We got a chance to sit down with 505 Games and check out their latest projects — Michael Phelps: Push the Limit (Kinect), Grease (Kinect), Top Gun: Hard Lock, Supremacy MMA, Backbreaker Vengeance, and Blackwater (Kinect). Impressions after the break.
Michael Phelps: Push the Limit (Kinect)
There’s a lot of arm rotating and swimming motions involved in this Kinect swimming game. You’ll pantomime freestyle, breast stroke, back stroke, and the butterfly while standing clothed (hopefully) in front of your couch. There are physical stances for the push off, stroke, turn and flip, and the home stretch all the way down to the final reach for the finish line. Michael Phelps supports local and online multiplayer and is due out later this year. This one’s not for me. Phelps is a douchey mascot and stand-swimming seems kinda lame.
Grease for Kinect focuses around letting you and a room full of your friends dance and sing to all your favorite Grease scenes. There are competitive and co-op modes, as well as online multiplayer allowing four on four battles with half of each team dancing and the other halves singing behind them. The game is fun, colorful, and loud, with a cartoon feel, so fans of Grease should definitely check it out.
Top Gun: Hard Lock
Top Gun: Hard Lock takes places 25 years after the events of the movie. “Hard locking” occurs when you’ve got an enemy in your sights and initiate the hard lock sub-game mode. The game camera gets in close and gives you a zoomed in view of your enemy for a quick, instant kill. The game has a very “arcade” feel and is easy to pick up and play. Not shown were bombing runs and aircraft carrier defense, which will help to mix up gameplay. Online multiplayer, featuring 16 player deathmatch or squad based battles, is also included. Expect cameos from the movie characters by way of flashback missions, and a variety of aircraft from the past, present, and even future. I played it briefly and I don’t feel it warrants retail pricing, but fans of arcade shooters may dig it.
Supremacy differentiates itself from other MMA games by focusing on “realistic” combat yet simple controls, with influence from the gameplay and flow of the early UFC titles. It’s not as polished as the other two MMA games out today, but this one has my attention more than the rest because it’s simple, gritty, and does just fine without flashy intros or a roster of household names.
Backbreaker is back, but not in a way I expected. In a word, Backbreaker Vengeance is a port of the functionality of the iOS app with HD and a slick interface. No actual football, no team creation, no character customization. All mini-games all day. Since it’s an XBLA game, I could let it slide for 800 points so we’ll see when it releases later this year.
Blackwater is a rails based Kinect shooter with nods to Police 911 and Ghost Squad. If you’ve ever used Kinect to navigate, you’re familiar with the hold-hand-still-to-select way of navigation. Shooting in Blackwater is the same way. Your hand moves the reticle, and once you land over an enemy, track your target until the timer fills and you’ll “shoot” them. It seems simple but it’s much less accurate and twitchy than actual arcade shooters. You use your body movements from crouching to leaning to ducking in order to hide behind in-game cover or jump over obstacles. It’s basically what you’d expect from a Kinect shooter, but I’m not sure it warrants a full retail release.