China's first foray into creating a mainstream video game system is a solid try in the right direction, except the system isn't a game system, it's an Online Multimedia Motion-sensing Device. The eedoo CT-510 already exceeded my expectations when I first saw it, it did exactly what it set out to do, entertain while providing a work out. Now that I've had some time with the device we'll take a deeper look into China's first non-gaming game console.
From an aesthetic point of view, the eedoo CT510 is a very simple machine. Dressed in white aluminum housing, the device almost looks exactly like a DVD player, so much so that just looking at the main system and the accompanying remote control makes it scream DVD player.
The back of the CT510 has various ports expected to come with a gaming system. You've got two USB 2.0 ports on the front and two on the back, a LAN port, the power port, a 3.5mm microphone jack, analog audio jacks, a 3D Sensor port for the 3D camera, and both VGA and HDMI support. Oddly enough the system does not come with a jack for composite video (my review unit came only with HDMI).
Looking at the 3D Sensor unit, the thoughts "Kinect rip-off" immediately comes to mind. The CT510 camera unit is a touch smaller than the Kinect and it doesn't sport its own microphone.
The jet black camera unit clashes with the all white system, so much so that it looks very odd to put them together. Luckily the system and the camera were meant to be apart.
Unfortunately eedoo has been keeping mum about the specs of the system, what we do know is that the CT510 has a built in dual-core CPU, a 250GB HDD and a 3D GPU. Playing the games on the system however tell another story.
Unlike traditional home consoles, the CT510 only came with a regular remote control. The reason why it comes only with a remote and not a game console is because of two reasons. The first reason is because video game consoles are banned in China and having a controller will make it feel like a game console. The second is because motion sensing gets very tiring after a while.
When using the CT510, you can switch between both remote style and motion sensing; however you can not do both. To use to the motion sensing, the camera must pick up your movement, which sounds easier than it actually is. Before the camera can start tracking and interpreting motions as commands the player must first hold their right hand to the side and wave in a slow but exaggerated fashion. Once the player is "tracked" a little hand shows up on the screen acting as the pointer. After the initial process of tracking the rest is simple.
The bladed fan UI of the CT510 screams Xbox but it's simple. Moving left or right and stopping on a blade will change the screen to the next. There are a total of 6 screens available: game, apps, settings, store, photos and videos. Using either the remote or your hand, you can quickly access each page. In a similar fashion to connect, holding your hand still on an option will create a circle timer to show up, once the timer is filled the option will be selected.
All in all the system UI is very plain and simple.
Despite the fact that it isn't marketed as a video game console or marketed towards core gamers or gamers in general, the CT510 comes with 8 pre-installed games. The games are all very simple mini games designed to make the player move, and by move I really mean move.
The first game is a game called the Fun Park Adventure. Don't let its name fool you, it has nothing to do with fun parks, and it isn't very fun. As the only game in that comes in English, Fun Park Adventure was terrible. It was basically an on rails third person beat-em up. The player takes controls of one of 3 choose able characters all called "Dragons". The goal of the game is essentially beating up monsters and reaching the end to stop a demon infestation. Unfortunately the game is tedious and boring, and very graphically unpleasing.
A crowd favorite and a definite head turner is the the kung fu game aptly named Kung Fu. Kung Fu a 2D side-scrolling fighter super imposes the players image onto the game world. Despite the cheesy music and the PSP style graphics this was one of my favorite games on the CT510. The game is an extreme work out, the camera picks up nearly all the bodies movements and translating them into moves and attacks on screen. I was even able to use my butt to attack an enemy (of course this may just be a fluke as it only worked once).
* Update * user Pullus Pardus has bought to my attention that the Kung Fu game is actually Kung Fu Live . No wonder this game works. Good catch good sir, good catch.
Maya Fit, eedoo's answer to Wii Fit took up the most physical space and the longest time to set up. I was pretty much pooped by the time I actually launched the game. The game takes into account the players body measurements and creates a work out to help the player lose weight. With the addition of a Yoga mode that actually reads moves such as upward facing cat and downward facing dog, this is one of the better and more developed apps on the whole system. Unfortunately launching the game requires going through at least 7 pages of menus, by the time I was done filling out my information my right arm was sore.
Flyer's Story was just a waste of time. Nuff said.
Another favorite of mine was Hole in the Wall this game was great fun and a great work out. Exactly as its name implies, the player must shape their body into different poses that fit into an oncoming wall. I was very surprised at how well the CT510 worked and how accurately it was able to capture my movements. In fact there some holes where I got the pose, but because I am fat, I couldn't get through the wall. This game was also a total blast with other people, it supports up to two players.
Unfortunately, it seems that for every fun game the CT510 has, there is a crap gaming waiting in the corner, case in point, Bumper Cars. Right next to Hole in the Wall on the main menu Bumper Cars is a very slow game with uninspired graphics and characters. The player holds their hands out like they are driving an imaginary car. Pushing your hands forward causes the car to accelerate and that is pretty much the only other thing that you can do. This game was another terrible creation that nearly made me stab myself in the eye balls.
The flagship title of the CT510, Green Exercise, is buried on the bottom half of the games menu. I personally believe the reason is because it looks too much like a Kinect game, so much so that the character color schemes are reminiscent of Kinect. Pretty much just like Wii Sports and Kinect Sports , Green Exercise is comprised of different smaller games. The game modes found in Green Exercise are boxing, soccer, rollerskating, parachuting and a brick break style ball game. The boxing game and the soccer games are both very fun and active but the other three are just okay. The rollerskating game and parachuting are very bland, kind of like cycling in "Wii Sports: Resort, but the brick break ball game was just plain old broken. The CT510 wasn't able to pick up which direction I was sending the ball, thus making the game a complete waste of time.
Finally the last game on the CT510 is the Dancing game Dance. This game is by far the biggest work out of the bunch. I believe If I purchased a CT510 and played the dancing game for a month, I would have abs like the female avatars in the game. One odd thing about the game is the fact that the on screen avatar isn't exactly mirroring your moves but instead meant to show you how to do the moves. Currently the game only has about 8 songs but according to eedoo more songs will be available for download.
According to eedoo, the biggest selling point of the CT510 are its apps. Currently only available through eedoo's on online store, the apps that the CT510 offers feel like glorified mobile apps. Of the notable apps there is a Sina Weibo mirco-blogging application, an online video application that links to China's Youpeng video service and a Disney education app. Unfortunately our review unit did not come with the finalized versions of many of the apps, I was unable to test out the video app and the Disney Online app. As of this posting the weibo app is only able to read and re-post, there is no original posting or commenting yet.
Exceeding all of my wildest expectations by just working, the CT510 is a very impressive first for a no name Chinese company trying to make a name for themselves. Unfortunately for eedoo its 3,799 RMB (600 USD) price tag really kills it.
Eedoo's Victor Wang argues that the CT510 isn't vying for gamers at all, and that its value for its money is that it offers many more services such as online video streaming, an app store that is blooming, and an exercise machine, but still I don't see how they can justify a $600 US price tag especially when the Kinect and 360 combo is readily available at the gray market .
As a gaming console the CT510 is terrible, but taking into account that it is China's first console of its type and that it "isn't" a game console and the fact that the motion sensing actually works, it is acceptable. Should you spend $600 on it? I don't think so. If there was a price drop, say about 2000RMB ($316 USD) then I might reconsider. For now the CT510 is just an uber-expensive set-top all in one box that does everything but doesn't do anything great.