Michael Phelps: Push the Limit

4.0 Overall Score

Will Not Get You Wet

Bad Kinect Functionability

Written by on November 29, 2011 in [, , , , ]


Ok, so while I feel like I should write this whole thing in caps, I won’t. But Michael Phelps: Push the Limit for the Kinect just feels so freaking epic, it seems like the only person who could write a proper review for it would be Michael Bay.

Never has there been a sports game for any console that got you so pumped. Never has there been a sports game that made you more ready to take on the minions of Hades, wrestle Zeromous like a lumberjack, or defeat the Cyberdemon with nothing more than a splintered toothpick. You stand, primed and ready to destroy an entire city with nothing more than your left eyelash as you prepare to…. go swimming?

Yes, we are talking about that Michael Phelps. Olympic gold medalist and buddy of the bud, this is his game. A game that was most likely conceived when Phelps and Bay got stoned together and wondered how they could unearth a Kinect title unholy enough to unlock the third seal of the apocalypse.

After starting the game and being exposed to music and visuals that were created in the future and sent back in time in Michael Bay’s personal Delorean, we are introduced to a video explaining how the game is played. The general idea of the game is simple – get the audience to think you are the coolest kid in class, then swim back and forth across a pool at a speed that is not too slow but not too fast and not really controllable, then swim without restrictions so you can stop suddenly and raise your hand like you know the answer to the question that the hot teacher is asking.

Phew. Clear as mud? Great! Maybe when we actually get to swim for ourselves, it will make more sense. But first – we get to make our very own swimming human, complete with Speedo branded cap and suit. Which would be easier, if this Kinect game was compatible with the Kinect.

It’s a little thing I noticed when it took me a good 30 seconds to hit the start button using my hands. This game does not exactly track your body that well. Which would be perfectly fine, if this Kinect game didn’t use the Kinect. We even put in Dance Central to see if the calibration was off. After a few solid rounds of flawlessly dancing like Christopher Walken to Weapon of Choice, it was unanimously concluded that Push the Limit simply expects you to have the body of Michael Phelps. I sit in an office drinking coffee all day (and night) developing video games and managing a team of badass developers who breath brimstone and shit diamonds. Michael Phelps takes a quick lap between New York and England then wrestles Cthulu before he even eats breakfast.

So, fighting through the inability for this Kinect game to function properly with the Kinect, I successfully manage to create a svelte representation of myself – complete with blue eyes. Note that this is the last time in the game you will see your eyes. Great customization choice.

Ok! So now – nearly 10 minutes in – maybe we will get to do some swimming in this swimming game!

Nope. First thing we have to do is watch the tutorial video. Again. The same clear as concrete video we already watched. Upon completing this… Wait for it… It’s time to swim!


The scene opens to a penthouse swimming pool. There is a lightning storm outside, and water cascades down the windows. To either side of the pool is an audience waiting to witness human fish do their thing. Or..l I think there is an audience. It’s actually pitch black just past the sides of the pool, so maybe Michael Bay blew a fuse in the building creating the perfect special effect for when the toilet flushes. Which I believe explains the torrential downpour outside.

First part of gameplay – excite the audience! Pump your fists! Dance in place! Gyrate like there’s a pole in front of you! Ok, great – now that the audience is excited, you can… Hrm. No idea. Apparently exciting the audience is good for something. Hell if I know. Maybe the cheering will make my pecs dance?

15 minutes in to the game, and at last… Yes… Swimming! There actually is swimming in this swimming game! On your mark… Get in position. Get set… Bend forward. And go… Dive forward and watch as absolutely nothing happens!

That was awesome! It was almost like the game was designed around the concept of swimming, without the actual act of swimming. It’s sort of like watching porn.

No, it’s just the faulty Kinect code. After flailing around like a retarded fish, I finally got my swimmer to sort of plop into the water, like a noodle carelessly tossed into a pond. Now that I am in the water, I am supposed to swim, using the typical method of swimming – moving your arms. Unfortunately, the game has other ideas on what swimming is. Apparently, swimming means to thrust your arm forward at an incredibly precise speed, and then not move it for any reason whatsoever – and then do this again with the other arm. Not too fast. Not too slow! Wait now you aren’t moving. Now you are moving! Now kick off the wall and do it again.

So. That rather sums up the game. Should you buy it? Well that depends. Do you enjoy the thought of being chained into a wheelchair and hung by your toes over a pit of mimicking sharks building a nuclear reactor with unstable Russian uranium? If you do, then by all means, pick this game up NOW!

I give Michael Phelps: Push the Limit 2 out of 5 solid hits on Optimus Bong. One of these hits is for the pure epicness alone. The other is out of pity for the developers.

A copy of Michael Phelps: Push the Limit was provided to The Married Gamers for review.


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Author: Dave Calabrese View all posts by
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Dave has always looked towards creative mediums as a way to showcase untold stories and to entertain others. From a young age, Dave would spend hours in his family's home creating home-made board games and writing stories. His father worked in the game industry, which allowed Dave the early insight on another direction he could take his creative inspirations in. He eventually found a job in the game industry, and seven years later had a stack of published games under his belt and a number of award winning titles to bulletpoint his resume with. Dave continues to pave the way to the future of the games industry by telling stories and entertaining through interactive mediums which will make you laugh, make you cry, and make you come back for more.

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