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September 27, 2005
Eye Toy: Kinetic - Review
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Hit the yellow, miss the red.
I'll be the first to admit two things. Firstly, I spend too much time sitting on my ass in front of the TV and computer, be it watching a movie or playing games; secondly, exercise isn't something I generally regard as a necessity in my life. Now, however, I can merge the two things thanks to Sony's latest release, Eye Toy: Kinetic. This isn't exactly a game, yes it can be fun, but this is more of an exercise program - and a bloody good one at that too. Eye Toy: Kinetic allows players to improve not only general fitness but also reactions, posture, balance, breathing and all round body toning and conditioning. If you think this is only some form of mini-game made up by Sony think again. Nike Motion Works, the department that assists athletes with physical improvement had a large input into the design of this game and the workouts provided.

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Dodge the red balls.
Essentially Eye Toy: Kinetic is split up into two main sections. The first is where you will, or should, spend most of your time and is the Personal Trainer mode. This is essentially a 12 week fitness course which blends together several different fitness styles including Cardio which works your cardiovascular fitness, Combat which improves your speed reaction, physical strength and flexibility, Toning which improves your overall body condition and Mind and Body which improves balance, posture, and breathing.

When you commence this course you will be asked to enter your age, weight, and height as well as answering a couple of questions such as if you've sustained a major injury over the last year and if you're familiar with Eye Toy. After answering these questions and selecting either Matt or Anna as your trainer they suggest what level you should start on. While the game starts off easy with three workouts a week, with 2 set workouts towards the end of your 12 week course you'll have five workouts a week, with up to 5 set workouts per session. Now that's tough going and you'll certainly start realising you have muscles you never knew existed! As well as the set exercises you have the option of selecting another exercise which will concentrate on one aspect (Abs, Thighs, Arms, Yoga, Tai Chi or Meditation) to help you improve that area.

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Warm down stretches.
One of the best aspects of Eye Toy: Kinetic is that it keeps track of your results over the 12 weeks. Not only will you get a daily raking, but also a weekly ranking to see how well you are performing. Obviously there is no multi-player mode for this game, but it is possible for several people to store their own profiles and then compare their results against each other.

When you get tired of the 12 week program, or if you simply want to do a bit more of a workout you can enter the Routine Builder mode where you select the exercise programs to do, as well as selecting whether or not to do warm ups or cool down exercises. This mode won't count towards your 12 week program but is a great way to do a little extra exercise, or even show the program off to friends.

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One of the harder exercises!
When you purchase this game - either with or without the Eye Toy peripheral - you will get a new lens to plug onto the front of the camera. This gives it a wider field of view making you stretch that little bit further to complete the challenges, and also gives the camera a wider view of your room so you can fit your entire body in the image without having to stand 20m back from the camera.

I tell you what, there isn't much wrong with this title. Of course you're buying a workout program, not a game, so keep that in mind and we would have like to have seen an option for perhaps a short one month workout program, or longer 12 month one, but with the option to select your own training routine is a good enough alternative.

Graphics are probably the least impressive aspect of Eye Toy: Kinetic. Sure, the trainers on screen are animated very well, and the Eye Toy camera does its part. The frame rate is also silky smooth. Where this game (read: program) falls down ever so slightly is the lack of variety in the backgrounds - we would have love to have seen just a couple more to break up the similarity of the levels.

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Doing some warm up exercises.
One aspect of this title which really surprised us was the audio. We didn't expect much but each of the two trainers has a different set of phrases and encouraging remarks and also remains accurate to the action on screen. During each of the workouts you have a choice of two, usually dance styled, music tracks, or even to turn the music off if you want to turn on the radio, or work out to the voice of the trainer.

When it comes to the Eye Toy peripheral Eye Toy: Kinetic easily makes the best use of the camera to date. Sure, it's not a game but as a fitness tool this program is unrivaled. Even my gym junkie friends who had a shot at this program made them question the need to attend their gyms any more. It's that good. Overall Eye Toy Kinetic is sheer brilliance and an essential purchase for anyone looking to tone up or lose some of that flab before summer? Superb.

Review By: Dave Warner

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse (PAL version) or Amazon (NTSC Version).
GRAPHICSA little plain and more variety would be nice, but functional.
SOUNDThe speech really is impressive and the background music good.
GAMEPLAYIt's not really a game, but a workout and a bloody good one too.
VALUE$100 with camera ($59 without) for unlimited workouts is great value.
OVERALLEye Toy: Kinetic is an essential purchase if you're looking to get a little fitter. Easily the best use of the Eye Toy yet.

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