I’ve had Perfect Woman for a few weeks now. I wanted to be sure that I got the most out of the game before writing something about it, and I’m very glad that I did. It took me five or six playthroughs to realise that there was more to the game than what meets the eye. Sure, it may be little more than an Xbox One Kinect game which forces you to attempt to quickly match the positions shown on the screen like with many Kinect games available, but the story underneath is a lot more clever than you may think.
Perfect Woman was created by Peter Lu and Lea Schonfelder and published onto the Xbox store in September of last year. On the surface, it’s a game that seems to encourage players to build the perfect life for themselves starting for birth and ending, of course, at death. Players do this by picking careers, activities, or personalities for themselves and depending on what they choose, the ending that they get for their life may change.
“Underneath the surface, Perfect Woman asks players to think about what their idea of the ‘perfect woman’ really is.”
As you start playing, Perfect Woman appears to be nothing more than a fun – albeit strange – Kinect game with a weird story concept. You begin your life – as we all do – in the womb, and you have to move your arms and legs to match up with outline of the baby. Once you’re born you have to opportunity to decide what you want to do as a child. You can choose between a variety of things for your 9-year-old self including princess, child worker, or street kid leading a gang; you know, those very likely things for an average nine year old. Once you choose your life path you have to match the poses that the game prompts you with, and how well you do will impact what happens to you character. Did you lead your gang into one of the most successful heists they’ve ever had? Or did you get shot before even leaving your home? Your success on each level determines how your life goes.
Underneath the surface, however, Perfect Woman asks players to think about what their idea of the “perfect woman” really is. Is there even such a thing? Or is it something that you have to decide for yourself? More than anything, Perfect Woman wants you to think about how the world defines women today, especially considering how they are portrayed in magazines, television, movies, and all media. There’s a huge variety of roles that women play in today’s world – and it isn’t always pretty. Perfect Woman uses stereotypes related to women in order for you to decide for yourself what a ‘perfect’ life might look like. What ensues is the realisation that a perfect life isn’t really possible – but a happy life is much more realistic and achievable.
All philosophy and deeper meanings aside, Perfect Woman was one of the weirdest games I have ever played. First of all, the art style is crazy: most of the women only have one eye, which made me think might just be the reason all of these ladies are so troubled. And some of the roles that you have the choice of taking on are incredibly specific. At one point I was able to choose to become a mother who was disappointed in her daughter because she wanted to have a sex change. As well as these strange options, many of the locations where the levels were located were strangely designed, like the supermarket where all that you can buy is condoms, vodka, instant food, and ten different kinds of shower caps. I felt like some of the design choices were there only to put players off a bit – and I don’t think that that was its true purpose.
“More than anything, Perfect Woman wants you to think about how the world defines women today, especially considering how they are portrayed in magazines, television, movies, and all media.”
Playing Perfect Woman with my friends was perhaps the best way to enjoy the game. Apart from all the weirdness and the underlying philosophy, The Perfect Woman is a really fun and challenging Kinect game that will have you laughing until you cry. You never know who your friends really are until they choose “the girl everyone wants to have sex with” at age sixteen and “call girl” at age 78. Some of the poses seem impossible but the more you play and the more that you’re dedicated to perfection (ironic, I know), the easier it becomes. And who doesn’t love watching their guy friends try to become the perfect woman?
If you’re into a little weirdness and have a Kinect for your Xbox One I recommend picking up Perfect Woman, or at least trying out the demo so you can see that it really is a lot of fun. Trying to become the perfect woman really makes you realise how happy you are not being perfect. Then again, being the leader of an all-woman gang doesn’t sound so bad to me.