At least, that’s what Double Fine should have called it. Instead, they chose Happy Action Theater. Which is just as well, because my creative genius demands large sums of money.
Speaking of large sums of money, did you hear Tim Schafer single-handedly raised more than $1 million American dollars in 24 hours? I can only contribute this to the purchase of Happy Action Theater I made. Karma!
The Kinect has been simultaneously exciting and disappointing for me. I don’t find myself popping in many Kinect games lately. It is physically taxing, and it means I have to clear my living room floor of toys and a random assortment of other objects. It’s actually a time sink for relatively little game play, and with my busy schedule I just find myself passing on it more often than not.
I try to encourage my son to play it, though, especially since it’s winter. He asks me to go outside, ride his bicycle, run around, but the truth is we haven’t gotten much snow, and it’s too damn cold.
Enter the Kinect.
My son is 5 years old, so his attention span for things is short. That, coupled with his autism can hyper-focus him, so it makes it difficult to get him to play a game, much less play a game for more than 5 minutes. Though, when he does find a game he actually likes to play, he can play it for hours.
So when my husband and I downloaded Happy Action Theater, we decided to try it out while our son was at school.
It turns out we loved it.
Obviously, the game was designed for children in mind. But it was definitely designed for adults, too. There is no real point to the game, other than to jump around and have fun.
There are several “mini-games”, if you will. In one, you get to feed some pigeons. They fly to you and will land on you. You can brush them off, or throw seeds at them. In another, you are underwater and must catch things dangling from a hook, lest you be pulled up to the surface. In still another, you are a monster terrorizing a city, bashing down buildings and punching airplanes, à la King Kong.
Some of the mini-games have a retro game feel. My favorite is one in which you are a butterfly and must shoot insects descending upon you, à la Space Invaders. The music is upbeat, catchy and whimsical. The graphics evoke a retro feel, but don’t let that fool you – the body tracking power of Happy Action Theater really stands out. There is no guesswork involved. If you want to punch a balloon, it knows exactly where your fist is in relation to aforementioned balloon. The physics are probably one of the most advanced I’ve seen in a Kinect game. Everything is fluid, which makes the pick-up-and-play experience fulfilling.
In superb Schaefer fashion, the achievements are entertaining as well. I don’t want to spoil anything, because honestly the moment it happened was so intensely amazing, you would hate me ruining it for you. I will only say you can act out a death scene of a popular 80’s action movie, and you will get an achievement for it.
If you have small children, or even if you are an adult and love to jump around, be prepared to clear your living room floor. The Kinect has a pretty ridiculous area of play, but Happy Action Theater will take up an enormous amount of room to stomp, kick, punch, and dance with up to 6 players. So you know what that means: Drunk Happy Action Theater Party!
At 800 MSP, it’s not likely to break the bank, and we’ve certainly seen a return on our investment. The money is more than worth the hours of action, laughter and magic it brings to our family.
“AND I SAID HEYYEYAAEYAAAEYAEYAA”