Presented as a story book, titled Once Upon a Monster, the game is divided into chapters. In the chapter I previewed, the monsters, led by Cookie Monster, Grover and Elmo, were working together to help their friend have the best birthday ever. "The world and characters are brand-new, Double Fine creations," Martz said, speaking of the foundational elements of the game, before it was integrated with the Sesame Street license. "We actually created a lot of this before Sesame Street was involved."
In gameplay terms, the chapter involved working with another player to run through a fantastically vibrant, "electrified" forest. (Cooperative play is one element the title has going for it over the similarly family-friendly Kinectimals.)
While I controlled Elmo, another player leaned and jumped to steer the monster whose shoulders I was on out of harm's way. For my part, I'd lean to help dodge, reach my arms out to touch collectibles and duck in order to, well, duck. The characters responded quickly -- even with a crowd of people close-by -- and, in the case of my "Elmo arms," precisely.
Later, the segment transitioned into a dance sequence, led by Grover -- a sort of Dance Central super-lite. This minigame was a simple "mirror the monster" setup, where striking a pose that looked vaguely similar to what was being shown on screen (and holding it for a five-count) was good enough.
Needless to say, it's a very simple game, but the kind excuted with craft and beauty -- the sort of design elements that fuel Once Upon a Monster's driving goal: joy. I can think of few things more joy-inspiring for little kids than working with their parents or older siblings to give a cuddly monster his best birthday ever.