Review: Kinect Sports Rivals 7 years ago

Review: Kinect Sports Rivals

JOE has been jumping around the living room for the past week taking on the challenges that await us in Kinect Sports Rivals, only available on the Xbox One.

We were excited to try out the latest Xbox One Kinect Sports game developed exclusively for the Kinect by the British developers, Rare Ltd., mainly because we wanted to see just how far the Kinect technology has come and what we could expect for future Kinect based games on the Xbox One. Suffice to say, we were pleasantly surprised…


In Kinect Sports Rivals you play as yourself and you take on various challenges in six sports that are dotted throughout the Kinect Sports Rivals island. Those sports being: wave racing (jet skiing), bowling, climbing, soccer (football to you and I), target shooting and tennis.

Before you start playing those various activities, you must first create your character. The Kinect takes several different pictures of your face and body in order to create a character in your likeness and, in fairness, my character did end up resembling myself – apart from the fact it gave me shoulder length hair, but I’ll forgive the Kinect as it picked up on my glasses, which was pretty cool.

The only problem with the facial mapping features was the fact that it took so long to make my character, which left my girlfriend, otherwise known as player 2, feeling a little left out of the fun. However, player 2's turn would eventually come, and that’s when I got a little bit bored. Thankfully, once your character is created you’re ready to meet up with your first of the three Kinect Sports Rivals ‘teams’, called Eagle Legion, who show you the ropes on your first challenge: wave racing.

One of the first things you’ll notice about the gameplay is how well the Kinect tracking function works for certain games and how it can be a bit 'hit and miss' for others. It’s good with wave racing and climbing, great with bowling and tennis, but pretty dire for the football game. Even when you position the camera to give yourself the optimal amount of room to kick and header the virtual ball, your shots still end up way off target... or at least they did for me.


The climbing game was easily JOE’s favourite mainly because being the first to the top of the six different courses isn’t the only aim to this game. Virtual opponents are hot on your heels and they’ll do anything to get in front of you… even if it means grabbing at your ankles. On top of that you have to watch out for various traps that lie in wait, which added suspense to the game.

Apart from having absolutely stunning visuals, the best part about Kinect Sports Rivals is the fact that it basically tricks you into getting up and doing a little bit of exercise. You can play the entire game sitting down, but it obviously aids in the fun if you get up and jump around the living room regardless of whether you’re playing with a group of mates or on your own. As for the motion detection function, if you get sick of grabbing at the screen in order to move forward in the pause menus you can just use the voice functionality or simply use your controller.


Unlike other ‘fitness’ games, Kinect Sports Rivals doesn’t give you weight or calorie goals and instead you have to gain fans and stay on top of the leader boards in order to become a 'Champion', which is the ultimate goal. You can access all the various worldwide leader boards on the free to download Kinect Sports Rivals Hub and it’s a great way to keep on track of your personal bests, along with how your friends are getting on in the Sports Rivals world.

So, what did we make of Kinect Sports Rivals? Well, we really enjoyed playing it. Kinect Sports Rivals isn’t exactly the type of game you’d be dying to play after a long day at work, but it really does give you a sense of accomplishment after you win in a challenging event.

It’s suitable for all ages and it’s great craic to play with a few friends, or even on your own, and if you're naturally competitive you'll definitely get your money's worth. While the football game could be a lot better, the other five sports make up for it and once you’ve gotten past the somewhat tedious ‘create your character’ section you’ll be on your way to becoming the next Kinect Sports Rivals Champion...