Kinect Sports was one of the launch titles for the Xbox Kinect when it debuted last year, and now the game is back for a second season with six new games.

Kinect Sports Season 2 includes baseball, American football, darts, skiing, tennis and golf; it's clear that Season 2 is aiming itself at an international market by focussing less heavily on American sports.

Sports Season 2

Here at the IBTimes we've spent some time with Season 2 and it's clear from the outset that some games shine much more brightly than others.

Both tennis and darts - up to you if you consider darts a sport or not - track your movements very accurately, and in playing them you soon learn that there is a level of skill involved.

For instance, in tennis spin can be applied to the ball with a flick of your wrist, and the weight and momentum behind your throw in darts can drastically affect the trajectory if your arrows.

Baseball, too, tracks movement well when bowling, but suffers when batting and running. A flick of the wrist while bowling can add spin to the ball, but batting seems to be more a case of luck than skill, as swinging your arms somewhere near the ball will result in an almighty hit.

Once you've hit the ball, running to first base is automatic, but speeded up if you run on the spot. Your movements are not directly mirrored by the avatar at all, instead simply faster movements equal faster running.

Darts, while perhaps not having the wide appeal of other sports, is well represented and requires no maths skills or real knowledge of the game, as the required targets are clearly indicated before each throw. The game we play was, quite frankly, the worst games of darts to be ever conducted, with both players fighting it out over the double 1 to claim the win. It's not easy at first and there's clearly an amount of skill involved, hopefully adding to the longevity of Sports Season 2.

American football is where the game falls flat. The first time you play, each set piece is interrupted by a voice-over by the 'X-Factor' narrator, and a demonstrating of how to conduct a certain movement. This is annoying, but as it was teaching me to play I was willing to let it slide for now.

What I wasn't going to let slide, however, is the tracking of movement in American football. It just isn't very good and proved to be unreasonably difficult. I crouched when told to, threw when told to and then ran when told to, but my movements felt so detached from what the game was doing I soon gave up. I may have got better with time, but the initial five minutes is when a Kinect game like Sports should win the gamer over. If it bores you with instructions then I'm going to play something else.

For me, tennis was the standout success story from Sports Season 2. There's no tutorials and how best to play, the response to movement is very good and playing this kind of game with a friend is what the Kinect was made for - quick, easy and intuitive fun.

It is worth noting that those with a small living room may struggle to play some games effectively. Often we accidently strayed too close to the screen - about five feet away - and the game would request that we move further back. This is obviously the case with all Kinect games, but it's worth mentioning, especially when sports games often encourage you to instinctively move closer to the screen.

Games like this are never going to set the wold alight, but Sports Season 2 does bring some new games and they are, on the whole, fun and easy to play. Not one for the hardcore gamers - but then you already knew that - this is for parties, and for that it works very well.

Rating: 3/5