Kick’n It

Back in 1982, a woman running Atari’s North American marketing department gloated to a co-worker that she had just secured the rights to make a video game based on Rubik’s Cube.  She asked the co-worker, who ran Atari’s international marketing department, whether or not his division would be interested in handling the game as well.  “Absolutely not!” he said.  She was shocked and demanded an explanation.  “Well, you’ll have to explain to me why a $40 electronic rendition of a product is better than the $4 version that is portable and I can take anywhere I want.”

The game later became Atari Video Cube, which sold bad enough to become a hot collector’s item.  The guy who rejected the game was Steven Race, who went on to become CEO of various toy and video game companies, and the man most directly responsible for bringing the original Playstation to North America.  I never heard what happened to the girl so I’m going to just assume she suffocated to death on her own mouth.

I was reminded of that story while playing Kick’n It, which I came to know as “Video Hacky Sack” over the last couple hours.  It’s a game where you use your avatar to repeatedly kick a footbag.  No, really!  Using the A, B, and Y buttons you try to keep a footbag in the air.  You can also use the right trigger to catch and hold the bag with your foot and perform tricks.  That’s pretty much it.

Kick’n It has a lot of modes of play.  You start with a tutorial that takes roughly 20 to 30 minutes to finish.  Following that is a variety of free-style modes and “tournaments” where the gravity gets stronger.  There’s also a selection of two-player modes, including volleyball and a game where the sack is replaced by a bomb.  Personally, I find adding bombs to any equation makes something more interesting.  Candy Land with bombs?  Awesome.  Figure skating with bombs?  Radical.  Bowling with a bomb for a ball and pins made up of bombs?  Sign me up for league.  I’m slightly impressed that Kick’n It boldly goes where no endeavor in the history of humanity has gone before: adding bombs to something and getting more boring as a result.

The game sometimes works.  On the slower freestyle mode you can pull off various tricks and try to work your way onto a local-only high score board that nobody but yourself will ever occupy.  As for all other modes, there’s two major problems going here.  First, transitioning from one type of kick to another can be slow and clunky.  Second is your avatar scuttles back and forth like it just shit it’s pants and is trying to play it cool.  It doesn’t move quickly enough and neither does your ability to kick, so on the faster game modes doing the higher-scoring tricks is practically impossible.  And forget about those multiplayer modes because they all demand quick reflexes, and your avatar moves around as if it just huffed a nice lung full of paint fumes.

Overall, I just don’t see the point in Kick’n It.  This isn’t a game about living out your fantasies as an NFL player or being a space marine.  You can buy an actual Hacky Sack for $3.  I never had before, but I figured “why not?”  I mean it would kind of be silly of me to criticize something that I had never tried before.  So I went and bought one and kicked it around for a bit.  And you know what?  It wasn’t that bad.  After about ten minutes of practice I could do several volleys in a row and even catch the bag on my foot.  It felt like I had actually accomplished something.  Sure, I also developed a sudden craving to wear a backpack, start smoking pot, and collect a welfare check, but it still beat playing an utterly worthless video game version of the same damn thing.

Kick’n It was developed by K-Dog Games

240 Microsoft Points felt this game was about 160 points overpriced in the making of this review.

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook for a chance to win 1600 Microsoft Points.  Click here for details.

The Atari Video Cube story I read in Steven L. Kent’s Ultimate History of Video Games.  Check it out! 

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About Indie Gamer Chick
The most read Xbox Live Indie Game critic in the world.

3 Responses to Kick’n It

  1. Nate Graves says:

    Awww…I kinda liked Kick’n It. Once I manage to shake off the PAX back-log, I’ll still probably give it a more in-depth look.

    The last line cracked me up though.

  2. Jim Perry says:

    Is it me or are the physics just a bit off? I can’t believe the developer had the balls to charge 240 points for crap like this! :\ What’s even worse is that there are probably some gamers out there stupid enough to buy it.

  3. Pingback: Drinkards Beer Pong « Indie Gamer Chick

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