Kinect Joy Ride review

  • Steering the invisible wheel is neat on its face
  • Boosting has nice feeling when it works
  • Can compete against friends to look like idiots
  • Steering doesn't even work correctly
  • Tracks all feel the same
  • Overall boring and not engaging

Perhaps the most important factor to consider when reviewing a game like this is, who is this game really for, and what will they get out of it? We’d bet that the audience for Kinect Joy Ride encompasses two groups: the most obvious is the casual-to-non gamer jumping on to the Kinect hype train, but the other group, we believe, is gamers who love games enough to find the idea of a new way to play a racing game enticing. There is something inherently virtual-reality like and even imagination-come-to-life about holding the air as if it were a steering wheel and driving a car on screen.

Right off the bat, Joy Ride poses a problem to both audiences: the steering is too sensitive, which is surprising considering just about everybody figured it would require huge arm movements. Instead, what it has is a tiny dead zone where twists of the wrists do nothing, and then suddenly you’re oversteering into a wall. In fact, during our entire time playing Joy Ride, we spent nearly every second oversteering. We bounced off of walls, crashed into other cars, and generally didn’t go where we wanted to go.

Then there’s the Boost maneuver: pull your arms back to charge it up, then shove your fists forward to activate it. The actual motion of shoving forward and then seeing the car rocket away is fun. Too bad it doesn’t work some of the time, or send you boosting off before you’re ready to stop charging. So the two basic elements of the game, steering and boosting (there’s no gas or brake), just aren’t reliable. It’s possible a super casual gamer will just laugh when they can’t control the car and constantly crash into walls, but how long will that last?

And here we come to the biggest problem of Joy Ride: there’s hardly any game here. There is a handful of tracks in race mode, supplemented by barely different tracks in other modes, along with worthless modes like Stunt and Smash, which become irrelevant exactly ten seconds after they begin. The main tracks take forever to unlock: it will take hours and hours just to get all the main tracks open, but even then, they all feel the same. The problem, of course, is that the limited controls mean that the track designs must be extremely basic – they have a few shortcuts here and there, but driving on one doesn’t really feel different from another one.

The overall feel of the game is just not engaging – there’s no sense of speed, there’s no sense of control, and there’s no sense of variety. Even when it works, it’s extremely boring. Back when it had originally been announced as a free game, it made sense, although honestly we wouldn’t play it even if it was free. To set the price at $49.99 is just utterly ridiculous. Don’t be tempted by the gimmick – it may amuse for five minutes, but then your arms get tired and frustration kicks in.

Nov 4, 2010

More Info

Release date: Nov 04 2010 - Xbox 360 (US)
Available Platforms: Xbox 360
Genre: Racing
Published by: Microsoft
ESRB Rating:
Everyone: Mild Cartoon Violence
PEGI Rating:
Rating Pending


  • TalkradarReference - November 7, 2010 4:17 p.m.

    To all those saying Kinect is going to be terrible because of it's launch games, then your an idiot. Name one console that has had a fantastic launch. Didn't think so.
  • top-d - November 5, 2010 3:59 p.m.

    My friend also thinks that buying Kinect is good and the games are going to be awesome, i still insist on him to desist in buying it because it's useless and doesn't make any sense waving arms at an optical machine. Kinect is slowly killing the videogames industry
  • 510BrotherPanda - November 5, 2010 2:24 p.m.

    Other than maybe Kinectimals, I can't see any replay from these Kinect launch titles; they've got so much less soul than even the original Wii Sports, it seems.
  • tomthespesh - November 5, 2010 12:34 p.m.

    I was so excited when I first heard about this as a free XBLA game. Now I'm sad as it's just a crap kinect game. But yeah so far Kinect just seems like a gimmick and is not worth £130, I'd rather get a second wii or replace my launch DS with a DSI.
  • Spybreak8 - November 5, 2010 7:09 a.m.

    But didn't you have fun doing stunts in the air though? You didn't talk about the stunts! haha <---owner of the wireless racing wheel
  • ShaneCedt - November 5, 2010 4:46 a.m.

    Controllers work just fine. There are video games and there are toys. Kinect is a toy (and a barely functioning one at that).
  • papergoon - November 5, 2010 4:42 a.m.

    can't beat modnation racers i guess. not fangirling here though.
  • NeoKef - November 5, 2010 4:42 a.m.

    Like Elite said: SHOULD HAVE BEEN FREE FOR XBLA!!!!!!
  • QWERTYCommander - November 5, 2010 2:53 a.m.

    Yeah... I'll just stick to Mario Kart and Modnation Racers.
  • Robx - November 5, 2010 2:45 a.m.

    You'll love * Steering the invisible wheel is neat on its face You'll hate * Steering doesn't even work correctly I lol'd.
  • EliteM0nk3y - November 5, 2010 2:23 a.m.

    "And here we come to the biggest problem of Joy Ride: there’s hardly any game here." That might be because it was supposed to be a FREE XBLA game. Should have stayed that way too.
  • OddWoN ER - November 5, 2010 2:18 a.m.

    my friend was like oo i want kinect.. i was like ooo ya lets go suck a wiener.... not one game is worth having unless your into having a bond with virtual nothingness(kinectimals) or embarrasinly shaking your booty.
  • Baron164 - November 5, 2010 2:15 a.m.

    So it definitely fits in with the crop of launch games. But this is generally what I expected. Similar to the Wii launch. I'm hoping they can release some good core games that make good use of Kinect. I'm generally interested in the tech but I don't play my Wii for a reason. So far I've only seen two games worth having, Dance Central and Kinect Adventures. Both of which would be for my girlfriend and not me.
  • ThatGamerDude - November 5, 2010 2:13 a.m.

    The game nobodies going to get. Its such a waste of time.
  • eyeKARUMBA - November 5, 2010 2:04 a.m.

    Not much to say, but totally agree with you two. I kept saying that all the games were gonna be gimicky and bad, and I have a feeling I was right.
  • Mexicutioner - November 5, 2010 2 a.m.

    I would be pissed if I waited at that Kinect launch event in NYC just to find out that the majority of the games released are nothing but a bunch of meh...
  • Jacko415 - November 5, 2010 1:55 a.m.

    Kinect is gonna be a failure... Games like this dont work w/o buttons...

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