Unveiled at E3 2010, Kinectimals is a virtual pet simulation game for use with Microsoft's new Xbox 360 peripheral Kinect. Kinectimals gives players the task of taking care of their own virtual animal in what is reminiscent of a Nintendogs pen-play area. Players are able to give voice commands to their pet, interact with it in a physical sense using different hand gestures and full body movements. Different moments inspire different actions. For example, the E3 live demo showed a girl running her hands across the virtual tiger cub's back in a petting motion, two virtual hands mimicking the movements the girl was making.
Later in the demonstration, the adorable little girl began to do tricks with her tiger cub. Rolling over led the tiger to roll with her, jumping made the tiger jump, and turning around led to the tiger walking in a circle. The tiger is also able to notice and react to changes in the camera environment. When the girl went off screen, the tiger began to look around for her. Once she came back on stage the tiger immediately noticed she was back and started to play again. Upon telling the tiger to go get its jump rope it went off screen, retrieved the rope and handed it to the girl. Then, mimicking the gesture of jump roping, the tiger cub began to play and jump with her. The tiger cub, seemingly, could randomly miss jumping the rope properly at times, thus promoting some sense of realism even further. During the demo, the tiger cub got caught in the jump rope and the game changed over to a cut-scene, which showed the tiger cub getting tripped-up. This was a funny moment for the girl presenter.
Despite the title refering to "animals", the virtual pets in Kinectimals are all different breeds of big cat. The game ships with eleven different cubs as standard, though only five are available at the start of the game, with six additional cubs becoming unlocked by performing tasks during gameplay. Several stores also offered additional animals as a pre-order bonus.
Kinectimals offers five avatar awards.
The game begins with the player selecting one of several breeds of jungle cat (for example, a tiger or a lion). After that, the player can name the cat, and interact with it in various way. These interactions range from petting the cat to throwing toy piggies for the cat to collect. The player can unlock numerous items to interact with cat, including the aforementioned toy piggies and even remote controlled cars. All of this is done with either motion control or voice commands. Successfully teaching the cat new tricks and playing with the cat allows the player to unlock new areas of the gameworld, which in turn unlocks new minigames and items.
On July 26th, 2011, Microsoft announced a new DLC pack entitled "Bear Island". As the name suggests, the DLC will include a new island to explore, with new bear cub pets to play with. Bear Island will also be available on disc with the original game in a new SKU called Kinectimals: Now With Bears.
At Gamescom 2011 Microsoft announced a version of Kinectimals coming to their Windows Phone, under the name Kinectimals Mobile. The game will have Xbox Live integration with its own achievements and leaderboards. To be released this fall.