Body On With Project Natal's Controller-Free Kick Balls

I was fairly impressed with Project Natal's ability to strip away the physical controls for Burnout Paradise and still deliver and relatively similar racing experience. But the kick ball game, designed specifically for Microsoft's motion controller, wasn't quite as impressive.

Ricochet is a giant game of Breakout in 3D. You play the game by swatting, punching, kicking or headbutting kick balls into a giant wall of blocks.

As the kick ball smacks into the blocks, either destroying or cracking them, other balls start shooting back at you. The end result is that you end up trying to hit a bunch of balls as they bounce around the room.

To make smacking the balls a bit easier, your movements are projected into the game in the form of a transparent avatar that mimics your motions.

It seems to be the simplest use of Project Natal, perhaps beyond shoe viewing, that the Xbox 360 will offer. So I was a bit disappointed that the controls weren't as spot on as you'd expect.

While driving in Burnout Paradise, Project Natal seemed to offer lag-free controls that did what I expected, my swats and kicks seemed to miss the ball a lot more than it should. That may have been because it was a bit hard to get a handle on the perspective of the game while playing. My hand, as seen in transparent avatar form, was being projected onto the wall opposite me, so when the ball came flying my way my natural reaction was too swing too early or wait too long.

Perhaps this is something gamers will adjust to over time, or maybe it's not as noticeable when played on a television positioned closer to you.

It's far too early to tell, but the other possibility is that Project Natal is a control mechanic better suited for games like Burnout or perhaps the slower-paced, more emotive Milo.