Adrenalin Misfits

2.0 Overall Score

Written by on December 21, 2010 in

Why do I have to select my character and board again each time I begin a race? Are there even any differences between the available characters and boards? They all feel the same. Also, why are there ramps facing directly into the wall of the course? Why am I unable to activate my powerup even when performing the gesture prescribed by the game for doing so? All valid questions for which Konami’s Adrenalin Misfits provides no discernable answers.  Adrenalin Misfits is an extreme boarding race game in which players race across various environments.  It is squarely aimed at the kids market.

I don’t want to come down on the game too hard. Aside from a few bonehead decisions, it is a mostly competent if loose motion-controlled racing game. It has a number of modes which all feel mostly similar, the greatest challenge being the player’s attempt to correlate any motions he might be making with his body to anything happening on the screen. Perhaps you want to have layered on top of this a challenge to finish first, or maybe you prefer to attempt to trick your way to a high score. Perhaps you enjoy the idea of busting balloons. At any rate, you’ll find you seem to have very minimal influence over the outcome. Luckily, the AI racers are no better. Despite all the times I found myself cross-boarding directly into a wall hoping the physics would see fit to thrust me back on the correct path to complete the race, I remained competitive.

The whole thing has a very juvenile over-the-top aesthetic which apparently wants to appeal to the younger set. Practically every asset be it music, art, or otherwise is uninspired, but maybe that is just my jaded old eyes which crave a more muted, subtle visual and aural experience. I had my daughter join me for a session before bedtime to get her take on the game. Although she seemed to enjoy jumping around with me in multiplayer, I could tell she was also having trouble feeling like she had any power over the outcome. Most telling was that she was finished playing after a single race.

Konami did one thing very right, and in comes by way of the game’s menu interface. I’m not sure if they have a name for it, but I will call it the pose-based menu system. Instead of placing a floating hand over top of a menu button and holding it there, the player matches a pose shown on the desired menu item. For example, confirming a selection is done by raising your right fist into the air. Moving the selection to the left or the right is done by extending either your left or right arm directly out to the side. It’s a pretty good way to navigate menus on Kinect and is often less tedious than the aforementioned alternative.

Another interface decision accounts for one of the game’s most annoying traits. After each race, you must choose which type of event you want to attempt next. Then, you must choose your track. Then, you choose your racer. Then, you choose your board. Now, you are ready to play. Four menus after each race is a bit much. Instead, add a gesture to allow the player to change racers and boards, but assume they don’t want to. This would half the amount of menu finagling breaking up the flow of the game.

Lack of a career mode leaves players with no feeling they are progressing in any meaningful way unless you count the unlocks of samey tracks, boards, and characters which feel very much like skins on top of the few available from the start. It feels like a single mini-game gussied up with multiple modes which have the player doing basically the same thing: hopping on a “crossboard” and flinging himself down a mountain.

The Kinect library is slim as is the case with any new platform. Developers will undoubtedly try to cash in on this fact and release half-baked games knowing they will receive equal billing on store shelves with the more polished titles. I have trouble seeing Adrenalin Misfits as much more than this principle in practice. If you want a quick fun albeit shallow demo of the technology try Kinect Sports or even the packed-in Kinect Adventures. Both will provide you with much more satisfaction than this.

A copy of Adrenalin Misfits was provided to The Married Gamers for review and evaluation.

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Author: Devon Campbell View all posts by
Devon's childhood has crept way into adulthood... and he's cool with that. He's embraced it by continuing the nerdy pursuits of his youth and indoctrinating his poor wife, Tiffany, and daughter, Ambria, thereby possibly spreading the disease to them. They don't seem to mind so much.

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