Kinect is one of the best accessories you can get for your Xbox One, and it's not just about the voice controls!
The Kinect was initially bundled as standard with the Xbox One, but Microsoft split them up to lower the console's cost of entry. Kinect can transform your media experience with voice commands for changing television channels, navigating your console, and even asking Cortana for weather reports.
Kinect is also an excellent addition for light-hearted gaming, often ideal for younger audiences, families, and party scenarios. And hey, it's a great way to exercise! The threat of burning actual calories as you read this list of great games you're missing out on is minimal, however.
Update December 24th, 2016: Removed Xbox Fitness and Project Spark due to the closure of those services. Added Fruit Ninja Kinect 2!
Commander Cherry's Puzzled Journey
You're already looking at the screen with an incredulous, squinty eye, and I GET IT. Have you seen this game?! It's crazy! Use your body to create platforms and bridges, while you use the controller to move Commander Cherry. I defy you to not fall in love with the rosy-red fleshed, handsomely mustachioed berry! Ok, so it's not the yoga-tastic workout you may anticipate, but it's a cool idea for a platformer and it's presentation is wild.
D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die
D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die is an episodic game about a time-traveling detective who needs to solve his wife's murder in order to stop it from even occurring. It has distinctive cel-shaded art, which lends it a cool noir-style. The Kinect aspect isn't anything hardcore; voice commands and simple gestures are about as taxing as it gets. The Quick Time Event fight scenes make the Kinect a fun alternative to using a controller and if you don't want to control it using Kinect, you can turn it off.
Your shadow is the portal between two worlds. Strategically place your body in order to form connections between the worlds, but don't let looks deceive you. In this misty temple land are surprisingly difficult puzzles, to be solved by using your body in innovate ways. Expect to be stretched and splayed while still controlling your character through the temple. Elegent and incredibly unique, Fru will firmly become one of your favorite Kinect games ever.
If the Kinect is great for anything it's rhythm games. Beatsplosion will have you literally jumping around the room, hopping from side to side and kicking and punching. It also has decent music to bop along to, while you're trying to smash the 'quarks' and other sub-atomic particles in time to the beat. It has two difficulty settings, easy and expert, and a number of belts to collect. This is definitely an exercise-dance game, so be prepared to be on your feet. Great for parties to see who can get the highest score in the most ostentatious manner.
Fantasia: Music Evolved
Genuinely hailed as one of the best Kinect games ever made, there is more than meets the eye with Fantasia: Music Evolved. Developed by Harmonix, who bought us the Rock Band games, this game fuses dance in a way that will still make you tremble in nostalgic fantasy, regardless of your age. It's really easy to play and has modern and classic songs to dance to. If you ever wanted to get a feel for the frantic orchestral conducting we watched Mickey perform in Fantasia, this would be the perfect game for it. A colorful distraction for kids on a rainy afternoon. DLC is available to add extra tracks.
Kinect Sports Rivals
To be honest, I'm of the opinion that the Kinect Sports games are some of the best Kinect games there have ever been. Period. They've always utilized the floor space really well, and have interesting ways to make someone exercise without it being mind-numbingly boring. Bowling and jet-ski races may be fairly obvious fare in a third installment for the Kinect Sports series, but how will you get on with the target shooting, or rock-climbing that is featured in Kinect Sports Rivals? Capture your likeness into the game, and participate!
One for older audiences, this dark comedy game is a shooter on rails, and based on the comic books from Viktor Kalvachev. Intuitive gameplay designs made specifically for Kinect's motion detection offers an immersive dip into the Los Angeles mafia underworld. It doesn't get much easier than sitting on your couch and literally making a finger gun and shooting at the tv. That's it! You might think that an on rails shooter without any kind of controller wouldn't work, but the tailored-for-Kinect finger gun method works, and works well.
Draw A Stickman: Epic
You may already be familiar with the Stickman, having been a popular mobile game for some time now. In Draw A Stickman: Epic, you can use the Kinect to draw with a variety of brushes and colors to aid Stickman on his grand adventure. Another one-of-a-kind experience, Draw a Stickman is an RPG with the unlikeliest of heroes. Sketch and scribble your way through a unique storybook journey, as you save a Stickman Buddy of your own creation from the evil Zarp. Different pencils have different properties, and there are many combinations to try so get drawing to create the answers yourself and get saving your friend!
Dance Central Spotlight
Okay, so you may not personally be the target demographic for this kind of game. In my case, dancing is best left to people who don't have two left feet made of over-cooked spaghetti. But flawless motion detection captures your every movement, and Harmonix prove yet again that they're one of the masters of interactive music games. Boasting more routines per song, and an improved Fitness Mode, the expandable library will see you shimmying to Pharrell and jiving to The B-52's. You can also play with a friend and see who has the best moves.
Bonus: if an interest in dancing strikes the little ones in your life, or your bad Dad dancing in public is becoming a national embarrassment, it could be a great way to expand your repertoire. Won't someone please think of the children?!
Squid Hero for Kinect
A new Ice Age approaches, and the only hope for the planet is Squid Hero! Use both hands to move Squid around, and to control his tentacles as you flick icebergs out of the way, race down obstacle laden river rapids while moving your body, and even challenge your accuracy in timed rhythm stages. Save small animals stuck in dangerous situations, take on huge bosses and clear the screen for bonuses. With a gracious learning curve, some parts do get tricky but if you get stuck the game gives you the option to skip to the next stage. Would Squid Hero bail on the helpless animals? No. -judging you-
Rabbids Invasion: The Interactive TV Show
If you have kids and they watch Nickleodeon, then you'll probably already know that there is an animated tv show called Rabbids Invasion. Once they were cheeky and silly with an adorable amount of toilet humor, now you probably gaze upon them with the same dead-eyed stare that you may give Minion memes on Facebook. But the kids love it, and that's all that matters, right? In Rabbids Invasion: The Interactive TV show, has 20 interactive episodes, and over 400 full motion activities to get involved in. Whether you're throwing eggs or pulling faces or walking like a deranged animal there's something for all the little ones to take part in, in Rabbids Invasion.
Fruit Ninja Kinect 2
The hit fruit-slashing mobile game appeared on Kinect back on the Xbox 360, and Half Brick studios have returned to make use of the beefed up Kinect 2.0 on Xbox One.
Gameplay largely revolves around slashing bouncing fruit with your hands, complete with crazy physics, satisfying sound effects, and all sorts of addictive power-ups.
Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 features several fruit-murdering game modes, and is playable co-operatively or competitively for up to four players, making it one of the best party games for Kinect on the store.
Over to you!
What are your favorite Kinect for Xbox One titles? Let us know in the comments and we may include them in the next update!
Huge thanks to coip for his suggestions!