Kinect Star Wars review

  • Four fully-realized minigames
  • The precise Kinect controls outside of Jedi Destiny
  • The love that went into the Galactic Dance Off mode
  • The Jedi action disappoints
  • Last gen visuals
  • Sore arms from podracing

As any self-respecting Jedi wannabe can tell you, a one-to-one motion-control lightsaber game has been the big dream ever since the Wii was first announced. Now, with Kinect Star Wars, the fantasy has become a reality – and while perfection is still in a galaxy far, far away, this game shouldn’t be relegated to the trash compactor. There’s much more here than just swinging a lightsaber and lifting things with your mind. Podracing, smashing cities as a Rancor, and even a galactic dance-off make this a surprisingly solid offering, especially for the younger padawans out there.

Kinect Star Wars is really four games in one. At the heart of the game Jedi Destiny, the action-heavy main campaign. It’s here we lived out our Jedi fantasies – once we got past the rough visuals and the occasional misread action from the Kinect. Even with the glitches, this is one of the best uses of the motion sensor in an action game, especially considering the set of moves available. Jumping, kicking and swinging the saber are reactive and generally accurate. We rarely had to repeat a kick or lightsaber slash to get the action to work (as can be the case with Kinect games), but the sensor often had issues determining if we were trying to perform a force push or a force grab, since both involve sticking our arms out toward the screen.

While most of the time we could cut through the lightsaber fodder by just waving our arms like a maniac, a few enemies (such as Trandoshan commandos, super battle droids, and dark Jedi) required a wider range of combat strategies. Side stepping, flipping over enemies’ heads, and performing ground slamming power attacks all come into play, and once we got a hang of the controls, slicing up droids and deflecting blaster bolts was enjoyable – but the moments of unreliable control were jarring.

Throughout the campaign we also took control of speeder bikes and starship turrets. These on-rails segments reminded us of the Star Wars Trilogy Arcade game. Kinect controls work astonishingly well in the turret sections, but that’s purely a technical achievement; not much from these sections really stand out or are fun.

Racing, Raving and Rampaging

Along with the main campaign, Kinect Star Wars includes three more fully featured minigames. Podracing boasts some of the most precise controls that can be found in a Kinect racer, but it comes at a cost: sore muscles. Holding an arm out to accelerate the right or left podracer engine is extremely fatiguing, especially considering some races can last over five minutes. Otherwise, steering works perfectly. The slightest movements are accurately detected and with a little bit of practice, taking sharp turns and sideswiping other pods is very satisfying.

Meanwhile, Galactic Dance Off proves that with Jedi powers, a developer can pull off … anything. Once we got past the use of the Star Wars license to rewrite contemporary pop songs for a Star Wars-themed dance game, we had some real fun with this lighthearted divergence. The developers went all out in their blasphemy, creating a functional dancing game with corny, Star Wars-themed lyrics set to pop hits. Busting out moves like the “mind trick,” “trash compactor” and “Han shot first” to song titles like “I’m Han Solo” (played to the tune of Jason Derulo’s “I’m Ridin’ Solo”). It’s a bold move, but if you’re going to incorporate dancing into a Star Wars game, this is how it should be done.

Finally, Rancor Rampage offers a Godzilla-inspired city smasher that’s thrill to play. Crushing buildings, slapping tie fighters out of the sky, and terrorizing the local populace while completing objectives like “eat two droids” or “throw a stormtrooper” is as fun as it sounds (and all the better thanks to the tight Kinect controls). What could have been a throwaway monster mode really got the attention it needed to make it one of the best parts of Kinect Star Wars.

Visually, the game is lacking, with muddy textures and graphics that hail from a long time ago. The Kinect controls are also unreliable at times (but also work brilliantly well most of the time). Overall, though, Kinect Star Wars fulfills most of the promise of a one-to-one lightsaber game, with enough variety (including that goofy dance mode) to make for a solid Star Wars experience.

More Info

Release date: Apr 03 2012 - Xbox 360 (US)
Available Platforms: Xbox 360
Genre: Action
Published by: Microsoft
Developed by: Terminal Reality
Franchise: Star Wars
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes, Mild Language


  • SickJessi - April 9, 2012 7:29 p.m.

    This game had so much potential, but because it wasn't coming out at the time of Kinect release (in fact, quite a bit of time later), I sold my Kinect (and made money too o_O weird). I now read this review, even though it's positive, it still just doesn't look like that good of a game. Maybe for a bargain bin game, but 40(?) bucks for a mediocre Kinect game that was basically supposed to be THE game that made the Kinect worthy - This isn't good enough...Even on its own, a small compilation of 'decent' mini-games doesn't add up to something worthwhile if it costs more than 10-15 bucks.
  • forestfire55 - April 8, 2012 2 p.m.

    God the internet is a shitty place to be
  • wedgie - April 5, 2012 11:59 a.m.

    Little sad. I was really looking forward to Gamesradar tearing this game apart for the last couple of days (considering what other reviews have been saying). Oh well, glad they liked it I guess.
  • santaclouse37 - April 5, 2012 11:29 p.m.

    This. I almost don't believe it. Lorenzo Veloria, please explain how this version differed from the version shown at e3 that was widely criticized for its awful controls. Ex: Do you still move forward by holding out one leg?
  • chrisantistas2inchpenis - April 5, 2012 11:05 a.m.

  • EwoksTasteLikeChicken - April 5, 2012 7:20 a.m.

    I kind of want to play this game, but the thought of dancing in front of Jabba the Hutt kind of disturbs me...
  • th3roflcopter - April 5, 2012 6:55 a.m.

    So wait, Battlefront 3 got canceled, yet they pushed this through development? There is no justice.
  • Octaviux - April 5, 2012 6:47 p.m.

    Lmao. How true
  • ALaPigeon - April 5, 2012 6:45 a.m.

    Ha! i find the different reactions to the dancing mini-game, gamesradar seem to like it, ign went into full blown nerd rage, i sadly kinda agree with the latter..
  • inkyspot - April 5, 2012 6:27 a.m.

    Han Solo doesn't dance, and if he does, not like that. Definately not a game for me.
  • Frexerik - April 5, 2012 6:16 a.m.

    Move back..
  • Redeater - April 5, 2012 5:01 a.m.

    Jesus Christ the first 30 seconds of this video look terrible beyond belief! I'm really hoping that someone is either really shitty at controlling this game or that it gets massively better later on. "The precise Kinect controls outside of Jedi Destiny The love that went into the Galactic Dance Off mode" I think these should have almost counted these as negatives! It's a sad state when your games padding is better then the actual game you have been showing everyone for the last year or two.
  • Redeater - April 5, 2012 5:03 a.m.

    Also, after watching the actual game play of a jedi fighting.......suddenly Force Unleashed 2 seems a lot less buggy and fluid!
  • marc-william-brown - April 5, 2012 3:32 a.m.

    alot of people not expecting much of this game it seems.
  • ConfidentSheep - April 5, 2012 1:27 a.m.

    Han Solo dancing to Jamiroquai may be the best thing I have ever seen. Ever.
  • FauxFurry - April 4, 2012 11:06 p.m.

    If its as good as Onechanbara:Bikini Samurai Squad, its good enough for me.
  • BladedFalcon - April 4, 2012 10:21 p.m.

    ...Watching that video of the dancing segment broke my brain. Seriously... A stiff-faced Han solo dancing in a method that obviously rips off dance central, of a lazily rewritten version of Jamiroquai's Canned Heat that now talks about wookies... I don't get it GR, the smurfs's game pulled the exact same shit, and everyone trashed the game around the world and back. Why does this one get a special treatment? just because it's star wars? It's still a shameless ripoff, it's corny, and really, kinda insulting to see icons of your childhood relegated to doing the "wookie hug" at the sound of facepalm-inducing re-written songs.
  • Cyberninja - April 5, 2012 6:25 a.m.

    That's the problem with nostalgia your not the target audience. the people this is for don't have them as childhood icons, like for me the childhood icons of the series are people from the prequel trilogy even though I saw the original trilogy uncut first. This is a game for people who weren't even around for either trilogy the first time in theaters. So I find a 7 for a children's game a good score if that's who they scored it for, if it was scored for adults like you it wouldn't even get a 2 because it would ruin the golden age of your childhood just like the prequels
  • kyle94 - April 4, 2012 10:16 p.m.

    I haven't been following this game at all. Haven't read anything about it other than the title, despite being a Star Wars fan. (Mostly because I don't have a Kinect, and I figured the game would be bad.) So, I'm rather...flabbergasted at the dancing and rancor minigames. I was not expecting that. At all.
  • TurtleAssasin33 - April 4, 2012 10:04 p.m.

    I expected this game to get trashed..regardless, no way it's a game with any lasting playability.

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