Pixar is probably my favorite film studio. From WALL-E to Toy Story, they craft tales that are visually stunning and capture the minds of adults and children alike. Having loved Kinect Disneyland Adventures so much, I was very excited when I learned about Kinect Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure.
I live in a household where my 55 inch television is dominated by my 3-year old son and his love for Cars, Cars 2, Toy Story, Muppets and anything with trains. I get around this by buying the video games of movies/shows he likes — I have the Toy Story 3 game, Cars 2, Kinect Disneyland Adventures, and Once Upon a Monster. Now, I can add Kinect Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure to that list.
Kinect Rush places you alongside some of your favorite Pixar characters from the movies Ratatouille, Toy Story 3, Cars/Cars 2, UP, and The Incredibles. In the game, you start out by putting yourself into the game. The Kinect sensor will scan your body and create an avatar of you in the game. That avatar affects how you look in each of Pixar's different movies — the color of your car, toy, super hero, etc.
It's a nice idea, except it doesn't really work all that well. I was wearing a blue shirt, I have a slight tan, and I have brown hair. The game made me brown, with black hair, and a purple shirt. No matter how many times I tried, I could not get it to resemble me. Also, there are no options to create yourself without scanning. It's really frustrating that all it would have taken was skin tone and hair options, yet they're nowhere to be found. It's disappointing, especially when compared to how Kinect Disneyland Adventures handled their character creation.
Once you're in the game, you are put into a Pixar park. There are other kids running around, and there are five different sections of the park — for each of the five Pixar movies present in the game. You become the characters in the game through role-playing, essentially. For example, you walk up to the Cars area. You talk to another kid who asks you if you want to play Cars, then the two of you start pretending that you are in the world of Cars. Each kid you come across plays as a different character from whatever movie you are playing in.
The better you do in a level from the Cars area, the more points you get towards unlocking more levels in that area. You also unlock special moves that you can perform with your body. These special moves help you in that movie's area; you perform the move at certain points to collect tons of coins or other bonuses. Each of the five movies has their own progression bar that you can unlock things in. It is worth noting that it'll be harder to get the best rating on each level if you don't have the special moves; also, playing through each level once won't be enough to unlock everything, as there are only three levels in each area. This encourages you to play multiple times.
The gameplay itself is fairly simple, but it works well for the game. This game is geared towards kids, after all. All of the motions I performed were picked up accurately with the Kinect. The problem is that you perform the same six or seven moves in every game. You jump, crouch, pump your arms up and down, run in place, make a throwing motion, climb, and pretend like you're pushing off the ground with your arms to go faster. Over, and over, and over again. Those are your basic moves.
The Cars area is the only area that doesn't use those, outside of jump. In Cars, you hold your arms in front of you — like you're holding a steering wheel — and you act like you're driving a car. It controls really well and was probably my and my son's favorite area of the game. Up is probably the most boring of the five areas, but that's really a testament to how immersive the other areas feel. Asobo Studio and everyone involved did a really good job of recreating the feel of each movie. Whether you're sliding along an ice bridge made by Frozone or dodging the attacks from Charles Muntz's dogs flying planes, it all places you in the middle of those movies.
There's also a wonky bug; in one level for Toy Story, you are skydiving/falling with style out of an airplane. You're going through air balloon-type things, and shafts, and dodging objects. Some of them you need to enter and go through. Well, I missed one. And I got stuck on the outside of the shaft, unable to fall anymore, because of an invisible wall. Obviously, they didn't account for anyone missing the opening. Which is weird because kids aren't going to be able to do everything perfect. Needless to say, I had to restart.
That tube on the right… that's what I missed.
Two players can also play together, and the detection is just as good as when one player is going solo. There's some teamwork aspects, but mainly it's just two players doing the same thing at the same time. When you're trying to fly or balance, it can become a little crowded, so those with small playing spaces might not have as easy a time.
Kinect Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure accomplishes what it sets out to do — it provides a way for children to interact with their favorite characters from some of the best animated films ever made. The controls aren't flawless, but they're pretty accurate. It's easy to pick up and play. Repetition is the game's biggest flaw — well, that and a character creation system that is a disappointment. If you absolutely love the characters in the game and wanna go adventuring with them, this is a perfect game. There's not a lot of challenge for adults, but kids will have a blast. It's hard for me to recommend it over Disney's other Kinect game, Kinect Disneyland Adventures, but it's a quality Kinect title that has more UPs than downs.
You can follow Lance Liebl on Twitter @Lance_GZ