Leap Motion review

An experiment in interactivity that isn't quite there yet

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There is a lot of potential in the Leap Motion controller, and some apps show that more than others. As exciting as the technology is, though, that's what you're ultimately paying for: the apps. The device makes the experience possible, but the apps make the experience itself. And although 75 apps doesn't sound like much, remember that's just the beginning.

We liked

There's a huge amount of variety in those 75 apps. We didn't get to try out all of them, and those still on the fence can browse Airspace and see for themselves what's being offered. But there are definitely some standout experiences here.

For games, try Boom Ball, the 3D Brick Breaker clone; Shimsham, the jazz-inspired multiplayer physics duel; Qbism, a puzzle game involving perspective; Solar Warfare, the basic-looking but responsive spaceship shooter; Sortee, the fast-paced game of sorting; and Dropchord, Double Fine's psychedelic two-fingered rhythm game. Then there are non-game apps like Frog Dissection, Airharp, and Painter Freestyle - and we only got to try about half of the apps available.

When Leap Motion works, it provides what feels like a glimpse into the future, and it's pretty exciting.

We disliked

When Leap Motion doesn't work, it's a frustrating experience that feels like a total waste of time. The Airspace app store is pretty rough, the experiences within occasionally complete duds. There were log-in problems with some apps that wouldn't let us through once we downloaded them, while others crashed or simply refused to open. There were different problems on each operating system, and one app - Jungle Jumper - forced us to hard-reset our Macbook Pro.

There needs to be standardization and quality control for Leap Motion to really take off, though we suspect that will come with time. For now it's definitely a buyer-beware environment in terms of whether the apps you get will actually work. Downloading a new app feels like a flip of a coin, and we don't like those odds.

Final verdict

Leap Motion is not everything it was promised to be, but one day it might be. The degree to which it can accurately detect and interpret your hand and finger gestures varies wildly from app to app, suggesting that the failures that do crop up again and again might be software problems, not hardware ones. And with the Leap Motion tech already being integrated into computers, it seems like it's here to stay. The question may be this simple: how early do you want to get on board?

Michael Rougeau

Michael Rougeau is a former freelance news writer for TechRadar. Studying at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Northeastern University, Michael has bylines at Kotaku, 1UP, G4, Complex Magazine, Digital Trends, GamesRadar, GameSpot, IFC, Animal New York, @Gamer, Inside the Magic, Comic Book Resources, Zap2It, TabTimes, GameZone, Cheat Code Central, Gameshark, Gameranx, The Industry, Debonair Mag, Kombo, and others.

Micheal also spent time as the Games Editor for Playboy.com, and was the managing editor at GameSpot before becoming an Animal Care Manager for Wags and Walks.