Amazon wants you to buy its shiny new Fire Phone, and one of the biggest selling points is that fancy head-tracking camera system. So naturally, the first two games to come out of the company's home-bred Amazon Game Studios for the Fire Phone feature functionality that can only be done with that specific hardware. Unfortunately, both platformer To-Fu Fury (available now for $2) and Match 3 RPG Saber's Edge (free) exhibit classic signs of Kinect Syndrome.

What is Kinect Syndrome, I don't hear you ask? Well, it's when any game tries to incorporate a platform's unique hardware features without any real need to do so - developers "add" game content to more or less force players to experience a console's defining add-on. For home consoles, that might be Xbox Kinect's body-tracking or voice control, or the Wii's stick-waggling motion sticks, or the PlayStation 4's controller-mounted touchpad. It's not as if these features are bad in and of themselves, and some games use them quite well. But more often than not, little extras are crammed into games that could just as easily be accommodated with a conventional button press, like, say, ordering your squad to move forward with a voice command instead of a shoulder trigger.

So, Amazon's games. Saber's Edge is the latest in a surprisingly long line of mash-ups that mix Bejeweled-style puzzles and old-school RPGs. Puzzle on the bottom, combat on the top, from Puzzle Quest to Godzilla. Saber's Edge shifts things up by having the puzzle field extend across multiple planes on either side of the main window. You can "peek" around the 3D corner by moving your head and letting the phone react accordingly, which will also give you a rotating view of the battlefield. Which is... interesting, I guess. But you're already using a touchscreen. Why couldn't you just slide your finger in from one side of the screen, like a normal menu system? For that matter, why couldn't the phone's accelerometer accomplish the same trick? Kinect Syndrome.

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To-Fu Fury is a standard platformer starring a cube of tofu with martial arts skills. He can zip around the stage and stick to walls, but he'll need three-dimensional vision to solve some of the 2D puzzles the game presents, which is where the Fire Phone's cameras come in. You can peek to either side with the head-tracking feature. That's nice, but it's also amazingly superfluous - it serves essentially the same gameplay mechanic as pinching to zoom in or out on Angry Birds. But because it's done just this way, the game can only be played on the Fire Phone.

Amazon's head-tracking tech is cool, and I'm sure a clever game developer could probably make something much more interesting out of it - after all, there are plenty of Xbox and Wii games that have done pretty much the same thing. But a few retreads on crowded genres with "features" that could be done just as well in conventional ways isn't going to get anyone to buy a new phone.

Amazon Game Studios

SEATTLE, Jul 21, 2014 (BUSINESS WIRE) --AMZN +0.31% —Amazon Game Studios today announced two new games—Saber’s Edge and To-Fu Fury—for Amazon’s new Fire phone. Saber’s Edge and To-Fu Fury are co-developed with partners, Hibernum and HotGen as part of Amazon Game Studios’ mission to build fun, immersive games from the ground up for Amazon devices. These new games were created exclusively for Fire phone and take advantage of Amazon’s groundbreaking Dynamic Perspective. With Dynamic Perspective, Fire phone enables players to control gameplay with their head movements or by tilting the device to change direction or view. Learn more about the latest games at http://games.amazon.com .

“Amazon Game Studios is working with some of the best studios to co-develop games that leverage the amazing capabilities of our new devices,” said Mike Frazzini, Vice President of Amazon Games. “The new games we are releasing today deeply integrate Dynamic Perspective and offer players new ways to engage with games—using head movements to navigate gameplay and tilt gestures to strategize upcoming moves. Saber’s Edge and To-Fu Fury are just the beginning of what Amazon Game Studios and the entire game development community can do using the immersive new Dynamic Perspective technology built into Fire phone.”

Saber’s Edge

Set in a unique universe of steampunk scoundrels and cloud cities, Saber’s Edge is a strategic match-3 puzzle game where players match tiles across four sides of a rotating cube at the bottom of the screen to help pirates battle rival crews at the top of the screen. The more matches players make, the more firepower they give their pirates in battle. Using Dynamic Perspective, players peek around the corners of the cube to see opportunities to extend their matches, or tilt the device to spin the cube left or right to the next cube face. The victorious are rewarded with treasure used to build a pirate crew powerful enough to eventually reign supreme.

Here’s what customers who were given an early preview of the game had to say:

“The device the game is played on is extraordinary, which adds to the fun of the game. Being able to tilt the screen and zoom in by bringing it closer to your face was a very unique experience.”

“I was taken aback for the first minute by the fact that I could rotate the device around in my hand and actually explore the arena.Awesome.”

“I very much enjoyed the strategic aspect along with the combat aspect. It is very unique to have a game with the two combined.”

To-Fu Fury

Cheat death, defeat enemies, and save the Fortune Kitty in To-Fu Fury, a humorous action game where the player becomes To-Fu, a stretchy, sticky, flingy, and combative cube of bean-curd. Set in a distant land of dojos, temples, and ninjas, players must navigate To-Fu through deadly spikes, devious traps, and powerful enemies to free Fortune Kitty. Each element of the game comes to life on Fire phone’s innovative interface with this new look of the popular To-Fu series. Players can use their head to peek around levels, see their obstacles and plot their strategy.

Here’s what customers who were given an early preview of the game had to say:

“To-Fu is endearing, creative, and a blast to play through. Combining the aspects of a puzzle game with a combat game, you get a challenging brain-bender with the added bonus of defeating bad dudes.”

“The gameplay is fantastic and the device lets you see around corners without having to take your finger off the trigger.”

“I found that all the special features of the device are well integrated into the game.”

Saber’s Edge is free, and To-Fu Fury costs just $1.99. Both games allow players to purchase optional power-ups and access to additional game features. The games will be available exclusively for Fire phone in the Amazon Appstore. Learn more about Amazon Game Studios and all the latest games at http://games.amazon.com .