Leedmees was developed and published by Konami. It was released on September 7, 2011 and retails for 800 MSP. A copy of the game was provided for review purposes.
Leedmees is the third game in a string of Xbox Live Arcade releases to utilize the Kinect sensor and given the lack of quality Kinect titles warranting a full release, this looks to be a good move by Microsoft. Developed by Konami, Leedmees is a puzzle game in which you take on the role of a giant who must help tiny creatures called Leedmees on to safety by using your body to form a bridge and avoiding deadly obstacles such as spikes, ghosts and beach balls.
Here’s what we liked:
It’s fun – The concept of Leedmees borrows heavily from the PC classic Lemmings, mix in a little of the board game Twister and you’ve got your Saturday night sorted. The mechanics of the game are so simple anyone can give it a go. The Leedmees drop out of a blue orb and walk in one direction and can only be turned if blocked by a wall or your arm. The goal is to safely guide as many as possible to the red orb on the screen within the allotted time. You also have the option of guiding your Leedmees to collect a series of gold stars along the way for extra points. Sounds easy enough but soon the difficulty ramps up and you’ll be relieved just to get the minimum amount of Leedmees required to pass the level. Replay value is to be had as you try to get a perfect score in every level.
Presentation – Considering you are represented on screen as a giant stick-man, the game is beautifully presented. Pastel colors and tribal style artwork gives the game a mystical feel and the Leedmees themselves are darn cute as well. Even if you accidentally squash them, or deliberately (no judgement), they explode into pretty stars and confetti (awww). The music is also fairly non intrusive and keeps with the calming atmosphere and almost dreamlike quality of the game.
Co-op – This is where the party really starts. Joining the 50 single player levels there are also an additional 12 multiplayer levels to try your hand at. But you best make sure you know you’re partner well as often the red goal orb is attached to various body parts! You are also required to hold hands in some levels to complete electric circuits and communication is key when the game decides that you need to trade limbs with each other. So at times you may be controlling your partners arms but your own legs. It’s hilarious fun as long as you don’t take it too seriously.
Here’s what we didn’t like:
Sore Arms – The majority of the game requires you to stand with your arms held out to the side which may not sound as energetic as say Fruit Ninja Kinect, but it’s still pretty tough on the old biceps and triceps. This ultimately reduces how long you can play for in a single session so there’s no fear of completing this game in one day, unless you’re going for some kind of Iron Man achievement (there isn’t one we checked). On the upside we hear it really helps with those bingo wings. . .
No drop in/drop out play – There may be a dedicated co-op section but who hasn’t played pass the controller during a single player campaign mode. Leedmees doesn’t allow this. If player 1 starts then they need to keep playing or quit out to the main menu, as Kinect will track you all the way back to couch while you rest those aching arms even with player 2 now frantically trying to activate play.
Accuracy – Ah the perils of motion controlled games. Whether this is the fault of the game or the sensor, the accuracy of the controls is not the best here. For the easier levels the accuracy is fine but there are more than a few times later on in the single player levels where you have to move slowly over various obstacles. These small movements don’t appear to register well and on screen this results in a sudden jerk catapulting your Leedmee into oblivion instead of gently placing them down. It’s also really easy to squash your Leedmees with your leg, arm, foot etc. It’s funny at first but eventually grates causing controller chucking moments–that is if you had one. Co-op mode is even worse for accuracy. Here the game often confuses which player is which and during levels where you need to touch your partner to complete a bridge or complete a circuit it can fail to register correctly resulting in you losing the round.
Leedmees is an interesting little game and one of the most creative uses of Kinect so far. Potentially a great party game or even as a solo game, for it is one of the few Kinect games where you don’t feel like a dork playing it alone, it is let down by imprecise controls. However if you have a Kinect then it’s definitely worth downloading the trial to see if you can put up with the control issues.
Score: Try It