Top Hand Rodeo Tour (Xbox 360 Kinect)

Now you can have a rodeo in your living room, and not have to worry about cleaning up any horse poop. Top Hand Rodeo Tour is an Xbox 360 Kinect game where you use your whole body to ride horses, stay on top of bucking bulls, and rope calves.

First, pick your horse and cowboy or cowgirl. Then compete in one of five events separately or all in a row. Up to four can compete at the same time, taking turns in each event. The five activities include Hunter Shooting, Tie Down Roping, Barrel Racing, Bull Riding, and Team Roping.

In Hunter Shooting, you’ll be on horseback and must hit targets with a shotgun. Steer the horse by leaning left and right, and speed up by waving your arm up and down. When you get to the balloon targets, hold your right arm out like you are holding a pistol, aim the cursor at the targets, and shoot by cocking your arm back. Try to hit as many as you can, and then guide your horse back to the pen.

In Tie Down Roping, ride your horse as usual and wave your arm in a circle like you are using a lasso. Than make a throwing motion to rope the calf when it’s in range. Then jump off your horse and jog in place to run over to the calf. You’ll then need to flip the calf on its side and tie up its legs by following the motions on screen. Do all this as quickly as you can for the best time.

In Barrel Racing, you’ll need to steer your running horse around barrels and make it back to the pen as fast as possible. When the meter is full, you can make a kicking motion with your leg to spur the horse for a burst of speed. In Bull Riding, keep your hand in the air and lean left and right to stay on the bucking bull. And finally, Team Roping is similar to Tie Down roping except you control two riders, one at a time, to rope a young steer. There are also three unlockable single player mini-games: a shooting gallery, fence jumping, and speed roping.

The game does a great job in the tutorials teaching you all the moves. Unfortunately, it also gives you a false sense of security as controls in the rest of the events aren’t nearly as good. In the main game, while most actions are pretty easy to pull off, steering your horse is nearly impossible. And that’s the most important thing you need to do in the game! So like most other Kinect games I’ve played, controls are just plain bad. I think this game is a Wal-Mart exclusive, so if you really want to get it, that’s the only place where you’ll find it.

Kid Factor:

Top Hand Rodeo Tour is rated E-10 for Mild Violence. I’d be OK with any kid playing this, unless you are uncomfortable with them shooting guns or roughhousing animals in the game. Reading skill is helpful for the instructions, but most kids will probably get frustrated with the awful controls. What I would do, if you get a chance, is to take your kids to a REAL rodeo instead. They’d probably enjoy it more.

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