10-18-2011, 12:43 AM (This post was last modified: 10-18-2011 01:15 AM by GaMeR.)
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade (Xbox 360 Kinect)
Price: 800 MSP / $10
Lemmings with the Kinect? Not quite.
At a quick glance, this appears to be yet another Lemmings clone except with Kinect support and although they both share a very similar objective, the actual gameplay mechanics differ. Every level contains two portals, one that spawns the white little creatures known as Leedmees and another which serves as an exit for them. Leedmees aren't very bright so ultimately, it's up to you to guide them safely from the spawn to the exit. Unlike Lemmings, the player can't command any Leedmees, instead they have to use their body to control a giant figure which has to manipulate the environment and act as a human bridge to get them across safely.
This structure is alive!
Meh, sounds easy...
The single player mode is split into 3 chapters which span across 50 levels. As the player progresses through each chapter, the levels get more challenging and new obstacles are introduced along the way to test their wits. The first chapter is fairly easy but hints off at the fact that things will get harder later on. By the second chapter, you'll have to think twice before moving your body. Aside from the actual obstacles, time is another factor that works against you along with the death of Leedmees (whether intentional or not). Each level has a different time limit and safely exited Leedmee requirement so the player must adhere to both to successfully complete it. In addition to the primary objective, every level features an optional secondary objective of having five Leedmees collect a gold star each before going through the exit portal. After the first chapter, the secondary objective tends to be much harder to complete as it’s often more time consuming to make sure that those stars are actually collected especially when there are obstacles guarding them.
As for specific obstacles, there are of course deadly spikes and traps that crush Leedmees but eventually the player will encounter ghosts which can “paralyze” the player if they get too close to the head. While paralyzed, you will be able to move but you’ll appear as a ghost-like figure meaning that you won’t be able to actually manipulate the environment until this side-effect wears off. Moving around abruptly helps speed up the healing process. You can fend off ghosts by waving your arms towards them but this can be tricky when you have a Leedmee heading that direction as well.
Some of the later levels also have mini-puzzles and require accurate timing to pull off certain maneuvers. Situations can also get hectic and you might accidentally crush some Leedmees while on duty as a human bridge. There’s also the frustrating dilemma of picking up Leedmees that are on the ground as you have to reach out to them in a specific manner and hope that when you’re pulling them up, they don’t get violently flung or crushed. This took me a while to grasp and even then, still mess up at times.
Menacing smiles from the grave.
Two Giants, One Screen
For the most part, I had little trouble getting the Kinect to recognize me in both a crammed room and a more appropriate setting while playing solo. However, when it came to the multiplayer, recognition suffered some significant stability. It appears to be due to a combination of two things, the actual scope of recognition and the way the multiplayer works. Fortunately, the multiplayer is actually fun but only if you’re willing to deal with some frustrations as although the primary objective is the same as it is in the single player, things get a lot more complicated when another giant steps into the picture. If you had the bad habit of accidentally crushing Leedmees in the single player, chances are you’ll be crushing a lot more once you have an accomplice. Aside from the obvious addition of a second figure, the other major change is the fact that the exit portal is actually able to move around and sometimes attaches itself to the player’s body which can lead to some rather awkward poses causing a Twister-like experience. I personally found it to be humorous but at the same time, got frustrated after a while as it made completing the objective much harder especially since both players don’t seem to have enough space to accurately maneuver the Leedmees. Due to this, I can only recommend the multiplayer to those with patience and a good sense of humor.
**NOTE** This mode was tested with two adults around the same height. Other variances were untested.
All in all, the main idea behind Leedmees is far from unique but the Kinect controls do give it a sense of innovation and although it appears to be a Lemmings clone, there is a significant difference in gameplay, controls aside. At 800 MSP, it’s a fair price point for puzzle fans looking for a fun for all ages Kinect game as long as you’re aware that there's not much depth as most levels probably won’t take more than 6 minutes to complete with a couple of retries factored in as a majority of the levels in the first chapter for example, can be completed in one shot in under 3 minutes. However, that is if you’re only striving for the primary objective, players looking to get the most out of their money can get some more playtime by attempting to top the leaderboards or fully complete each level by doing the second objective as well which makes the later levels a lot more challenging and time consuming to complete. The later levels can easily take much longer as well due to their difficulty; expect to retry several of the second chapter and third chapter levels quite frequently.
As previously mentioned, I found the Kinect support to be satisfactory while playing solo aside from some minor kinks which often cost me a retry. Overall, the demo is an accurate representation of what to expect from the game in terms of the basic mechanics but things definitely get a lot more challenging so if it seems too easy, don’t let that put you off. Worst-case scenario, if you end up hating the demo, you can always vent your frustration on Leedmees by purposefully leading them to their demise - just don’t expect to complete the game like that or have a clean moral conscious afterward…
+Fun for both short and long sessions
+Stable Kinect support (single player)
+Progressive level of challenge
-Multiplayer mode could have used better planning in terms of both design and Kinect recognition
-Unless a player is into leaderboard domination or an avid achievement hunter, the replay value is relatively low aside from multiplayer
-The first chapter isn’t very interesting
Leedmees guides the little creatures across to safety with a 8/10 performance.
A review copy was used to evaluate the game.
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Leedmees Review - GaMeR - 10-18-2011 12:43 AM
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