Hole In The Wall
- Xbox Live Arcade - 800 Microsoft Points.
Now that downloadable titles are finally heading to the under-utilised Kinect, we can expect to routinely perform all manner of oddball shenanigans in the name of controller-free entertainment.
Case in point: Hole In The Wall, a game show in which 'contestants' have to strike different poses in order to squeeze their irregular mass through outlines in an approaching wall.
On the real-life TV programme, it's the usual kind of knockabout fun where not getting knocked into the water provides the goofy incentive. On the 360, though, most of the time is spent mangling yourself into forms that the Kinect sensor has rather too much trouble interpreting.
Against an opponent, the technical hiccups are even more testing, with height differences a real thorn in the poor technology's side. Throw in the usual lighting problems and the need to clear a larger than usual space in the living room, and it's likely to be a headache for many to get a game going at all.
But even when Hole In The Wall isn't being a belligerent little git, there's precious little incentive to prance around more than a few times. 10 themed challenges, a survival mode and basic multiplayer (for up to two teams of two players) provide precious little variety for the 800 point outlay. At times like this you really should make like a tree and leave.
Crazy Machines Elements
- Xbox Live Arcade - 800 Microsoft Points - £6.80.
- PSN - £7.99
- Also available on PC.
And on the back of a touch-based resurgence in mobile land (check out Casey's Contraptions and last year's sorely overlooked Create), it's perhaps no surprise to see another attempt to carry on The Incredible Machine's fine work.
But rather than challenge players to build contraptions from scratch to achieve a goal, Crazy Machine Elements does most of the legwork for you, with a nearly complete contraption missing only a few parts. With only a few possible places to lay down the remaining pieces, there's little room for experimentation or creativity, and 'solving' each of the game's 100 puzzle levels takes comparatively little effort.
It's a different story in the game's unlockable challenge mode, though, with all the trial and error nonsense that comes with laying out conveyor belts, boxing gloves, and around 130 other construction items to set fire to your sister's hair. Probably. Annoyingly, to even get to the best part of the game you have to wade through around half of the uninspiring puzzle levels.
And if that wasn't irksome enough, the game has all the production values of an early noughties PC game ported lovelessly to console - but with worse controls and unreadable text.
If you're looking for a slick, tactile contraption puzzler, then you're far better off looking to the mobile scene for the many superior (and cheaper) offerings. By comparison, Crazy Machines Elements is a step into a murky past best forgotten.