Xbox

Hole in the Wall Review

Hole in the Wall LogoBased on a popular TV game show, Hole in the Wall requires players to line up their on-screen silhouette with various shapes cut out of an approaching wall. This downloadable Kinect for Xbox 360 title is often frustrating because of sketchy controls, input lag and obtuse use of angles and 3D space. 

There are ten "shows" that make up Hole in the Wall, each with four rounds of eight holes. If you take too long and fail a hole you are given a strike. If you get three strikes in any given round you take a dip in the pool and the show ends, requiring you to restart the show from round one. Read More...

You need to complete all four rounds a show in order to unlock the next one. There is no option to continue from the round you failed and the game doesn't seem to mix up the order of the holes, so replaying a show can become quite tedious if you fail a couple times, especially during the last round.

This round is played with the studio lights off and you only see a brief flash of light on the hole, which can make it very difficult to line up your silhouette and often leads to frustration.

Hole in the Wall has one simple gameplay mechanic of lining up your silhouette with the approaching hole while standing in the play area and holding the pose for a few seconds until a gauge fills up. You are scored based on how quickly you can complete the pose and your silhouette will turn yellow and green as you get into the correct position.

There is an oddity in the gameplay mechanic that seems almost broken. When the hole first appears it is often too small to fit your silhouette in. I'm only 5'6", I can only imagine it's worse with taller people. As the hole approaches and gets larger, it becomes difficult to fill enough of the hole to score while standing in the play area. It's as though there is a very brief window to hit the "sweet spot" and succeed.

Each Show has a Theme like Summer or WinterEach Show has a Theme like Summer or Winter

Another frustrating detail of the gameplay relates to 3D space. As you proceed, so holes will require you to lean in and out of the play area, twist your torso or fold your arms to fit. This in itself is not so much an issue as the fact that the game doesn't provide you with any indication of how deep body parts need to be on the approaching flat plane, meaning players often have to resort to trial and error.

The fact that it requires players to conform to a 3D shape (think gliding on figure skates) at all goes against the very nature of the real world game in which players must fit through an essentially flat cutout at a specific moment.

In addition to these problems, there is a noticeable input lag in the controls and some sketchy silhouette behaviour, particularly when kneeling or squatting and an odd flickering that occurs as the wall becomes close. Having a second player join is also a chore.

Hole in the Wall has very strict space limitations, requiring you to be eight to ten feet from your Kinect sensor and able to move across a horizontal plane of about eight feet. It requires full body movement including kneeling, the ability to lift your legs, twist your torso or arch your back into some really awkward positions, as well as a keen sense of balance.

Because you often have to twist your neck to see the screen while holding a pose, there is a significant risk of straining and cramping and the potential for serious injury, particularly when taking part in multiplayer modes.

Multiplayer Adds as much Frustration as FunMultiplayer Adds as much Frustration as Fun

I'd advise players to stretch thoroughly, pay attention to your body and to not overwork yourself for the sake of a high score.

The Show mode of Hole in the Wall can be played with one, two or four players, either cooperatively or competitively. When playing alone, the game is in solo mode and you are simply competing against the wall. When playing against another team, the best score at the end of the show wins. You can also play an endless Quick Survival mode to see how long you can last before getting three strikes.

Hole in the Wall has a very basic, spartan presentation including a sluggish, muddy looking main menu. For the most part, players only see an off-white wall with a hole cut out of it and the conveyor belt that moves it towards you, as well as a HUD that displays your score and the gauge that fills as you hold a pose.

There are also a few scenes with your Xbox LIVE Avatar in the dark studio environment the TV game show takes place in. The only real positive thing about the presentation is that you can save photos taken while you play Show mode.

The sound is forgettable at best. Generic "intense" game show music plays in the background and there is an announcer that provides simple comments on your performance.

If you get more than a couple hours of enjoyment out of Hole in the Wall, you've done better than me. After a few hours I was ready to delete the game from my hard drive. I spent far more time being frustrated with the gameplay mechanics and design choices than I did actually having fun and would have difficulty recommending this game to anyone, even a fan of the TV show.

Positives:

+ Players can Save Pictures

Negatives:

- Sketchy Controls, Input Lag
- Oddly Small Holes are Hard to Fit Your Body Into
- Use of 3D Space is Awkward
- "Pose and Hold" Gameplay is Vastly Different than the Real World Game

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Game Forward Score: 1/5

Brian J. Papineau > Game Forward

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Hole in the Wall (Xbox LIVE Arcade / Kinect for Xbox 360) Quick Facts:
Genre: Puzzle / Game Show
Developer: Ludia
Publisher: Xbox LIVE Arcade
Release Date: August 24, 2011
Price: 800 Microsoft Points ($10)
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)