Wait a moment, let me stop you right there. If you like your hardcore military First Person Shooters or character heavy RPGs, then Kinect Nat Geo TV: America the Wild might not be the right title for you. If you have young children who go crazy for anything animal related, then could this be a good choice for you? Carry on reading to find out the grizzly truth.
From the outset Kinect Nat Geo TV: America the Wild is very heavily aimed at a younger audience. That does not make the title childish and simplistic at all but the information and presentation is clearly aimed at a younger market but with some great interaction for parents and children. Live action video footage is used throughout the game courtesy of Casey Anderson and his 800-pound Grizzly Bear called Brutus as they trek around Yellowstone and Alaska. I am very sure even adults will find the game entertaining and informative but once it swaps to Kinect superimposing comedy bear heads on the players, the hilarity soon starts. Kinect Nat Geo TV: America the Wild has a great balance between information and fun, especially as it delves into the exotic animals and there day-to-day, or night-to-night habits.
Two discs come with the package, one focusing mainly on bears, the other centred on wolves and other animals that you may encounter around Yellowstone National Park. If the game content is not enough to sate your bear-like hunger for information and comical moth consuming, once you have completed these two volumes you have a free one year season pass for access to the actual TV episodes of America the Wild. This is more than enough to keep young and older games entertained for hours but lacking in any long-term replayability.
The game jumps around fairly actively to keep players engaged. Between answering a few simple quizzes, smashing up rocks to eat moths, watching footage of animals in the wild, feeding owl chicks with tasty crickets while at the same time smacking snakes in the head, the game has variety in spades to keep players going. The Kinect integration is well done and full of humour which is essential when trying to keep children focused. Even adults will find the section where you all have bear heads on and you slurp up tasty ants to be hilariously funny, usually for all the wrong reasons. Kinect still has a few issues with calibration, especially when imposing the various animal suits on the players. This is even more pronounced when you have adults and children trying to play but it never gets in the way of the actual gameplay and informative sides of the game.
National Geographic has always been an important name when it comes to providing information about the world we live in and America the Wild certainly contains a good portion of what makes Nat Geo so popular. With so many action filled games or bite-sized puzzle games out there, to see a game made with information and fun as the centrepiece, is pretty rare. Throw in Kinect which tends to be reserved for quirky mini-games or amazing dance simulators and America the Wild certainly uses Kinect in some fun and interesting ways. As mentioned earlier, the variety of mini-games to keep gamers focused is great to see. All fairly short in terms of game length but all overlaid with Casey Anderson fleshing out the reasons for eating so many months or chomping down wild salmon.
Overall the game has enough content to keep children and adults entertained for hours. Not only is the game informative and fun but the access to the season pass for the America the Wild TV Episodes will also give players the feeling they are getting more worth from their initial purchase. While not the deepest game for the long-term, it will certainly educate your children and maybe some adults about things in the wild.