I Believe I Can Fly - Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster - Xbox 360 - www.GameInformer.com
Switch Lights

The lights are on

Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster

I Believe I Can Fly

When Elmo and Cookie Monster appeared onscreen in bee costumes, using their arms to fly upward, I wasn’t particularly stoked. Flapping my arms ranks among my least favorite activities, along with getting cramps and bending fingernails backward. I gave it a go anyway, in spite of my deep-seated reluctance. You know what? It worked. Not only that, but the controls worked really, really well.

Microsoft has been promising big things with Kinect for a long time now, and it seems as though the company didn’t pass along key information to developers. For instance, not many games do a good job of accurately tracking the player’s motions and positions and translating those actions into onscreen responses. That’s kind of a big part of that whole Kinect thing, too.

Double Fine has done some pretty amazing things with Kinect. Even if you don’t give a hoot about Sesame Street or games for kids, you should still have an idea of what they’re doing. In that bee-collecting minigame, for instance, I was able to easily move around the screen. Turning wasn’t difficult, so Elmo pollinated just about every flower bud he was supposed to on his ascent.

Another minigame had me throw balls of trash into Oscar’s trash bin. Once I stopped throwing the imaginary object with all my might, the balls went where they were supposed to go. There wasn’t any of that stickiness that happens in other ball-throwing games, either. The ball released itself from my hands and arced off into the trash just how I intended it to do.

One of the things that Double Fine is keenly aware of is how busy families with young players can be. To address that, Once Upon a Monster allows for seamless drop in and drop out co-op. Again, it’s not an especially jaw-dropping feature, but anyone who’s messed around with Kinect co-op games knows how difficult it can be when players move in and out of the frame. Here, I stepped in and out, and didn’t have any problems.

It’s kind of strange to be praising a game for implementing technology the way that others should be doing by default, but here I am. Like I said, even if you aren’t interested in Sesame Street games, Once Upon a Monster is wonderful proof of Kinect’s oft-unrealized potential.

Email the author , or follow on , , , and .

Comments
  • I look forward to play this with both my neices :-D
  • Maybe other developers can learn something from this :D

  • Only Double Fine could truly be excited about making games like this. And I love them for that.
  • i can't wait until more kinect games start getting it right. i feel like tom cruise in minority report whenever i turn on my xbox, it automatically signs me in with face recognition, i tell it to start up kinect sports (by voice), and then when i start playing my movements are tracked 1:1 for table tennis..... I'm stoked to start customizing my guns with it in ghost recon and giving my squad voice commands in mass effect. its awesome when its done... now they just need to actually start doing it.

  • "Double Fine has done some pretty amazing things with Kinect. Even if you don’t give a hoot about Sesame Street or games for kids, you should still have an idea of what they’re doing. In that bee-collecting minigame, for instance, I was able to easily move around the screen. Turning wasn’t difficult, so Elmo pollinated just about every flower bud he was supposed to on his ascent."

    this said made me think of this:

    www.youtube.com/watch

  • Finally I can give Elmo a great big hug without having to

  • This was a fine article.

    But Im going to rant a tad. This is one of the finer things to be had with Kinect? Im starting to worry here that the motion control tech's target demographic is little kids. After all, they love moving around. Plus, all the old timers are just too darn used to controllers. Thus? Little kid games.

    And what do I buy for my kids? Well, Im not sure. Im probably not going to buy a brand new spankin PS3 for them. I might go with something that will entertain them but not break the bank. Well, maybe I'll buy a Wii. Its cheap. Because the Kinect costs as much as one, plus you need a 360. How many parents blow around 400 bucks on their kids in one go?

    Thats the problem here. Either they make this tech hard core so adults can have their toys, or just forget the idea. All the little tykes have their Wiis anyways, so theres no point to this. They're going to have to take a completely different direction with this Kinect. Sure it can be for kids, but if you plan on it being significant at all, you're going to have to push the envelope a bit and make very impressive adult friendly games that draw serious attention.

    Least thats the way I see it.
  • While not exactly the kind of game I myself would play, this is the kind of news I look forward to reading when it concerns Kinect.  Hopefully this'll mark the truly first successful step into making Kinect something actually worth getting.

  • Good for Kinect. Think Microsoft had better stop trying too hard to make hardcore games for Kinect and concentrate on what works best. There's nothing wrong with having a peripheral suited for casual games.
  • 50 points for Double Fine!

  • Ouch! I involuntarily curled my fingers up when reading that "bending fingernails backwards" line.
    I've been really excited about this game since I saw it on the E3 live coverage. Even though it will be a few years by the time my son is old enough to play it, I still plan to get it for him. My son LOVES Elmo, and the game looks so cute and the mechanics look like a lot of fun. And I love the easy "drop-in/drop-out" function. This seems like a game I could enjoy playing with him, as well. And I'm sure he will get a kick out of his mommy look ridiculous flapping her arms up and down.
    One question I have about the Kinect, though, is how small of a person can it register? Like say I decide to get it early, when he is two, and we try to mess around on it. Would it be able to read his teeny little body?
  • awesome we'll play this instead of watching monday night football with my police buddies