinect, or paired with another person, alternating between controller and camera.