There are few things as satisfying to my sense of humor as slapstick comedy. Wipeout is an hour long TV show of slapstick comedy performed by people who really don’t want to be slammed in the face with a giant foam fist, or vaulted into a giant pool after bouncing haphazardly off a giant red bouncy ball. Call me crazy, but I like what I like, and that’s one thing I like. Wipeout In The Zone does a good job of bringing that haphazard prat fall comedy to the Xbox 360 and Kinect, even if it doesn’t do a good job in other areas.
If you’ve seen the show, you have a pretty good idea of what you’re going to be experiencing in the game. The first obstacle course is there, big balls and all, followed by an elimination course, followed by the final round. You can control either your own avatar, a random avatar, or an in-game unlocked avatar from various angles (third-person, side-scrolling, etc) as you run through, jump over, duck under, and lean around the obstacles standing, spinning, undulating, and falcon punching between you and your victory. Controls consist of…well, running, jumping, ducking, and leaning in place. Be animated with your movement, because while Wipeout In The Zone does a great job in bringing the physical comedy of the show to the Kinect, the physical recognition is less than perfect.
Want to stop on a platform without running off the other end into a big vat of water? Sorry, maybe you’ll stop, maybe you won’t. Want to balance your way across a narrow rotating cylinder while large pylons come around to knock you off? Sorry, maybe you’ll balance, maybe you’ll go for a refreshing dip. Along with the somewhat glitchy nature of the game resulting in your avatar getting stuck on perfectly flat surfaces, necessitating an exit to the main menu, a small, oft repeated selection of quotes and dialogue for the show’s announcers, and more, you have a game that can become very frustrating very quickly.
If you look at it that way, yeah, not such a great game. If you just lighten up and enjoy the damn thing, though, you’ll find yourself having a lot of fun. Could the game have been better? Gods, yes. The controls could have been locked down much more and the depth of dialogue and quick quoting from the show’s announcers could have been expanded immensely. Is the game still fun, in spite of it? Gods, yes. The best way to play is with friends, because you get that audience for your ridiculous physical antics and digital pain that leads to a lot of laughter and fun.
|Good party game|
Lots of physical comedy