Dragon Ball Z: For Kinect is a 3D one-on-one fighting game based on the Dragon Ball Z anime television series. It is played from a first-person perspective and the character can only controlled through the Kinect motion recognition peripheral. It is the first console game in the series to use a first-person perspective and in that way it draws inspiration from the arcade game Dragon Ball Z: V.R.V.S., while visually it closely resembles the style of the earlier Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Tenkaichi games by the same developer.
The main game mode Saiyan Saga Story starts with a fight between Goku and Piccolo against Raditz because Goku wants to get back his son Gohan. Battles are not linked together into a single story, but borrow elements from different storyline and sagas, such as Babidi Saga, Cell Saga, Frieza Saga, and the battle against Great Ape Vegeta. The second battle for instance is between Krillin and Saibamen. The battles are highly choreographed to resemble the TV series, linking together short fighting sequences interspersed with cinematic interludes. Basic attacks consist of punches and kicks. When doing well, a power bar fills up, often triggering a sequence in the air where the fighting is continued. Many combos are also automated, quickly switching the perspective to third-person. When a certain amount of hits has landed, ki energy blasts can be launched. This is performed by thrusting your palms out in front of you. On defense you can lean left and right to dodge, or hold your hands in front of your face in a boxer's defensive stance to block. The game keeps tracks of the combo rate and the remaining life points of both fighters are shown at the bottom of the screen.
Special moves such as the Kamehameha attack are performed by charging from specific stances, unique for each character, with a vertical meter on the left side of the screen. This is usually done by holding your hands in a specific position and the available stances are shown next to the meter. The camera always keeps the enemy in sight and movement is not controlled by the player except for certain dodging moves. Certain parts of the fights also consist of quick time events where icons shows which offensive or defensive move need to be performed quickly. After each fight the player is ranked based on time, remaining health, combos, score and win bonus. Unlocking new characters is done by defeating them or completing stages.
The Score Attack mode is similar to the main story mode, but with a focus on getting high scores, free character and opponent selection, and removing the cut-scenes during battles. There are more than 50 characters in total (with many variations and forms) and over one hundred moves. One character called Super Saiyan Bardock is exclusive to the game. The different moves can be practiced in a tutorial. From the main menu a card reader option can be selected, used to scan QR codes offered through various incentives for bonuses and move variations. Copies of the game include cardboard Super Saiyan Goku hair with multiple QR codes on the back. The game also includes an episode of the anime Episodes of Bardock, available from the main menu.