I tell you this because PowerUp Heroes immediately took me right back to those times, allowing me to live out my fantasies of being a superhero in a more tangible and, thanksfully, more private way.
There isn't much of a story to PowerUp Heroes: Evil alien dude comes to Earth and wants to do evil stuff, but good alien dude crashes and gives his power suit to the nearest human being. Thankfully, that rote plot device isn't too important -- the narration quickly gives way to the far more satisfying gameplay.
There's such a smaller disconnect between power and control using the Kinect -- it feels so satisfying to throw fireballs with a gesture, or to punch wildly at your TV while your Avatar lets loose on your foe. Kinect pulls you into the experience more than a controller ever could, and because PowerUp Heroes isn't a technical fighter akin to your Street Fighters and your Mortal Kombats, the input lag of Kinect doesn't impede the fun one bit.
Leaning left or right will dodge to that respective side, essential knowledge for the players looking to not get punched in the face. But even if your opponent tries to punch you in the face, you've got a defense: Quick melee encounters spring up a kind of pseudo-QTE, where you quickly match gestures on-screen to block blows. It's all very easy to grasp and works surprisingly well.
Unfortunately, that's the big problem with PowerUp Heroes: The gesture-based battles work so well, but with only a campaign mode that clocked in at a little over two hours, there wasn't enough depth to hold my interest for long. The addition of local and online versus, as well as a tournament mode promised to extend my stay, but they, too, lost their luster quickly.
PowerUp Heroes is a good, promising first attempt from Ubisoft, but after collecting all 20 of the game's suits and finishing the meager campaign, there wasn't much else to do. It's one of the most frustrating kinds of games that a company can possibly release: The disappointing thing about PowerUp Heroes is how much I like playing it, and how very little there is to play.
This review is based on a retail copy of PowerUp: Heroes, provided by Ubisoft.
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