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.