Aimed at the children's market we are taking at look at Microsoft's pet simulator Kinectimals, one of the most interesting launch titles for Kinect.

Kinectimals lets you become the owner of a virtual pet, in this case cats, really big cats in cub form. Firing up Kinectimals you will get to pick your initial pet (the others become unlocked later) name it, and even take a photo of yourself for its dwelling. It's all very pubescent from its flying rat narrator Mr. Bumble and his patronizing tone to the cuddly cute graphics. For some Kinectimals cutsey approach might be a little too much, but younger gamers will eat it up. Even the darkest hart would have to admit, Kinectimals is charming and given this is a game intended for children, Microsoft has gone in the right direction here.

Interacting with your virtual pet is easy as waving your hands in the air. Playing with the various toys, grooming tools, and other items in your toy box is all done by moving your body, mainly your arms. The system is intuitive and interesting how how you can rotate around your animal in certain interactions like the pet was actually in the middle of your room. Digging in your toy box is done in a similar way to pausing the Kinect unit, just on the other side. Here you can “swift” your hand in both directions to make selections, and if you don't particularly know how you want to interact with your personal fur-ball, each cat will bring items to your attention for you to play with.

Kinectimals goes beyond the tech-demo(ish) open field interaction the more you interact with your pet. As you play with your animal you will unlock new spots in the world of Lemuria that you can jump to at anytime. In these new areas are little challenges like placing your cat on a RC car and racing, running around an obstacle course (pictured below) or simply kicking soccer balls through virtual hoops. These mini-games offer rewards and are based on points with leaderboards. Again, it's not overly engaging, still its amusing for a few goes.

While Kinectimals is fairly straightforward, some annoyances come up, mainly with menu navigation and knowing exactly what you have to do to progress the game. A younger gamer could become frustrated, so it is wise for parents to be present when a youngster is playing. The interface is pretty spot on for the majority, but of course you can always hit a few snags. Voice commands are sparsely used and help if your pet can't recognize your gesture. For an example you can lie down on the floor to make your pet “play dead” or you can simple speak those words.

There is a story here. However, Mr. Bumble is so annoying you'll be wishing it would just go away. Nevertheless its built around the tale of a pirate “the kindest pirate who ever lived” who has hid items all over the island of Lemuria. As you play through the game you will find pieces of Captain Able Blackwoods treasure and a map that reviles the secrets of the island. The more you play the more you unlock and this goes for other cats as well (10+ cats in total.) Expect to unlock all the cats you could choose from in the begging stage of the game, and they can be switched up at any time. You can also purchase items from the shop to do up your cat pad or fancy up your experience with new toys and accessories.

Bottom line, Kinectimals is adorable. It might not be a game for the core audience or anyone above the age of 10. However, for everyone else, Kinectimals has the ability to suck you in with its cutesy aesthetics and adorable charm. I could do without Mr. Bumbles and the tacked on story, but that is forgivable once you get caught up in the magic of Kinect. If you have a Kinect unit in the house and a young-budding gamer, Kinectimals is worth checking out.

  • Engaging title for younger gamers
  • Kinectimals is adorable, lots of different activities to enjoy, safer then owning a real panther
  • Mr. Bumble
  • Not much here for the older crowd
  • Isn't suited to long plays – short burst only
  • Pirate story feel unecessary
Quote: "Bottom line, Kinectimals is adorable. It might not be a game for the core audience or anyone above the age of 10. However, for everyone else, Kinectimals has the ability to suck you in with its cutesy aesthetics and adorable charm."
Reviewed by DowntownJimmy | 11.29.10

Similar Games: Kinect Sports (6.2) | Kinect Adventures (7.0)


Kinect Sports


Frontier Developments


US Release
November '10



Player 1
Offline co-op
HD 1080p
D/L Content
Kinect Required