If ever a Kinect game was designed to be played with others, HAT is it. I can’t imagine this game entertaining solo players for more than a few minutes. But get a bunch of friends or kids to stand in front of the Kinect, and suddenly everyone’s laughing and goofing around with each other on-screen. HAT is the first Kinect title to support 6 players at once, making it perfect for parties. Unfortunately, only the camera-type games (described as category one above) work properly with that many people. Other games like the riff on Space Invaders and even the visualizers lost track of several players when everyone started moving around. When those activities come up in the rotation during your Kinect gatherings, you’ll either want to fast-forward past them or let a few players sit out.
HAT is the epitome of a drop-in, drop-out co-op game. There’s no penalty for people leaving or joining at any time. After all, the game lacks a real scoring system or overall goal. That proves to be a weakness, though. Beyond going after the annoyingly vaguely-described Achievements, there is nothing else to strive for in this Theater. Double Fine coulda shoulda included a more structured mode in addition to the current minigame rotation to give the game more staying power. The ability to save and share gameplay pictures and videos would have significantly added to the value as well – a missed opportunity.
Happy Action Theater is a tough game to categorize because it’s hardly even a game. Think of it as a tool for silliness instead. If you don’t have anyone else to play with, you can safely skip it. But people with kids or friends who like to come over, drink, and play games will get lots of laughs out of Double Fine’s latest. I’ll certainly be booting it up whenever guests stop by.
The Co-Op Experience: Happy Action Theater's minigames can track up to six players at once. Players work together to pop balloons, shoot down enemies, and more. Some minigames work better with less people, as standing in front of each other can cause players to disappear. The game is definitely intended to be played with others though.
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.