If you're not up to date on your extreme sports you might be wondering what exactly is Ice Cross Downhill? It's kind of a cross between a luge and roller derby, whereby a total sane and reasonable person straps on a pair of iceskates, plops on a helmet, and hurls down a man-made slide of solid ice. Apparently, it's been around for 10 years and last weekend Red Bull host their World Championship at Niagara Falls.
It actually looks quite thrilling and I'm sure in my more youthful days I would have been exstatic for an attempt. Fortunately, Bongfish, the development team behind "Stoked: Big Air Edition" and "Harm's Way" will save you and me a few broken bones with an arcadey version of the over-the-top sport with "Red Bull Crashed Ice Kinect".
I recently got a... uh... full body demo (what do you call a hand's on demo for the Kinect?) as well as more time at home to play the game and I genuinely had a blast. Before you say it, I know Kinect games are really hit or miss, with hits often falling into the mundane and repetitive and misses failing at nearly every turn. With "Red Bull Crashed Ice Kinect", Bongfish worked at creating a simple and fun game that anyone can jump into and play.
The game, will have you travelling the world from Quebec to Munic, participating in races on a variety of tracks. All feature quick turns, shortcuts, obstacles, and . Crashed Ice can be played either single player or with a friend in direct competition or against a bunch of AI racers. You can also download "ghosts" to try you skill against people from all over the world. There's even a way to play against ghost version of real life Cross Ice racers.
Getting started is pretty easy and Kinect really worked great when matching my movements. You start by holding your hands in front of you and then quickly pull back at the end of the countdown. Time it right and you'll get an extra boost. After launching, rapidly swing your arms up and down to gain speed. There's a bar that fills as you keep a certain pace and stars along the course that will fill the speed meter if you start to get tired. To turn, just lean your body and you can squat low to help speed though sharper curves. you'll also have to squat for low wall obstacles or raise your arms in front of your body to break through ice barriers. There's a simple trick system when you come up to jumps- just do a short hop and then you can either raise your arms, kneel in a ball, or grab your leg to pull off some neat looking acrobatics. Finally, you can directly engage with opponents with a quick foot stomp to knock them back and gain a few more paces ahead of the pack.
My movements were easily recognized by an unusually repsonsive Kinect and the whole experience was overall fun. Though, there's not a ton of content (only five tracks to choose), "Red Bull Crashed Ice Kinect" is at the right price of only 400 MS points. So if you're interested in a game about a relatively obscure sport or just want a night of fun with a few friends, this might fit the bill.