Handicapping the Holidays

We narrow the field for the gamer on your gift list

Handicapping the Holidays

Dance Central 2

Xbox 360


Xbox 360
Twisted Pixel

The Xbox's motion-sensing "controller" impresses most everyone that uses it, but few games have managed to utilize its innovative, future-is-now technology. The original Dance Central was already an embarrassment (literally) of party-starting moves as you mimicked the dancer onscreen and the Kinect made sure you were gyrating appropriately. DC2 uses the same formula, adds a simultaneous two-player mode (oh, it's on), and includes songs ranging from Banarama's "Venus" to Digital Underground's "The Humpty Dance" as well as a battery of modern hits. It makes the dance games for the Wii look downright primitive, managing to even discern whether your ankle is turned at the right angle. Local developers Twisted Pixel have Gunstringer vying for your holiday dollars as well. The game follows the titular marionette on his bullet-riddled journey of revenge. The controls involve using one hand to sweep across enemies before pulling back to fire, with the other hand relegated to left-right movement and jumping. Add a second player and double your firepower to a 12-shooter. The boss battles don't punctuate the levels quite as well as they should, but, as with all Twisted Pixel games, there are enough visual and audio gags to ease you past any slight missteps. What these two do better than other Kinect titles is reveal the strength of the technology rather than its limitations, which makes using your body as a controller all the more liberating.

The winner: How could we not give it to the home team? Not to mention that Gunstringer can be enjoyed in groups or alone, whereas playing Dance Central alone, like drinking, tends to be more depressing than invigorating.

Other contenders: Kinect Sports: Season Two, Forza Motorsport 4

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More by James Renovitch
Austin Restaurants Deal With Another COVID Wave and the Austin Music Poll Needs Your Votes
Austin Restaurants Deal With Another COVID Wave and the Austin Music Poll Needs Your Votes
LISTEN: The Austin Chronicle Show on KOOP Community Radio

Jan. 14, 2022

The Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival Winners 2021
The Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival Winners 2021
The judges and fest attendees have tasted and spoken

Sept. 12, 2021

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle