Rest in peace, Kinect: we hardly knew ye. The Kinect was originally introduced in 2010 as an additional accessory for Microsoft’s hugely popular Xbox 360, bringing motion and voice control to the console. A lack of killer apps for the peripheral, as well as some strange missteps on Microsoft’s part when it came to the Xbox One, led to Kinect’s pretty much complete failure, but that doesn’t mean there were no decent games for it. Here are the 25 best Xbox 360 Kinect games you can play.
1. Dead Space 3
In retrospect, Dead Space 3 wasn’t a great game in its franchise. It took the claustrophobic survival horror of the previous two games and focused more on the action, which fans felt was a misstep. However, the game’s Kinect controls did arguably add to the immersion, so we’re including it here.
2. Dance Central 3
When Dance Central was revealed for Kinect, it felt like an instant no-brainer. Of course this was the perfect game for a device that wanted to keep you in constant motion. That turned out to be the case, too, as the Dance Central series did well for itself on Kinect, finally helping the peripheral realise its pulpy potential.
As you’ve probably surmised from the title, Kinectimals was all about looking after a bunch of cute, fluffy animals using the Kinect. You could play with them, cuddle them, and feed them with motion controls and your voice, and animals included tiger cubs and other adorable little friends. It was the perfect game for Kinect.
The basic premise of Wreckateer is incredibly simple; you use your body to throw projectiles at buildings and try to destroy them. It’s essentially Angry Birds, but for the Xbox 360 and built for Kinect, and it’s just as fun as that premise sounds, as long as you can get the Kinect to play along with you (it could be notoriously fiddly).
5. Fruit Ninja Kinect
Speaking of mobile games transposed to the Xbox 360, Fruit Ninja Kinect is another no-brainer proposition that made perfect sense for Microsoft’s peripheral. Fruit flies up in front of your face, and you need to cut it down. That’s it; the premise is incredibly simple, and yet somehow, Fruit Ninja Kinect offered hours of addictive fun.
6. Rise of Nightmares
If you haven’t heard of Rise of Nightmares, we’re not surprised. It was released around a year after the Kinect itself, and was intended to be a classic survival horror experience you could play with Kinect. The game itself was somewhat flawed, but it was atmospheric and involving enough to warrant at least a full playthrough.
7. Star Wars Kinect
On paper, Star Wars Kinect made perfect sense, so it’s a shame that the story mode and the other gameplay features on offer weren’t particularly brilliant. However, the game is worth it almost for the Galactic Dance-Off mode alone, which is essentially Just Dance or Dance Central but with Star Wars characters. Yes, that really happened.
8. Kinect Sports
No prizes for guessing where the inspiration for Kinect Sports came from. It’s clear that developer Rare looked at what Nintendo was doing with the Wii and thought “we should do that”, and so Kinect Sports was born. Like Wii Sports, though, Kinect Sports can offer at least a few hours of fun, so it’s worth checking out.
9. Kinect: Disneyland Adventures
In some ways, Kinect: Disneyland Adventures prefigures the rather successful Disney Dreamlight Valley. You’d meet Disney characters at a virtual version of Disneyland, complete quests for them, and explore the park. It lacks the depth and nuance of Dreamlight Valley, but this one’s still great if you’ve got kids who love Disney.
10. Kinect Adventures
Every great console or peripheral needs its pack-in launch title, and that’s pretty much what Kinect Adventures was; it was a game designed to show off what the Kinect could do, and it did that with aplomb. In essence, it was a minigame compilation that showed what you could do with Kinect, and there was plenty of fun to be had during its brief runtime.
11. Kinect Sports: Season 2
We’re back with another Kinect Sports compilation, this time around adding more sports and generally improving the gameplay experience. Kinect Sports: Season 2 doesn’t invalidate the original game, but it does provide a great companion piece, so if you liked the first one, you should pick this up as well.
12. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Technically, Skyrim’s Kinect integration wasn’t particularly great. It essentially allowed you to use voice commands to make your way around the world and fight its inhabitants, and while shouting “FUS RO DAH!” to make enemies soar through the air was fun, Skyrim is also just a great game in its own right.
13. Dance Central
Here’s where it all began. The first Dance Central was a great game that came to us from Harmonix, the studio behind Guitar Hero, and you could tell that they’d put just as much work into coming up with this concept. Like Guitar Hero, it was a game that could equally be enjoyed at drunken parties and by yourself while mastering its controls.
14. The Gunstringer
The Gunstringer developer Twisted Pixel would later go on to develop VR title Wilson’s Heart, so it’s clear this is a developer with advances in technology at the core of its ethos. This is a cute little rail shooter with simple, straightforward controls and a family-friendly aesthetic, so it’s perfect Kinect fodder.
15. Dance Central 2
It’s genuinely true that all of the Dance Central games are worth playing if you have an Xbox 360 Kinect device. They all offer different song collections, and each successive sequel iterates on the gameplay slightly, making for a more compelling and immersive gameplay experience. Give them a try if you don’t believe us!
16. Kinect Party
Kinect Party offers exactly the kind of zany, madcap fun you’d expect from a Kinect game created by Double Fine. It’s a minigame compilation with a host of wildly different and thrilling minigames to try out, and while it certainly won’t sustain your interest in single-player, it’s great to play with friends.
17. Double Fine Happy Action Theatre
Much like Kinect Party, Double Fine Happy Action Theatre is a collection of minigames designed from the ground up for the Kinect peripheral. The idea for the game came from developer Tim Schafer wanting to create something that his then-two-year-old daughter Lucy could play without difficulty. We’d say he succeeded.
18. Kinect Rush: A Disney-Pixar Adventure
Many of Kinect’s most successful games were created with children and families in mind, and that’s certainly the case with Kinect Rush: A Disney-Pixar Adventure. The game takes you to the worlds of several Pixar productions like Ratatouille and Toy Story, asking you to complete fun tasks using the Kinect as you explore them.
19. Your Shape: Fitness Evolved
Just like Kinect Sports, it’s pretty clear what the inspiration behind this one was. Wii Fit was released in 2007, and Your Shape: Fitness Evolved is aiming to compete with that game, albeit with sharper graphics and the Kinect peripheral at the core of its design. It’s a fun fitness instruction game with workouts from Men’s and Women’s Health magazines.
20. Sonic Free Riders
As many reviewers pointed out at the time, Sonic Free Riders certainly isn’t without its faults. The game’s motion controls can be a touch unresponsive, although it feels a little unfair to blame that on Sonic when it’s probably more the Kinect’s fault. Still, if you’re a Sonic completionist, you know what to do.
21. Fighters Uncaged
Again, Fighters Uncaged was another game that received poor reviews for its unresponsive motion controls, but the game had solid gameplay if you could manage to get the Kinect peripheral to respond properly (an issue faced by many games at the time, no matter who the developer might be).
Bearing the tagline “play for real”, MotionSports was all about immersing you into its world of realistic sports gameplay. Again, it was let down somewhat by the imprecise nature of the Kinect peripheral, but there’s fun to be had here if you can lower your expectations a little.
The officially-licensed game of the 2012 Pixar movie boasted a mode that was compatible with Kinect, one in which you can fire arrows at an archery range. The game itself is fairly incidental, but it’s nice to have something else with which you can use the Kinect, and the archery mode is fun.
24. Forza Horizon
The Kinect features in Forza Horizon weren’t particularly central to the experience, but this was a solid open-world racing game for the 360, so having an excuse to revisit it is never bad. You could ask your Kinect where to find a new race or find routes to autoshows, and it would respond by adding directions in-game.
25. Yoostar 2
The technology used to power Yoostar 2 looks positively primitive by today’s standards, but at the time, it was cutting-edge. You could insert yourself into a variety of different movie scenes, and although you didn’t look like you belonged there at all, it was still fun to react to what was going on in the scene.