Leedmees is a full Kinect arcade title developed and published by Konami for Xbox Live Arcade. It is a puzzle game is the same sort of vein as Lemmings where you have to get a group of creatures from A to B without letting them die.
The game briefly sets the story in the intro but it is just there to set the scene a little and doesn’t really play a part in the game at all after that. It basically explains that you have turned into this 2D creature and that you must save the Leedmees.
The game itself is pretty simple with 2D walls and objects making up the level overlaid on top of some really nice looking backdrops. Each backdrop has a sort of watercolour feel sometimes with much more dark contrasting silhouettes on it like mechanical cogs or buildings. All the actual intractable objects and platforms stick out really well and the Leedmees are always easy to spot. This is all true for most people but anyone who is colour-blind will find it almost impossible to play some levels as the colour coded objects all look the same. Pressure plates and lit light bulbs were the main problems.
The game is played controller free and is the 3rd Kinect Arcade title to be released so far. The game has you using your body as a platform to help small creatures called Leedmees from their entry portal to the exit portal. Leedmees walk in the direction that they’re facing until they walk into a wall or a vertical limb. Arms, legs and your head can be used as platforms for you to carry the Leedmees on so that you can bring them to the exit. You can make platforms that go straight across your body as your head is not attached to your body so Leedmees can cross from one to the other. You can even fling the Leedmees up in the air if you do a quick enough movement on the limb that they are on. Sometimes Leedmees will be at your feet so to get them you need to lower an arm for them so that they can grab onto one of your hands and once the arm is level they will pull themselves up. If you bring your arm up too slowly or too quickly then the Leedmees will drop off. Collective stars can be found in each level and collecting them will bring up your rating for the level. Stars can be collected by getting a Leedmee touch it that isn’t already carrying one and bringing that Leedmee to the goal.
The levels also contain many traps and mechanisms to hinder your progress or make it more difficult for you. Initially you’ll come across spikes on the floors and walls which are easy to protect the Leedmees from. Blade traps come in multiple varieties but all are lethal if the Leedmees touch the tips. Leedmees will however walk happily into the side of the blades or walk on top of them without being killed. Ghosts roam slowly around the level and if they come in contact with your hard you will fall apart for a few seconds and your broken parts can kill Leedmees if they land on them. Ghosts can however by waved out of the way by waving your arms or legs at them when they get close. Ghosts also come in two colours: the blue passive ghosts and the aggressive and quicker red ghosts. Mechanisms include a series of light bulbs around a cage that you’re in. Touching all of the lit bulbs will stop the trap from working allowing your Leedmees to pass by unscathed. Balls are possibly the most annoying of the mechanics as they can squish your Leedmees if they fall on them and they also pile up and get in the way of portals. There are some pressure plates that can be depressed which trigger platforms and other objects to move by amounts equal to the amount the plate is depressed.
The multiplayer is also very fun and uses some of the mechanics from the single player and tweaking them as well as bringing in a few new ones. The light bulbs from the singleplayer are reintroduced and have you crossing over your bodies to create a loop so you both conduct the electricity to make the trap close down. There are also some levels where each player has half of a broken heart attached to his body and by bringing the two pieces together the heart forms an exit portal. The parts of portal will move around on the body leading to some interesting positions.
The audio is very relaxing and tends toward a more childlike feel, with noises that sound like what they are; picking up stars sounds like you would believe it should, Leedmees have a sort of squeaky voice like a child’s toy would. The sounds tend towards sounding welcoming and inoffensive even if the Leedmees squish or you lose the level.
Presentation and Audio
If you’re colour-blind then the game will be difficult at best but if you aren’t then enjoy the backdrops and sharp but simple designs. The audio makes the game feel quite warm and welcoming which by design it is.
The Kinect’s motion detection is on a 1:1 basis rather than mapping via captured frames; this leads to incredibly accurate and smooth movement in the game making performing actions in the puzzles that much more accessible. The mechanics are generally satisfying and fun to play with but a few mechanics might get on your nerves. Playing all levels to get S rank is in danger of making you incredibly stressed on some levels.
As the 3rd Kinect Arcade outing it is probably the most substantial of the 3 and is definitely worth a play if not a buy for all Kinect owners. It looks good, is the first puzzle game for Kinect, will last a fair amount of time and is really fun to play especially in multiplayer.
Don’t try getting all “S” ranks on your first try; it really isn’t worth the stress. Once I calmed down after my first few levels I came back to Leedmees and played just to have fun and pass levels and I was immediately happier with the results. Like most puzzle game I have more fun just playing rather than to be the best. Mechanics like the balls and the ghosts can really get annoying at times and dropping the odd Leedmee by accident raised by blood pressure a little but the game is too fun to let such little niggles get in the way of enjoyment. Playing multiplayer though was much more fun than I anticipated after we sorted the problem of colour-blindness.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game