Version tested Xbox 360
Unlike Kinect Sports and Adventures, Joy Ride doesn't actually make you move very much. You can even play it sitting down with moderate success. You simply hold your hands out in front of you on an imaginary steering wheel and veer left and right, and your avatar will do the same in its little sportsmobile. There's no need to worry about accelerating and braking, as the game does that for you. You've got more important things to fret over, like how you're going to pay the rent after spending £165 on a magic camera and a racing game.
There's a modicum of finesse to the control system, but nothing overcomplicated. You can lean into your turns to drift, boost by pulling your hands towards your chest to charge up and then thrusting them outwards again, and pull tricks in the air by twisting your body. All of this can have unpredictable results at times, but as you grow accustomed to the way the Kinect sensor likes you to stand and move, you feel increasingly in control.
The game doesn't really care if you go off-road, thankfully. Racing on the grass or dirt doesn't slow you down, and your car simply smashes through trees, fences and other obstacles without a care in the world or a dent in the bonnet. This is good, because you will inevitably find yourself miles away from the track. All the time. When you can't control your speed to slow down for corners and the steering isn't very sensitive anyway, it's very difficult to stay on the road.
With that in mind, it's sensible that the game has been designed so that accuracy doesn't matter, although it could also be seen as an admission that it's not capable of accuracy. Either way, it's impressively accessible. Anybody, even little kids, can pick up everything they need to know within about thirty seconds, and it's difficult to fail challenges altogether.
A second player can jump in and out at any time between races just by moving into position in front of the sensor. If they have a profile on the console, Kinect will try to recognise them – otherwise, it will assign them a random avatar.
There are five game modes, each with just one course unlocked at the start. Pro Race is a straightforward competition; Battle Race is the same, but with added items like missiles, speed boosts and a teleporter, which you use by stretching your arm out to touch an icon. Both of these game types are playable against on Xbox Live.
Stunt puts you in a half-pipe and asks you to score as many points as possible by twisting and turning in the air and collecting fruit pick-ups. [There is no videogame that is not improved by the addition of fruit – Ed.] Smash drops you into a circular arena full of wooden statues to obliterate. Dash is a super-high-speed drag race where all you have to do it switch lanes to avoid obstacles – this mode can be extremely fiddly. In Trick, the most out-of-place mode, your car sprouts wings and your Avatar balances on a wing whilst you strike poses.