Boom Ball 2 review for Xbox One Kinect

Platform: Xbox One Kinect
Publisher: Company OY
Developer: Virtual Air Guitar
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-2
Online: No

Boom Ball 2 is another game to release in 2016 that relies solely on the Xbox One Kinect to be played. The game takes the basic concept seen in phone games and some PC games, hit a ball back and forth between yourself and bricks to destroy all of the bricks, and expands it into a 3D space where you actually use your body to hit the balls. Boom Ball requires that you use your left and right hands as paddles and bounce a ball back and forth between yourself and a backstop of bricks that changes across each of the 50 levels.

The ball can be powered up through breaking certain blocks. These power ups can be fireballs that home in on your target blocks, a heavy ball that smashes through the whole level, a giant ball, or the multi-ball power-up that breaks apart and gives you several balls to use at once. These power-ups come about semi regularly and are not difficult to obtain, but do not last very long. The fireball is by far the most useful and typically comes up as you approach the end of a level and allows you to finish in grand fashion.

Boom Ball 2 feels more like a proof of concept than a fully realized game, but is enjoyable regardless. I played through it once in solo mode and a second time in co-op mode with my wife. The game remains the same in both modes with the only difference being how many paddles (hands) are on the screen. While playing solo the tracking was actually pretty spot on, with very few deviations from where I wanted to hit versus where I actually hit. There were a few instances where the ball sailed through my clearly upraised hand, but those were few and far between. Upon starting co-op mode though this became much more frequent. The games ability to track one player was sound but tracking two seemed to tax it quite a lot. Several times I would raise my hand to hit a ball while my wife kept hers at her sides and my paddle would clip from where my hand was and where hers was. The movement from left to right also relies on your body movements, so I would reach left to get a ball and it would read my wife to my right and the camera would not move, thereby causing me to miss the ball. Laying the 50 levels in solo mode took about an hour and a half, with co-op mode taking nearly 3 due to failing levels from camera issues and clipping/tracking problems.

The difficulty of the levels fluctuated wildly as well. The levels are broken up among different worlds and each world has its own set number of levels. I found myself in the middle of a world on level 22 and breezing through with no issue, then level 23 comes about and is an inappropriate amount harder. After completing it however I move on to level 24 which again was a cakewalk. The final level is no harder than the first, but there are random fluctuations from level to level throughout the brunt of the game.

Boom Ball 2 was an enjoyable experience despite its technical flaws, with an upbeat soundtrack and vibrant color palate. I enjoyed getting up off the couch and playing a game with my wife late at night, but as for the actual quality of the product I was not astounded. At $9.99 you might get a few hours of enjoyment if you play multiple times and try to beat your own high scores, but if you are looking for something to play through once and move on from I would recommend waiting until it hits a summer sale and drops down below $5.

Grade: C+