Review: Hole in the Wall (XBLA)

Review: Hole in the Wall (XBLA)

Hole in the Wall, for those of you who can’t figure out how the game plays just by reading the incredibly vague and misleading title, is pretty easily summed up in four words: Hole in the Wall. Hm. I guess it wasn’t as vague and misleading as I thought. Based on the 2008-2009 TV series Hole in the Wall, which was itself based on the original Japanese (of course) TV series Nokabe (translated to Brain Wall and popularized on YouTube as Human Tetris), Hole in the Wall is a Kinect game that consists of you posing and fitting through…you guessed it…a hole. In the wall.

Look, this game isn’t going to win any points on plot, depth, or anything else like that. In terms of concept and mechanics, it’s one of the most simple games I have played in recent memory. You match the pose of the hole in the advancing wall. If you fit, you get the points. If you don’t, you get knocked into the pool of water directly behind your avatar. It’s not rocket science (though you do have to get somewhat…bendy…at times to fit in the hole). Fair warning: you may end up looking like an idiot at times.

There are two modes, a quick mode and a show mode. Quick mode is like the Golden Gun in GoldenEye 007. One hit and you’re down. You stand against an unending stream of walls with oddly shaped holes in them that will continue to advance until you fall, making it a score attack kind of mode. Show mode puts you through the paces of an episode of the show, with scored rounds and a finale. Up to four players can get in on the Hole in the Wall action (two at a time, with two teams), which makes it a fairly entertaining party game.

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The biggest problem I came across with Hole in the Wall is with how it works with Kinect. It recognizes your poses and shapes very well, but requires you to be farther away from the Kinect than most other Kinect games I’ve played in order to be properly recognized, or for you to be able to shrink yourself down enough to fit through certain holes. I found myself in trouble a few times because of the couch behind me not giving me enough space to make Hole in the Wall happy. I can understand why it requires the space, due to the size of the holes and how necessary it is for the Kinect to be able to see your entire body, head to toe, but it seems that perhaps *something* could have been done to help with this. To be fair, I am about 6’1″ and was standing approximately 6 feet away from the Kinect, which stands just under waist-height on me. If you’re shorter, maybe you won’t have a problem with it.

I don’t see myself playing this game for more than a few rounds at a time. I’ll play a show episode, or maybe a couple of quick modes, then set it aside and play something more engaging. That being said, I don’t think it’s designed to be anything other than a pick-up-and-play kind of game, and in that respect it is quite successful. It’s fun in short bursts, and only costs 800MSP, so there are definitely worse things you can buy.


Great Kinect body recognition
Great pick-up-and-play fun
Four player local co-op
Not a lot of depth
Need maximum Kinect space
85 out of 100
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