Leedmees Xbox 360 Review

September 21, 2011 by  
Filed under Features, Reviews, Xbox 360

Publisher – Konami – Developer – Konami – Genre –  Puzzle – Players – 1-2 – Age Rating – 12+ – Other console/handheld formats – N/A

Many Kinect owners will tell you that there just haven’t been enough quality games for the body tracking camera, well opening up Kinect to Xbox Live Arcade developers is certainly going to help broaden the library. We’ve already had the likes of Fruit Ninja Kinect and Hole in the Wall, and now Konami have released Leedmees – a game which employs Kinect admirably.

If you’re familiar with little Lemming creatures that don’t seem to have a mind of their own and require some babysitting, then the seemingly suicidal Leedmees are going to remind you of DMA Design’s legendary series. The difference here is that your actual body is the sanctuary for the Leedmees: making use of your limbs (and even your head) to basically save the little guys from their own stupidity.

On-screen, you move around a giant bodily shaped silhouette, using your arms to form a bridge or even a slide, crouching down for Leedmees to grab on to your body and more. The Leedmees, little white but mostly characterless creatures, enter each level through a blue portal. Your job is to guide the little ones to the red portals, of which is the level exit, with your body being the only thing against stopping the Leedmees from experiencing an untimely demise.

The controls, then, how do they fair? They’re mostly reliable and I had few moments when the game failed to respond to my movements. That said, I did experience times when crouching down went undetected, but these situations were rare, and this is a game that, on the whole, makes interesting and unique use of the device.

There’s 50 single player levels spread across three worlds, most of which have the same objective – making sure as many Leedmees as possible are guided to safety. Each level has a certain amount of Leedmees that will enter over the course of it, and it’s up to you to be their parent and saviour, as if you lose so many of them, completion of a level becomes impossible. The game does allow for you to lose just over half of a level’s population, but as you are graded at the end of each one, it will have a hit on your ranking.

Another thing that the game encourages for better grades is picking up shiny stars in each level. There are five of these on each stage, and you may have to put some of your Leedmees in serious harm’s way in a bid to pick them up. An individual Leedmee can only carry a single star, meaning you’ll have to use other Leedmees to get the rest.

Levels may start off straightforward enough, although complexities are added which will likely result in you being told that you’re a failure more often, well at least until you learn what to expect from these new additions. There are switches to press, ghosts (if these touch you, you end up being cursed and are required to shake your body about to return to normal), moving portals, rolling balls, spikes and more to contend with throughout the game, and luckily the controls are responsive enough to cope with all of this.

Leedmees even has a local multiplayer mode for two players. Those who come into their multiplayer for competitive play won’t find it here, Leedmees has you working together to save as many of the eponymous creatures as possible. In no way does the cooperative feel like a half hearted attempt, with its own stages and other differences from the single player game. You’ll really have to work with your partner to complete all of these levels, and in no way does it feel like a mere bonus mode.

It is a shame that there isn’t a little more to Leedmees, as many will soon find the content drying up. Those who like perfecting their game will certainly come back in a bid to save all the Leedmees and to collect all the stars on the more fiendish of levels, hoping to have a tidy amount of S ranks on as many levels as possible by the time that they are finished, but it’s still a little disappointing for it to all end so soon. Still, 800 Microsoft Points is a reasonable enough price.

But Leedmees is still a very good show for what Kinect can do, and the game is a nice spin on the Lemmings formula. If you are dying to play something new for Kinect, then you could do a whole lot worse than Konami’s game, which has turned out to be a fun and responsive puzzler.

8/10

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