While several games in the 360 library have options that support the use of the Live camera, only one is designed specifically for it. The game, “Totemball,” developed by Freeverse software and Strange Flavor, is supposed to be Microsoft’s answer to the numerous “Eye Toy” games made by Sony over the past few years. Even better, it’s a free download on the system’s marketplace, making it easy for everyone with the peripheral to download and try out. However, despite the distinction of being the first game of its kind on the 360, “Totemball” is an absolute disaster that can’t even live up to the expectations that a free game entails.
For one, the game’s graphics are extremely dated and lack the polish and luster that even a decent X-Box Live Arcade game should have. As a matter of fact, the backgrounds and main character look like something you would have seen on the Playstation in 1996, a-la “Poy Poy”. Aside from a few cool water affects here and there, the game is as far from aesthetically pleasing as a game can get. However, being that the game’s control scheme involves the Live camera, the graphics aren’t a real focal point in the overall package and can be forgiven for being less than mediocre.
As far as the title’s audio is concerned, it may seem average at first, but it actually becomes slightly enthralling and entertaining as you advance in the game. Collecting “totems” or musical stones to carry through each level, the game’s audio becomes perhaps the strongest overall facet of the title and make finishing it not nearly as tedious as it would have been otherwise. Nevertheless, there is one huge problem that keep this game from being playable.
Using the motions of your arms to move your character around in the game gets old extremely quickly, as most players will have had their fill after about 15 minutes of not being able to go where they have to in order to move on in the game. The game’s camera is also shoddy, making it even more difficult to complete the game. Simply put, anyone that can manage to play this game for more than 20 minutes and still retain any shred of their patience and sanity should consider a career in the clergy. The game’s control is that bad.
In the end, despite being free, “Totemball” feels rushed and is an absolute abomination of a game. If you a Live camera, you might as well download it, but expect more frustration than pleasure from this one.
Patrick Hickey Jr.
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