As little fun as the main game’s 50 levels provide, Leedmees does also include 12 local co-op levels. Both players have their own avatar and the levels are completely built with teamwork and communication in mind. Leedmees alternatingly drop from both sides of the screen, so each player will need to catch them in turn. The goal often appears on one player’s body, requiring the other person to pass the Leedmees onto whatever part holds the exit.
Various obstacles from the main game pop up in multiplayer, such as ghosts that must be ‘blown away’ by waving your arms at them, or switches that you punch or step on to move blocks out of the Leedmees’ paths. Other times we had to complete electrical circuits with our bodies, placing our hands and feet on specific spots and then making sure our characters’ hands connected.
I applaud the cleverness of these elements, but the erratic controls and tendency of the Leedmees to die for little or no reason drags co-op down just as much as single-player. Only now, two people get to share in the aggravation instead of just one! Plus only the first player earns Achievements, so the second player suffers for absolutely no reward.
Now’s a good time to mention Leedmees’ ranking system. Depending on how many Leedmees make it to a level’s goal, the game awards a letter grade. To get the coveted S-Rank, the Leedmees must collect all five stars scattered about the level and every single one must survive. Because five of the game’s 12 Achievements are tied to S-Ranks (some single-player, some co-op), S really is the only letter grade that matters. Lose one Leedmee in a level and the S-Rank is out. The result? Once we had enough Leedmees into the goal to move on to the next level, we just killed the rest of the creeps in order to finish the level faster. It’s pretty bad when the game is set up so that if you make even one mistake (and remember, it’s almost always the controls at fault), you might as well just give up and try to get out of there.
I recently had the pleasure of reviewing The Gunstringer, which I called the best Kinect game yet. Leedmees is the polar opposite – the single worst Kinect game I’ve experienced. In fact, it’s the second worst of the hundred-plus XBLA titles I have played (Totemball being the worst). It didn't have to be this way. With an original concept, a distinctive art style, interesting level design, and unique co-op levels, Konami’s downloadable Kinect title should have been a great little family game. Instead, Leedmees truly feels like it was released without being playtested. Co-op is slightly less painful than single-player, but it doesn't save the game. I'm afraid it would take a serious patch to fix all of the game’s woes, and given its poor sales, that seems unlikely.
The Co-Op Experience: Team up with a friend as your whole body controls the platforming elements on the screen.This game requires Kinect.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.