"Lego The Hobbit," "Kinect Sports Rivals" and More [GAMES ROUNDUP]

Eventually, every movie, book and even fast food franchise will become a Lego game. Until then, we’ve got the latest building block bonanza from developer Traveller’s Tales, Lego The Hobbit. Keeping with the family-friendly theme, Microsoft tries to capitalize on the momentum generated by Titanfall by releasing another exclusive — the motion-controlled Kinect Sports Rivals. If all good-natured sunshine isn’t your think and you’re in the mood for something on the more depraved end of the spectrum, there’s the Japanese RPG/sex sim Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars out there waiting to corrupt you.

Reviews by Phil Villarreal. Phil is an authorblogger and Twitterer. Publishers provided review copies.


Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars

(3DS, Vita, $40, Mature)

Sex fantasies don’t get more grandiose than this: You are a high school student who happens to be one of the few heroes with the skill set to fend of an invasion, and it’s up to you to not only fight off the bad guys, but sex up lovely ladies whose gene pools are as blessed as yours. The Persona-like JRPG has you juggle social concerns with dungeon crawls and the fine arts of seduction.

Each love interest has her particular set of tastes and proclivities you cater to with Mass Effect-like branching conversation choices and gifts you offer up. Once you are able to get busy and reproduce, you father star children with various strengths who help you out in battle. Hit-and-miss writing has the characters play it dead straight through the increasingly silly setup, and the relationship metagame is every bit as involving as the combat. Expect plenty of grinding — in more than one sense of the term — and you’ll be able to enjoy the adventure’s perverted charms.

Kinect Sports Rivals

(Xbox One, $60, Everyone)

Kinect Sports games for Xbox 360 were disappointing shadows of Wii Sports and only served to drive home the weaknesses of the original Kinect. The new game does the opposite, proving how far along the technology has come along in the new version of the voice and motion sensor. After having the camera scan your body to create a flatteringly muscular avatar in your likeness, you throw down in jet skiing, soccer, target shooting, tennis, bowling and other events. All of them impressively capture your awkward movements and translate them well into athletic endeavors.

Slugging through the campaign challenges becomes tiresome, but leaderboard climbing and online multiplayer livens things up. The hyperactively cheery graphics and peppy announcers make you want to put on sunglasses and turn down the sound, but the game manages to make you lose yourself in it. Just be sure you’ve got an open living room and your dog is safely cowering in the corner as you pivot, hop and hand-wave your way to virtual athletic glory.

lego hobbit

Lego The Hobbit

(PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, $60, Everyone 10+)

The Lego video game formula works so well that even if you don’t care about the subject material a game is tackling, you can jump in, break stuff and get some co-op multiplayer giggles. Lego The Hobbit, which tackles the first two movies in the trilogy, serves the source material faithfully as you hack and slash your way through the block-bursting version of Middle-earth. Gone are the days of the pantomime charms of the earlier Lego Star Wars games. Robust voice acting and clever animation fleshes out the story in a way far more charming than the grim, straight adaptations of Tolkien material.

If you’ve got kids, don’t expect this one to be an electronic babysitter for your them. There are layers of complexity here that can be intimidating, but also rewarding for those willing to collect stray items and get the most out of the unlockables. The crafting and weapons inventory systems can be tricky to navigate even for experienced gamers, and much more so for children. If you can wait a year, there will no doubt be a follow-up that tacks on the events of the third movie into the package.

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