Preview: Once Upon a Monster Hands-On Impressions
Remember that game announced at Microsoft’s E3 conference littered with Sesame Street characters? Yeah, me neither. However, it turns out Once Upon a Monster is not that bad of a game. I think what happens to a lot of these kids titles is that they are often not the best of quality. To make things worse, this is a kids title on the Kinect. Surely, this spells doom for the game, but, again, I was pleasantly surprised.
When I started playing Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster, I immediately took note of the vibrant colors of the storybook pages that led to the actual gameplay. The presentation was great, and the familiar characters looked awesome in both 2D pages and 3D form. You swipe your hands to flip through pages, and open both your hands to begin a mini-game. What I also noticed here was how responsive and non-jittery this was. If you’ve toyed around with bad Kinect games before, then you know what I’m talking about.
My play through Once Upon a Monster consisted of 3 different mini-games that kicked off with a “do what the monster does” game. You copy whatever the monster in the forest is doing, and this includes stomping your feet, tiptoeing, and waving your arms like you’re a monster! This was a bit exhausting for an out-of-shape guy like me, but was a lot of fun. It was nice to see something that doesn’t try to be the next Just Dance and something that was different and just plain fun.
The next mini-game that I tried was to grab fireflies out of the sky. You use both hands to grab fireflies that show up all over the screen, and you use both hands at the same time to grab the bigger ones. This was simple, but I didn’t find a moment where I felt that the game was being less than accurate, which made it fun for me. I don’t know how many times I found myself frustrated about how a Kinect game was reading my arms with games with gameplay like this mini-game.
The last mini-game I played was one that had you throwing monster food toward bushes and luring cute fuzzy monsters closer and closer to you. This took some gentle tossing motions from the player to not scare them off, and some precision to get it just in the right place. Eventually, when you got the super cute monsters to come, you get to pet the cute monsters. Did I mention this was cute? Because this game was incredibly cute — maybe too cute.
Overall, although this game is not geared to someone like me, I see it as one of the best games for kids. It’s nice to see a game that is catered toward kids, but doesn’t insult their intelligence with good, solid gameplay. The game releases October 26, 2011, and, based on what I’ve seen, should be in every child’s home that has a Kinect.