If you love YouTube, you've probably seen the clips from the Japanese game show that tasks contestants with squeezing their bodies through shapes in a moving wall. That was fun, wasn't it? Then it arrived on American television in 2008 and I quickly lost interest. Three years later, I find myself posing in the IGN demo room as the unblinking eye of the Kinect sensor stares disapprovingly at my awkward attempts at contortion.
Hole in the Wall is a downloadable Kinect game that emulates the setup of the television show. A foam wall hurtles towards the screen and you have precious little time to match the oncoming cutout with your body. Hold the position for long enough in order to fill a gauge and you'll be awarded points based on speed.
I was ready to dismiss Hole in the Wall the moment I landed on the menu. It looks cheaply designed and the two modes of play are almost identical (play a few finite rounds, or play a few rounds until you lose). But as soon as I brought another IGN editor into the demo room to play alongside me, I started to see the appeal.
Hole in the Wall could have been a great party game. The premise is so simple I couldn't imagine anyone having trouble with it, and it carries the same physical energy and inherent comedy as classic games like Twister. There are a few laughs and awkward poses, but then the boredom sets in.
Hole in the Wall isn't designed for prolonged play. Sure, making shapes with your body is fun, but there's very little reward outside of the "you win" screen. When it comes to Kinect party games, Dance Central and Kinect Sports offer much more dynamic experiences. But there are only so many ways you can curl up into a ball before you nod your head and walk away.
Luckily the motion support and body recognition in Hole in the Wall works well... most of the time. An outline of your body shows up on the wall and you just need to line it up with the cutout to start the gauge. There were a few instances where I'd do my best to match the shape and Hole in the Wall just didn't recognize it. Besides those frustrating moments, Hole in the Wall works well in both single and multiplayer modes.
Variety is hard to come by in Hole in the Wall, except when you make it to the final round of a show. Here, the walls coming at you have special properties. Sometimes the stage is darkened and it's hard to see the cutouts. More interesting challenges include switching the left and right directions during play, forcing you to mirror all your actions. These rounds help mix up an otherwise mundane series of poses.
The only "progression" in Hole in the Wall, if you can call it that, is unlocking new "shows" to play through. A show is just a series of themed walls, like posing in a cowboy picture at the county fair. Completing each show unlocks the next in the list.Read more details on how I reviewed Hole in the Wall.
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