E3 2011: PowerUp Heroes Hands-On Preview

We punch, kick, and throw fireballs in this motion-controlled fighting game.


PowerUp Heroes

The Kinect thrives when you can carry everyday motions into the digital realm. Dance, sports, and fitness have seen their fare share of games, but there hasn't been much that captures the punching joy of a fight. PowerUp Heroes hopes to fill that void later this year. We had a chance to play this energetic game at a pre-E3 press event, and we came away a little tired after a hard-fought victory.

PowerUp Heroes is one-on-one fighting game where you control your avatar in a variety of superhero outfits. Each suit comes loaded with three special powers, and you can switch between two of these dashing articles of clothing during the course of a fight. It's a simple system that makes it easy to unleash your fury without memorizing a lot of different motions. There are more than 40 outfits to unlock, and because they all have their own move set, there should be plenty of variety for aspiring superheroes.

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As a superhero, you have incredible-looking moves at your disposal. Depending on your suit, you can throw bolts of lightning or flaming fireballs if you're so inclined, and there are fancy effects when you hit your opponent with these devastating attacks. Pulling off these impressive moves is quick and easy. There are icons on the bottom of the screen that show what pose you should strike, and it's just a matter of mimicking what you see. If you jump in the air, duck down, and then punch toward your opponent, you pull off an earthquake/fireball maneuver that would make even Superman jealous.

There are also melee moves when your opponent gets stunned. These involve punching or kneeing your enemies, and thumping them up close also works well. Because we played the first (and incredibly easy) character in the game, we didn't have to worry much about defense. But you can dodge out of the way or block close-range attacks, which gives fights a nice back-and-forth feeling.

PowerUp Heroes is shaping up to be a pain-free fighting entry for the Kinect crowd. And when you learn the ins and outs of battle, you can challenge your friends online. Keep your eyes on GameSpot for more information and your eyes on store shelves in October if you want to pick up this hero.

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