Wipeout 3 (Xbox 360 Kinect, Wii, 3DS)

The ABC Channel’s obstacle course game show Wipeout is still going strong, so here’s another video game based on the hit TV program. With the Xbox Kinect and a new way to view the action, you’ll feel like you’re part of the show more than ever before. Or will you? You’ll just have to read on to find out. Wipeout 3 is available for Xbox 360 Kinect, Nintendo Wii, and Nintendo 3DS (Kinect version reviewed here).

First, pick a crazy cartoony character from a wide select of adults and kids, each with their own catch phrases. The more you play, the more items, equipment, characters, and episodes will be available for you to buy in the Wipeout shop with points you earn from the competitions. Once you sign in and pick your character, you’ll be able to try one of three modes of play.

In Quickplay you’ll race on one of the many obstacle courses you’ve unlocked. There are also 12 summer and winter Episodes that play like the TV show (with all new settings like a Christmas field). You’ll have to complete three obstacle courses in a row. The announcers from the TV show are also on hand to deliver their silly banter and commentary. Finally, in Multiplayer mode, two people can compete with a split screen. Other players can use controllers to throw objects to distract the racers, too.

The main new thing about this sequel is the viewpoint. In the past games, you viewed the action from the side. But here you see things from a third person, over the shoulder view. Kinect controls are still the same, though. March in place to run, lean forward or back to ‘steer’ when you are in the air, jump to leap over obstacles, and hold your arms out to lean and balance.

Unfortunately, the Kinect controls are horrible. When I played, my character kept going into a crouching motion instead of running, jumps were severely delayed, and leaning forward and backward didn’t seem to work at all. Luckily if you fail an obstacle three times, you’ll move on to the next checkpoint. So if you don’t mind losing a lot, I guess this game would be OK for fans of the TV show.

Kid Factor:

Wipeout 3 is rated E-10 with ESRB descriptors of Comic Mischief and Mild Fantasy Violence. Cartoony kid and adult characters can get walloped and knocked into water, but if you’re OK with your kids watching the TV show, they’ll be OK with the game, too. Most everyone will probably get frustrated with the unresponsive Kinect controls, but if kids don’t mind losing a lot, they can still find fun in the game.

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