Joy Ride

by Wencke Schuncken
author awarded score: 50/100

Joy Ride Review
Developer:BigParc Inc.
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Format Reviewed: Xbox360
Reviewed by: Wencke Schuncken

According to the dictionary, the definition of Joy Ride is “a ride taken for pleasure in a car, especially in a stolen car driven recklessly”. But does that definition also applies for the Joy Ride Kinect game for Xbox360?

Joy Ride Kinect female gamers review

A lot of games are released together with the Kinect hardware, and Joy Ride is one of them. It's a surprise to see a racing game between the sports, dance and fitness games, but here it is! So you maybe assume that you need to make steering moves and place your foot on an imaginary accelerator, but that is partly true as the accelerator doesn't have to stepped on. This is a fully controlled game by your upper body.

When the Kinect has detected one or more players, the game is ready to hit the road. If you're not ready and rather want to check out pictures that are taken in a previous game session or want to have a peek at the cars or even spray a new color on your car, it all can be done in the main menu.

Joy Ride Kinect female gamers review

Joy Ride offers seven game types including Pro Race for air driving professionals, driving three lap-based races which contain “hidden” short cuts. Battle Races is similar to Pro Race but with weapons, taking over the number one spot by eliminating enemies with all kinds of weapons. Smash is a game mode that encourages the driver to destroy items to increase the score. Stunt is for players that like to twist their upper bodies in all kinds of way to perform tricks. The more tricks, the more your ranking goes up. Dash is a time-based race and last but not least in this short “wrap it up” game mode overview; Trick, the mode to imitate poses on screen. For the smarty pants that were counting the varied game types, we indeed left one out: Xbox LIVE race to play against real opponents from all over the world.

Stretch your arms, put your hands out in front of you as if you have a steering wheel in your hands and get ready to control a car for the very first time without a controller. By simply applying normal driving skills, you can earn quite simply some medals in the normal races. But there's more than just steering to perform well in each game type. And still I'm not referring to the accelerator or the brake as these are automatically adjusted in game. But you can increase the speed by a boost. Pull the upper body to the back together with your arms and hands, pulling the imaginary steering wheel to your breasts, to fill the boost bar and push forward to release a turbo boost. Another extra driver skill is to drift in sharp curves and to perform various tricks while being airborne after a big jump such as spins and twists to earn extra points. While making progress, you'll get fans which unlock content such as new tracks, new cars, possibilities to upgrade cars and game modes such as spraying your car with new paint. If you want (more) fans, or want to unlock new tracks, you have to collect as many coins on the tracks and pulling off excellent stunts. No good driving skills, no fans, no new content.

Joy Ride Kinect female gamers review

I had quite a struggle with the camera as it simply didn't work as it should. If you're a single player, the camera is constantly scanning for another player. So be aware that if someone is around and doesn't want to play along, he or she will be automatically scanned as a second player. Another struggle was the handling of the car, and particularly the boost function. Either the camera didn't recognize my move or it simply didn't fill up the bar which resulted in either no boost at all or a very short one. And why oh why couldn’t I make those crazy tricks in the air on a regular basis? Twisting my body, moving my arms and still my avatar in her car simply slides straight forward without performing any trick at all. Even adjusting indoor lightning and calibrating the kinect system weren't successful solutions. What does work is that the camera takes pictures of you while playing, but that's not something I prefer while playing a game. Who wants to see a serious, angry and perhaps frustrated looking female gamer struggling with the controlling of a virtual car? And sure, be my guest if you want to make a joke that women can't drive anyway and that it is no surprise that they cannot handle a virtual car either. And while having these thoughts, why not being surprised that woman can't play videogames?!

Joy Ride Kinect female gamers review

Ok, readers, I have to end this review, as it gets out of hand. Let's sum it up: The pros of this game are that it is a straightforward race game whether with or without stunts and weapons if the Kinect is recognizing your control moves. A two player game is up in no time and even multiplayer via Xbox LIVE up to 8 players is possible. The cons are the controlling via Kinect ,muscle pain in your arms if you play too long, simple graphics with avatar characters and last but not least the retail price as it is overpriced as a full Xbox 360 game. It's a shame that it's not possible to play it with a regular Xbox controller otherwise this would have been such a great and fun racing game.