Having been a gamer for many years now, I have seen countless titles arrive on various consoles, taking in everything from incredible masterpieces to games that resemble nothing more than development hell. Given that every genre has at least one title to fondly reminisce about, I thought I’d seen everything.
That was of course until Perfect Woman hit my Xbox. This is a game that invoked my first thoughts of ‘What the hell is this’ and my last ‘What the hell was that’. Yes, Perfect Woman is that strange. But for those of you who are unaware of this game, let me fill you in on the details.
Perfect Woman is a game that takes inspiration from the typical personality questionnaires featured in women’s magazines and the female roles they define, before moulding them into different choices for the player to make over the course of a lifetime. That in turn helps create the perfect life and ultimately gives the chance to become the perfect woman.
Now before we get too far into things, I should point out I am indeed a male, and this is definitely a game developed for the ladies among you. Being a man, I had no idea about the apparent aspiration to become the perfect woman, so with no qualms about the end result and a mind with limited knowledge about a female’s ideal life, I jumped in to see just how far I could go on the path to becoming a perfect woman.
Perfect Woman takes the player through various stages in life and presents four choices at each stage, with the score earned from each choice setting the difficulty for future choices the player makes. Before you get to any of the unusual life options, you first start life as a foetus in the mother’s womb. Being a Kinect game the gameplay focus is based on player movement, with players required to match the onscreen pose as quickly as possible. Things start out very easy with simply matching the correct foetal position netting you an easy 10 achievement points for doing pretty much nothing at all. From here on out however, things get harder and much, much weirder.
With the basic tutorial over and done with in just a few seconds it wasn’t long before I was onto my first set of choices. But as I arrived at age nine, ready to start my perfect life, I quickly realised the options available went from the plain obvious to the completely absurd, with options ranging from the perfectly normal and expected choice of a nine-year old child of being a princess, to slightly more frowned upon choices in wishing to become the leader of a street gang.
But still, things got weirder again, with the choices at age 16 offering me perfect life options from things such as becoming a sexually desirable teen, as well as defending a sibling during the war. By age 60 the options had become creepy. laughable and downright absurd, all at the same time, including but not limited to, terrorism, becoming the mother of a dying child, an angry mother due to her daughter’s sex change and the option to become a call girl all making an appearance.
For those who weren’t previously aware, this is a game that is certainly not suitable for children with sexual content, alcohol, terrorism and many other topics present throughout. But with choices such as those previously mentioned on offer is there even a real audience that a game of this type actually suits?
As far as the options go, each within the game is tied to a difficulty level, with easy choices providing some very basic movements and poses to match, normal offering some faster variations of the movements and the hard choices offering some confusing movements should you not have warmed up properly before dusting off the old Kinect. Extreme choices on the other hand are truly unapproachable to a standard human, with new moves every second and each requiring you to get your body onto the floor then back up into unexpected positions, all whilst scoring perfect scores throughout, in order to ensure you stay alive. Whilst activities labelled hard or extreme offer larger amount of points for an acceptable aerobics performance than the easier options, the lack of any online leaderboard or any comparative scoring system whatsoever gives no real reason to try anything other than the easier choices throughout the game. With the score received for each activity only making any real difference to future choices, all that a successful performance brings are easier challenges in the future.
One big problem for me with Perfect Woman, unexpected and crazy life choices aside, are the movements that you are required for each activity. Throughout the game there isn’t a single choice that see any movements resembling anything similar to what is actually going on, and it seems this is a game that would have been better suited as an aerobic warm up rather than an aspiration to become the perfect woman.
With this in mind, and absolutely imperfect choices available throughout, it doesn’t take long to realise this game doesn’t really have anything spectacular or surprising wound into the overall gameplay. Whilst the gameplay on offer is perfectly fluid and responsive, making this another perfect showing of the exceptional ability of the Xbox One’s Kinect, one true issue is the lack of anything substantial in the form of the what you have to do. On top of this, the options available can be completed in just half an hour so, and with no enjoyable content on offer, going back through all these again proves nothing more than fruitless.
Whilst movement based games aren’t in short supply on the Xbox One, with yearly releases of Just Dance titles popping up without fail, Perfect Woman really doesn’t provide anything that makes it worth playing. Throughout the various choices on offer in the game, the only thing you ever have to do is perform a series of pre-set poses for thirty seconds at a time before moving on to the next set of choices. In a day and age where action games are in high demand and games such as the popular Star Wars Battlefront are called upon for a lack of acceptable content, Perfect Woman has nothing on offer to ever warrant a purchase.