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VINE VOICEon December 5, 2010
Let me introduce Sonic, master of the most grueling thigh workout on the Kinect. You probably thought you'd need to buy an exercise title featuring a screaming trainer to get a good workout. Well, it turns out this little racer will bring you to your knees as you use your whole body to twist, turn and jump your hoverboard through 16 tracks.

You can upgrade your board gear temporarily with energy pickups like a soda rocket or fully to extreme gear, which is available in both board and bike formats. The hoverboard reacts like a snowboard on steroids. Maneuvering requires your whole body:

* Cornering involves bending your body forward at the waist or backwards to steer;
* Jumping is self-explanatory but power jumping requires you to crouch down for a few seconds before leaping into the air;
* A kick dash is completed using a kick gesture using your back foot with a good follow-through;
* Braking requires squaring your shoulders toward the screen; and
* Your hands are kept busy to catch rings, grab horizontal bars, wipe away foggy screens and to cling to the bottom of trains (?!).

The game provides an extensive tutorial along with a host named Omochao, who also serves as the game commentator. I highly recommend casual gamers take the time to go through the tutorials. This isn't a bowling game you can simply step up and play.

I completed two racetracks and slumped into the couch. A trickle of sweat ran along my spine, my legs trembling. Brain synapse fired in all directions and soon I was hearing Robert Klein wailing on the harmonica and singing "I can't stop my leg."

The gameplay is not as extensive as the granddaddy of kart racers, Mario Kart DS. However, what Sonic Free Riders lacks in depth is more than made up with by the physical racing experience that comes from using the Kinect system. Even my 8-year old son stopped after competing in four consecutive races to catch his breath and get a drink of water.

So, what are the negatives?

* The controls are not perfect. Don't let early frustration turn you away. The game doesn't respond as smoothly as it would if we were gripping steering wheels. We found it helped to recalibrate the Kinect for this game and widen our playing area a couple feet to allow side-by-side racing.
* The menus are maddening. I'm tired of sweeping options left and right. Game designers need to hold back their Kinect zeal. Keep the menus basic, like a simple drop-down menu format, and save the wild moves for the game itself.
* The online features aren't that attractive. Fortunately for us, with four in our family, there's plenty of competition at home.

In summary, if you are willing to invest practice time, this is a fun, family game that also delivers a good full-body workout, too. With the initial library of Kinect games including dogs like Game Party: In Motion, "Sonic Free Riders" is a good value, especially for kids. Rating: Four stars.

Hey, look. My leg stopped.
33 comments| 65 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 9, 2010
Well, Sonic Free Riders starts off with this frustratingly long/annoying tutorial, and once you're past it, and hit a few rounds of "World Grand Prix" you BEGIN to get the movement down. The first day of playing, my body was all over the place, trying to lean left & right way too hard and by habit, turning my body forward instead off to the side (like a skateboarder). The character was drifting way off course and I was just getting angrier". Well, After a about the 3rd track in, the frustration began to dissipate, as I was able to nail a good deal of the controls, which felt rewarding. Sonic feels more like a non-Kinect launch title - as it has more depth then the other titles. Yes, it's definitely true that sometimes, the game can be super finicky with your movement, but not enough to ruin the game like I originally thought. Sega crammed a lot of moves in this game, so it's going to take practice, as this has a bit of a learning curve. I also like that it's the only debut game (I think) that has menu driven voice commands. Overall, thumbs up - but I would not recommended Sonic Free Riders to the casual gamer (lol - the irony).
33 comments| 51 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 2, 2011
I have seen this game recieve negative reviews overall, and I'm still trying to figure out why. Sonic Free Riders is my favorite game for the Kinect, and I am totally hooked on it. It's like riding a snowboard, and I think I actually get a better work out from the game than actaully snowboarding. You have to lean left and right as you steer your way around the course, and actually crouch down and then jump when you hit a ramp. And it's not just leg movements either. There are weapons which require different types of hand moves to be deployed, and even a special ability to let you punch through obstacles in your path. After playing this game for awhile, you are definitely going to be sore from the intense workout you just recived. And even better, it's a much more enjoyable workout rather than a treadmill or stationary bike, for instance.
1313 comments| 23 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 10, 2010
Name: Mike
Age: 21

Sonic Free Riders is the only Kinect game i find myself booting up when I don't have company over. When I'm entertaining guests it's always Kinect Sports or Dance Central; but if it's just myself, this has been my go-to game for single play. Once you get past the long (admittedly annoying) tutorial and begin to learn the ins and outs of the controls the game proves to be very fun. This is not a pickup and play casual game. It takes time and patience to learn the controls and exactly how to move your body. Because of this, Sonic Free Riders is one of my most played Kinect games. It has the hardcore-ish appeal that I need for a single player game, PLUS I get to use my Kinect and get a good workout.

I'd recommend this game for anyone looking for a reason to use their Kinect when they don't have guests over. It has its flaws here and there, but overall it's a solid game and i always have a good time with it.
0Comment| 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 31, 2010
This game is amazingly fun and the motion controls work well in the actual game. The scenery is beautiful and I REALLY enjoy all the different challenges: skill challenges, gathering ring challenges, air trick challenges, etc. The only downfall is the main menu is a PAIN to navigate. Not intiutive at all in terms of the motion controls. In addition, there is no way to skip past the VERY long intro ever time you pop the game into the machine. And, the cartoon interludes are too long between races, which again you can't really skip. Despite all of these issues, I really do love this game! It's like being inside a sonic game collecting coins and racing around corners and stuff. My only advice is DO NOT skip the tutorial. If you do, you might become frustrated, becuase game play isn't something you can really figure out without instructions. The tutorial is about 15 little mini tasks that last about 30 seconds to a minute. you definitely want to compelte them all before you race. I'm a snowboarder and I have to say, this is a fairly realistic simulation to snowboarding. I'm also lazy and this game has me off the couch :-) If you are on the fence, buy this game. The only other game to buy before this game would be Kinect Sports. But, if you have Adventures and you have Sports and you want a third game, get this one. Unless you like dancing a LOT, then get Dance Central instead. Personally, I prefer Sonic Freeriders to Dance Central, though because I feel that Dance central needs more songs that I like.
33 comments| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 20, 2010
I decided to give this game a shot in spite of it's horrible reviews. It was the very first game I played on my Kinect. My sister and I jumped in and had fun for the first couple of matches, until we began having problems with recognition. However those problems were quickly resolved once we set up our own individual Kinect ID's. I created a new box screen name for her to have her Kinect ID under, and I configured my Kinect ID. Now when we go to play, the sensor quickly realizes who it is looking at and registers our movements flawlessly.Registering movement problem solved.
There is a learning curve for this game so I wouldn't recommend it for the younger set unless they aren't easily distracted. But it really is a great game. Just be sure to configure your own Kinect ID and take the time to learn, because it isn't a casual game.
0Comment| 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 16, 2012
Kinect tracking for this is T E R R I B L E. You are supposed to lean left and right to turn. You know how far over you have to lean to get it to respond? Its awful. You are supposed to be jumping and spinning in the air and it not NOT read it at all. My fiance got frustrated with it as well just in the tutorial. This was definitely a waste of money.
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on December 4, 2010
This game is terrible at tracking the movements with kinect. If it had been the only game I had tried, I would have thought the kinect system itself was a failure. But many of the other games are great: especially Dance Central, and Kinect Adventures.

Besides being bad at tracking they take way too long explaining how to do the movements,and if you mess up, you have to hear the same LONG explanation over and over... they should just allow you to skip the explanation and try again.
22 comments| 26 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 5, 2011
worst kinect game I've ever played. it does not follow my movements. I am very sorry I payed money for this. I have attempted to replay levels several times and I am now getting rid of this game.
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on January 10, 2013
Overall game play is SO FUN. Don't let the 4 star rating disuade your purchase decision. The game rocks! At it's heart it is a race game with plenty of maps, a campaign mode, head-to-head, online play... The tutorial on how to surf was good, but it is very critical and won't let you advance to the next tutorial until you complete the one you are on (can be frustating if you understand the move, but cannot time it just perfectly to get the game to recognize that you have an understanding, just not the full execution). The only real complaint I have with the game it the menu interface. It looks cool, but is way too jacked up to be fun (very frustrating to cycle between menus). Super 4-star rating for overall game play and fun, menus were the only thing that kept me from offering the highest honors. It would be cool if Sega could make the change/update and roll it out as a downloadable update for the menus. Oh well, Surf's up!
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