The first time I watched the Hole in the Wall TV show, I thought to myself what a perfect fit it would be for Microsoft’s body mapping Kinect devise. Obviously, someone else was thinking the same thing as here it is, available exclusively for Kinect at 800MS Points.
If you haven’t seen the show, it puts players in front of a wall with a specific shape in it. This wall moves towards the contestant as they scramble to match their body shape to that of the hole in the wall so that they can successfully pass through rather than taking a trip to the drink. It’s a simple show with a simple premise, but one that manages to entertain more than it has any right to.
The Xbox version plays in much the same way with players matching up their body shape via the Kinect sensor, with much giggling from the watching crowds. The problem is that, while a perfect fit on paper, thanks to some occasionally iffy core mechanics, Hole in the Wall isn’t quite the game it should have been.
The actual concept of gauging success and providing player feedback is a solid one – your silhouette will appear as red, orange and then green depending on how successful your pose is with a success meter clearing to provide a score based on how quickly you manage to get into position. The problem is that the game occasionally struggles to read your poses, with subtle leg and arm movements proving a bit tricky for the sensor to read at times. It doesn’t happen too often and won’t be a game breaker when played with friends, but getting yourself into the perfect pose only to fail the wall will occasionally prove rather annoying.
Still, other than the few times when Kinect does go awry, Hole in the Wall is an enjoyable downloadable title and a great game to play with a group of friends……especially with alcohol. In fact, I would argue that friends and alcohol are all but essential to your enjoyment of the game. Sure, you can play through ten TV shows on your own, but playing this game on your tod isn’t what Hole in the Wall is about. It’s about making stupid poses in front of your friends and making a bit of a tit of yourself. Kind of like Karaoke without the singing.
Playing one on one or team games of two on two, you can move your way through the ten shows available. While just about anyone will be able to make their way through the first few shows, the walls do become a lot more challenging as you progress to the point that you will need a fair degree of strength and flexibility to progress.
Whether it be on your own or with friends, Hole in the Wall is split up into two modes. The primary mode is the TV show mode that is made up of ten shows, each one split up into four rounds. The first three rounds are all the same and allow two missed walls before you fail the show. The final round plays out in much the same way but throws extra challenges at you, such as dimmed lights and quicker moving walls. The other mode is literally an unending collection of walls with the challenge to clear as many in a row as you can. In the case of both modes, scores are automatically posted onto online leaderboards to provide some additional challenge for those looking to take on the game on their own.
From an audio/visual perspective, Hole in the Wall is nothing to write home about. Still, its appearance is clean, mostly clear, and mercifully for a game based on a gameshow, not overly garish. It successfully captures the spirit of the show and, for a lack of a better word, is entirely competent.
Hole in the Wall isn’t quite the ideal match for Kinect that I thought it would be. Thanks to some iffy mechanics and an occasionally unreliable reading of poses, Hole in the Wall proves itself an enjoyable but ultimately flawed experience. The thing is, any minor gripes you might have with the game are soon forgotten amongst a group of friends making fools of themselves in front of your TV. It’s not perfect, it’s not much fun on your own, but Hole in the Wall can still be a huge amount of fun if played in short burst under the right conditions.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox 360 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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