With a name like Hole in the Wall, it’s easy to get the wrong idea. It’s probably not a phrase you’d want to Google at work, for instance. As it turns out, this downloadable Kinect title is a mostly innocent and goofy full-body motion game based off of a Japanese game show. So, expect weirdness to abound.
The basic premise is that a wall is coming toward you, with a shaped hole in it that you must fit through. Most of these shapes are poses—some standing, some sitting, kneeling, or even laying down—and a timer is running, so you have to be quick and flexible. If you don’t fill the hole within the time period, your avatar is shoved into a pool of water.
Hole in the Wall is pretty weird, but not entirely original even for American audiences. Nintendo released the far more bizarre Muscle March on the Wii’s online store a while ago, which was basically the same concept. Also, iPhone/iPad users might recognize all this wackiness from Tic Toc Body Pop, where you move a mannequin around to match the hole in the wall.
The first concern with any Kinect game is how accurately it uses the camera. From that perspective, Hole in the Wall is good with a few quirks. The game actually uses your avatar as the on-screen character, which mimics your body movements amazingly well. You’ll have to move all over the playing area to position your avatar in line with the hole, then adjust your limbs, head, and height accordingly.
There are occasions when you’d swear you were in the right place, but the game still doesn’t register success. There are more times when you’re barely in the spot and the score meter starts to rise. At first, it’s easy to assume the game only notices when you’re simply standing in the right spot, as that’s generally when the score meter starts moving. In reality, the game fills the score meter faster based on how much of the hole you’ve filled and if your various limbs are in basically the right spot.
When it all works right—which is most of the time—it’s bizarrely entertaining. This is especially true in the multiplayer mode, which dangerously supports two teams of two. While the teams do take turns, striking poses with your teammate at the same time will likely end up creating some hilarious, yet possibly tragic new Youtube videos. After all, isn’t that where all motion gameplay mishaps end up?
Packaged around a game-show theme, the main portion of Hole in the Wall contains ten different multi- stage rounds. Each round has a theme (sports, winter, etc…), but the gameplay seldom varies in the slightest. The final stage of each round throws in a quirk—the first, for instance, turns off the stage lights, while others just speed up the pace of the wall entirely. There’s also a survival mode, where the object is to pass through as many holes as possible without fail. Unfortunately, this mode rampantly reuses the same poses over and over.
The Blast Factor: Much like the show it’s based on, Hole in the Wall is entirely hinged on a single gimmick. In short doses, the game is entertaining for a cheap thrill and certain to elicit laughter from bystanders. Whether this limited amount of value is worth 800 points is a personal decision, but for what it is, Hole in the Wall is an odd, amusing diversion from the norm.