Gaming Guru review of the Nyko Zoom


by TRACY-MARK GORGAS / Special contributor to

Posted on October 28, 2011 at 2:20 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 3 at 11:20 PM

Do you have a Kinect?  Do you live in a small apartment?  Does your Kinect constantly tell you to back up?  Do you wish the Kinect worked in a smaller space? Nyko has heard your cries and introduces the Zoom.

The Nyko Zoom is a set of lenses that snaps over your Kinect and allows you play Kinect games in 40% less space.  Seriously.  No more remodeling the living room to play Kinectimals.

There is a small amount of assembly.  A protective sticker goes on the front of your Kinect, then you snap on the Zoom.  The lenses on the Zoom are set on small springs so if the Zoom is not aligned properly the lens will not be sitting flush.  Once the lenses are flush it is done, the Zoom is now installed.  Setting it up from there is as easy as following Microsoft's instructions, with one exception.  With the Zoom installed on the Kinect it cannot be higher than about four and a half feet off the floor.  I found this out the hard way, by ignoring Nyko's instructions.  Too high and it will not read your legs, feet, or any action you do on the floor.

How well does it work?  Seemingly flawlessly.  Nyko claims on the box that the Zoom will work in 40% less space and that a single player can stand about four feet from the Kinect and play.  That's where I stood and sure enough the Kinect recognized me and logged me in.
I put it through a few Kinect Fun Labs apps, no problem there.  I started playing Kinectimals and this is where I discovered that the Kinect was placed to high.  I originally had my Kinect in a mount that sat on top of my HDTV.  With the Zoom, every time I tried to do something low, like make the new bears in the game climb down from the top of a tree, they would just stay there and not move.  After taking the Kinect out of its mount and placing it at the base of my HDTV everything worked fine again.

The last two games I have tried with the Zoom attached were The Gunstringer and Forza Motorsport 4.  With The Gunstringer I learned that you don't have to be as exaggerated as you were before with your movements.  It seemed I was moving a bit faster and farther than I wanted in the game.  Once I was used to it, things moved more smoothly.  Everything In my Forza Motorsport  4 review that pertained to the Kinect was done with the Zoom.  The controller free driving worked great and the head tracking was spot on after in-game adjustments.  Those in-game adjustments have to be done even for people without the Zoom.

If you have a small area that you are trying to shoehorn your Kinect gameplay into, I highly recommend getting the Nyko Zoom.

For more information see Nyko's Zoom site

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