So, for the first time since I was introduced to Kinect, I've encountered a game that didn't make me want to run screaming from the living room within 15 minutes.
That game, surprisingly, is Fruit Ninja Kinect, a potentially ill-advised port of a huge-selling mobile game that I didn't exactly shower with praise 16 months ago. It's especially surprising because, in reality, it's not doing much more than one of the throwaway EyeToy mini-games from about nine years ago.
And yet, there I was on Monday night, flailing around my lounge with absolutely no dignity, with a ton of other, presumably more pressing things to do. Halfbrick, I salute you with my increasingly toned arms.
Fruit Ninja Kinect
- Xbox Live Arcade - 800 Microsoft Points (£6.80)
In the wake of Fruit Ninja's multi-million selling success on mobile phones, it's clear that society's collective cibophobia knows no bounds.
But as mildly amusing as Halfbrick's promotional trailer was, and as mildly engaging as I found the iOS original, it was never one of those games I became involuntarily obsessed with - unlike, say, FlickKick Football or Tiny Tower. Fortunately for Halfbrick, plenty of you disagreed, and I'm beginning to understand what a plonker that bloke from Decca must have felt after rejecting The Beatles.
On Kinect, though, it's a completely different story, and works by actually turning you into the frenzied blade-wielding assassin that you knew you always could be, given the chance. Well, that chance is finally here in probably the least likely reason to dust off the Kinect yet.
As usual, your duties extend to little more than slicing up fruit as it drifts gently across the screen and trying to avoid the bombs that appear to spoil your fun. But what appears to be little more than an EyeToy mini-game from 2003 somehow develops into an entire evening of arm-waving, challenge-based nonsense.
The question I kept asking myself was: 'Why am I still playing this?' The mechanics are basically identical, in that you slice until you run out of time or run out of lives.
Somehow, though, prancing around like a sweating monkey makes the magic happen, and turns it into the craziest fitness game yet. Never mind UFC Trainer, I may yet get buff from repeatedly removing the stupid tufty hair of imaginary pineapples.
The fact that you can now also do this in multiplayer only serves to accentuate the silliness, and rather than just dismissing Fruit Ninja Kinect as a throwaway novelty, I find myself aching from playing it for too long. In my pants. There. I said it. Deal with it.
- Xbox Live Indie Games - 80 Microsoft Points
Factory line drudgery is one of the more unlikely fixations currently occupying the minds of indie development. After the hectic multi-tasking of Production Panic, Assembly Line provides a welcome Condor moment by comparison.
But Lone Wolf's deceptively engaging effort is not short of blood-pressure-troubling moments of its own, as it tasks you with fashioning increasingly complicated items along an eight-stage conveyor belt.
With only a single picture of the reference design to go on, you have to essentially reverse engineer it and figure out all the steps required in the process.
The early stages go easy on you, with little more than a few shapes to cut out. But with every level comes a new task, be it rotation, painting or line drawing, and before long you're having to factor in two-sided designs while rubbing your belly, patting your head and playing harmonica.
Half the battle is predicting what effect your actions are going to have, and it's not until the finished article rolls off the conveyor belt that you can unpick where your plans may have gone awry.
And it's this combination of careful planning mixed with trial and error that makes Assembly Line so compelling. Were it not for the rudimentary presentation, it would be an easier sell, but look beyond the garish amateurism and you'll find the bones of a satisfying and original puzzler.
- Xbox Live Indie Games - 80 Microsoft Points
I'm not sure what Whampi was on when it fashioned Moon Cheese out of purest glee, but if I ever meet these bouncy Swedes, I'm certainly going to ask for some.
If the trailer hasn't already left you in a slightly altered state, this cheerfully relentless effort fully intends to sneak in, borrow an important part of your brain and never return it.
For reasons best left unexplored, you control a Goblin on a quest for, you guessed it, Moon Cheese, and the only way to get it is to bounce off the unfortunates who wander beneath you.
Landing on one of their heads gently propels your Goblin skywards, but the trick is to progressively charge up a power bar by continually bouncing around. Eventually you'll have enough powder to fuel your rocket, and be able to soar high enough to, hopefully, grab a slice of delicious moon cheese. Obviously.
And so it goes on in one fabulously carefree display of score-chasing nonsense. But with greater score comes greater difficulty, and, sure enough, the previously benign populace start getting fed up with being bounced on, and some start wearing spiky helmets to put a stop to your fun.
Of course, they succeed with irritating efficiency, but only irritating enough to keep you coming back for more punishment. You big daft idiot.
With a premise this daft and mechanics this simple, no-one will give a hoot on Xbox Indie, but sling it out on mobile phones and make a million. I dare you.
Game & Watch Gallery
- 3DS eShop - £3.60
Somewhere in the raging heart of the eighties gamer there will always be a special place for Nintendo's ultra-basic, pre-Game Boy handheld gems. Simple, addictive, and designed to fill a few spare playground minutes, the Game & Watch games worked around their hilarious technical limitations with typical Nintendo class.
When this Game Boy release originally appeared in 1997, most of us were still high on our first gaming nostalgia trips, and this four-title collection tapped into that giddy fervour perfectly.
But rather than just lump together a stodgy compilation of monochrome LCD relics, Nintendo took the opportunity to revisit the game mechanics and produce updated versions of Manhole, Fire, Octopus and Oil Panic to stand alongside the fun-but-limited originals.
In Manhole, for example, Yoshi stands in as the lead character, using his prehensile tongue to prop up four manhole covers to provide safe passage for passing pedestrians. It's as daft as a brush, but has all the throwaway charm of today's score-chasing mobile games.
And it's the same deal elsewhere, with Fire transformed into an excuse to press Mario and Luigi into action as they bounce fleeing civilians to safety as they leap from a burning building, while Oil Panic has you delicately redistributing drops of oil into Yoshi's gaping maw as he prowls the platform below.
Octopus, meanwhile, is probably the most imaginative of the lot, as you dive for treasure while trying to doge between the grasping tentacles that stand between you and untold riches.
Each comes with Normal and Hard modes to test you with, and all are the kind of game that, these days, probably won't engage in the way that they once did. Back then, you most likely got one for your birthday and had to damned well make the most of it.
But in today's era of cheap, disposable handheld gems at every turn, the point of the Game & Watch Gallery will be lost on all but the most wistfully nostalgic. It's not the games' fault, but things have moved on to such an extent that this serves as a little more than a curiosity - and a reminder that some of us really should probably get over our childhood by now.
The Lost Town: The Dust
- DSiWare: 500 DSiWare Points (£4.50)
Under the right circumstances, protecting a remote encampment for seven days and seven nights from the unwelcome advances of monsters could be a bit of fun rather than grim, unrewarding grind.
Problems inevitably arise when it turns out that the Chilia, the game's wide-eyed heroine, couldn't fight her way out of a paper bag. But that's OK, it's a top-down action RPG. She'll level up, show these shambling beasties who's boss and rescue all the quivering inhabitants from being beaten to a pulp. Hurrah!
Except becoming the buffed-up badass is actually an unapologetic war of attrition, saddled with tiresome one-button combat that provides little incentive to invest the hours required to buy upgrades and recruits.
Apart from that, Circle Entertainment unbalances the grind too early, and the addition of frustrating struggle to general repetition quickly snuffs out any residual interest.
Determined types fond of incessant repetition might eke some mild enjoyment from The Lost Town, but the rest of us can move swiftly along and leave the town to its inevitable fate.