|Release date:||14 November 2003|
It's time to put on your dancing shoes, with the first EyeToy game since Play. Let the music move you!
Owners of EyeToy: Play will no doubt already be familiar with the concept of flinging themselves about their living room to a choice selection of disco beats, with party-friendly games Beat Freak and Boogie Down. The premise is a simple one: stand in front of your telly, dance like a loon and watch your family/friends/pet crack up at your attempts to set the dance floor (read: lounge rug) alight. And now with EyeToy: Groove, Studio London's latest addition to the innovative mini-cam genre, you can wow the crowds once more with more tunes, more challenges, and all-new spangly wavy hand movements.
EyeToy: Groove is a game totally dedicated to dancing, and has a line-up of popular hits as long as your dancing slacks to support those crazy hip-swivelling antics (remember, you'll need an EyeToy USB camera to play it). Floor-fillers such as Junior Senior's Move Your Feet, JXL's Little Less Conversation and Groove Armada's Superstylin' jostle for space alongside dancehall classics ABC by The Jacksons, Lets Groove by Earth Wind and Fire, and Kool & The Gang's infamous Jungle Boogie.
Gameplay-wise, the principle is similar to EyeToy: Play's dancing games; six icons appear on the screen and, whilst positioned in the centre of the screen, you must attempt to hit these spots as smiley-faced discs fly over them in time to the music. There's also a large, banana-like shape that you'll need to catch before it drifts off, and a star-lead wave manoeuvre that'll require you to 'push' the star across the screen in time with its movement. Do well, and you'll be prompted to 'Freestyle', which basically means you'll be videoed performing your baddest moves to camera for about 10 seconds. And, as this paragraph aptly shows, it's a whole lot easier to play EyeToy: Groove than to describe it. It's great fun for gatherings, and would break the ice of even the most glacial get-together - clearly an essential party purchase.
- Choose to shake your stuff to pop classics or more contemporary offerings
- Test your toe-tapping skills to a variety of difficulty levels, or go Dynamic and allow Groove to tailor the speed to your progress
- Throw some shapes in Freestyle mode
Get fit with EyeToy
Fancy spicing up your fitness regime with a spot of martial arts? Give EyeToy: Kinetic Combat a workout.
The original EyeToy: Kinetic combined the motion-sensing technology of EyeToy with a holistic fitness regime that really worked - and now it has a follow-up in the (perfectly toned) shape of EyeToy: Kinetic Combat. Expanding on its predecessor's aims, Kinetic Combat provides a fresh workout, this time inspired by martial arts - and the results are certainly striking.
The art of Shaolin
It's worth noting that nobody should be put off by use of the term 'combat'. While Kinetic Combat does indeed allow you to take part in simulated sparring sessions, this title focuses on much more than just that, allowing for the expansion of your health and fitness regime while teaching some of the fundamentals of martial arts. The roots of the game rest within the ancient art of Hun Gar Kung Fu, a 17th century discipline used by Shaolin monks and offered in many modern exercise classes. Hun Gar is primarily used for increasing fitness, but also includes a range of kicking, punching and movement techniques that gives a total body work out.
As with the original Kinetic, instructors Matt and Anna can be selected to help you through a one-on-one fitness programme, along with a new martial arts specific trainer, Leon. The idea is that you follow your chosen trainer's on-screen moves, matching them via a traced body outline. Your mimicry is tracked by the EyeToy Camera, allowing the game to notice if you are performing a move correctly, and provide personal feedback on your performance.
With over 200 separate Hung Gar Kung Fu moves, the routine is separated into four animal styles; dragon (a gentle introduction), tiger (strength through cardiovascular fitness), mantis (agility and balance), and phoenix (a combination of all prior lessons). Once a specific set of moves is learned, Kinetic Combat tests you via a series of mini-games like hitting on-screen sensors using your newly acquired techniques, and sparring sessions against the relevant animal opponent. Each one comprehensively gauges your skills, forcing you to duck, weave and strike your way to a better grade.
An inexhaustible trainer
Kinetic Combat is wonderfully professional, and despite its relatively serious fitness slant, plenty of fun. There's plenty of scope to enjoy it in the way that suits you best, too: Personal Trainer Mode takes you through a 16-week fitness programme, Freestyle allows for a more custom-built workout, the Quick Play mode contains a number of one-off games that can be played competitively against friends and family, offering a less goal-oriented way of getting exercise.
It works perfectly towards providing something for those looking to increase their exercise routine, or just get fit without hassle. Kinetic Combat's interactivity and feedback options provide a more personalised work out than a fitness DVD, and there's none of the irritating predictability that comes with the typical exercise video.
EyeToy: Kinetic Combat ticks all the right boxes; it's deep, fresh, involving and teaches something that's not only fun but beneficial. Who says videogames are unhealthy? This should certainly change a fair few minds - and bodies - for the better.