CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- There's been no shortage of games for Microsoft's Kinect sensor since its debut in 2010. Indeed, the primary criticism surrounding Kinect-centric games has had little to do with quantity and everything to do with quality -- by and large, Kinect games haven't been very good.
There have been exceptions, of course. Dance games are loads of fun to play. Exercise games work well, too. And sports games, such as "NBA 2K13," have begun incorporating Kinect support with terrific results. But games geared toward the hardcore crowd have been few and far between, and those that have been released have received a lukewarm critical reception.
Support for Kinect hasn't wavered, however, as the last few weeks have shown with several new titles arriving at retailers. And more importantly, the latest crop of Kinect games has been quite good. Here's a look at some of the latest offerings for Kinect:
"Harry Potter for Kinect"
Developer: Eurocom. Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive. Rating: E+10 for everyone 10-and-up. Score: 7.4/10
Stepping into the shoes of everyone's favorite boy wizard never felt more comfortable than it does here. "Harry Potter for Kinect" lets gamers re-enact some of the most memorable moments from Harry's seven-year adventure at Hogwarts using Kinect's motion controls and voice recognition.
From crafting potions and fending off a troll during Year 1 to dueling with Death Eaters in Year 7, "Harry Potter for Kinect" is like a walk down memory lane for Potter fans. Waving an imaginary wand to cast spells and leaning to and fro to capture the Golden Snitch during a Quidditch match was more fun than I expected. I didn't even feel silly calling out spell names, which the Kinect understood perfectly, triggering the proper charm.
The only real knock against "Harry Potter for Kinect" is its length - you can race through the bite-sized missions that comprise each year in a matter of minutes and the entire game can be beaten in only a couple of hours. You can compete against another player in a selection of mini-games, but I didn't find those nearly as enjoyable outside of the context provided by the game's story mode.
"Harry Potter for Kinect" is a great choice for fans of the source material and a fine showcase for the unique capabilities of Kinect.
"Just Dance 4"
Developer: Ubisoft. Publisher: Ubisoft. Rating: E+10 for everyone 10-and-up. Score: 8.2/10