Welcome to the magic of Disney and Pixar. When you think of animated films, one of the monster names that comes to mind is Pixar. Pixar has pumped out numerous family hits that we all know and love over the past several years and finally we have the opportunity to become a part of the magic. Kinect Rush: A Disney-Pixar Adventure gives you the opportunity to become a part of one of the best family experiences to date on the Xbox 360 Kinect. Have you ever wanted to have super powers like the Incredibles? How about helping Buzz and Woody save a toy in danger? Well you get to do all of that and more in Kinect Rush and it’s something the whole family will enjoy. Developer Asobo Studios and Microsoft Studios have really put together something really special.
There are five Pixar animated blockbusters available which will allow you and your family to jump in an experience the fun and excitement you remember from all the on screen action. The game’s Pixar themed areas are accessible right off the bat with three different levels to unlock in each. The quality of the presentation is superb with the worlds from Cars, Toy Story, The Incredibles, UP and Ratatouille all beautifully presented using each film’s unique style. Each level allows you to use your imagination with the children you meet in the Pixar Park while creating new adventures about their favorite films. Dashing through the game will only take a few hours but there’s plenty of reason to replay each level in the game. Replaying levels unlocks new powers and objectives while also discovering hidden coins and medals in secret areas only accessible during your next play through.
One of the first things you will do in the game is create a Pixar avatar. Basically it’s a Pixar representation of what you would look like as a kid in one of their movies. The game scans your body and you then answer a few simple questions as you are recreated as a Pixar child avatar. It works pretty well although I wish there was a little more customization such as changing hair color or your clothes. It almost seems like there are a select few avatars that you can become after being scanned and sometimes the character really doesn’t look all that much like you. There are some prerender characters you can choose from instead of scanning yourself but that’s no fun. For the most part, the scanning will be hugely popular for the younger players even if it doesn’t look like an exact match. It really doesn’t matter all that much anyway since the game creates a version of yourself as a superhero, car, rat, robot and scout which gets a special Pixar touch. The only time you notice your child avatar is walking around the park. Overall, it is a really cool feature and attaches you to Pixar Studios.
One thing is for certain, you’ll get quite a work out playing this game. I was seriously sweating after thirty minutes of play time. The game works by making a swinging motion with your arms moving you forward while turning your shoulders left and right turns your character. The fact that you have to move your arms constantly to propel the character forward can be tiring, not to mention if you want to have your character run you have to lift your knees in a running motion while standing in place. Phew, there is no doubt my children are getting their exercise while playing this game. I think I would have preferred to see the walking motion work a little more similar to Disneyland Adventures where you simply hold your arm out and direct your character around the screen. This would have been a good mix between walking an running. Either way, it didn’t seem to bother my daughter who had quite the marathon session as I watched in amazement. As far as she is concerned, this is a winner.
One of the really cool things about the game is that there is plenty of actual Pixar storyline content that never made it into the actual movies. You’ll meet new characters that never got to appear in the films and even see new places that just had to be cut from the original film. A few examples of things you will see is a race track in Tokyo from Cars 2, new characters from Ratatouille, and a scene that hit the cutting room floor from The Incredibles. If you are a fan of Pixar Animation then you will absolutely be delighted with these little additions.
Visually, the game is superb. The main part of the game seems like a real life amusement park and gives the game a bit of realism as you play make believe with the other kids. I especially like the transitions from the park to the actual story where you will hear the voiceover work actually blend from child voice to character voice. This is one of my favorite aspects of the game and is amazing to think about. The voice acting is stellar because of the use of actual real life voices that were used for the all Pixar characters in the real films. That is saying a lot and Disney spared no expense when it comes to this department. Where many games will find generic actors to do the voice overs for most characters in their games it really tells you something that every character, right down to the kids of the Incredibles, sound exactly as they did in the films. This shows that Pixar, like there animation, will only put out quality products.
Within each level, you’ll run, jump, swing and even drive as you team up with one of the other Pixar characters and act out scenarios from each movie. In Up, you and Russell get to chase after Carl’s house, escape from Muntz’s zeppelin, and even rescue Kevin from being kidnapped. The Incredibles has you teaming up with Violet to avoid nasty hazards, rescue Mystique, and battle a spider-like Omnidroid. This was one of my favorite stories as you become a superhero who is able to pick up large boulders and hurl them at your enemies. It’s a blast to be able to make these gestures and have the the Kinect pick up all your body movements without and glitches. One thing I will mention is that Kinect Rush seems to want you to have a large amount of space to play. In our living room, as I’m sure with many others, we have limited space due to our furniture. We play approximately six feet back from the Kinect which has worked fine with just about every other game but for some reason Kinect Rush would constantly tell up to step back. While it was frustrating to see the prompt pop on the screen numerous times it’s important to mention that the Kinect never lost our movements. We continued to play along without having to pause the action or perhaps miss an important jump.
Speaking of jump, it’s difficult. Basically in Kinect Rush the creators want you to bend you knees and leap into the air to make your jumps. This is fine and also probably another idea to really get the kids moving but it doesn’t work very fluid when you are running in place. We found ourselves falling off cliffs and into holes only to reappear just to do it again. I would have liked to see a little more smoother control for jumping especially since the rest of the game plays so spectacular.
The fact that Kinect Rush’s levels aren’t just mini games thrown together is probably its greatest strength. Instead of just doing pretender motions, it really feels like you’re in the movies. The atmosphere is perfectly captured with beautiful graphics, spot-on sound, and great level design. Even though there are only three levels per film, none of them wears out its welcome. Kinect Rush really wants you to come back and play and rewards you with some nice new toys for your next outing. Especially if you choose to do a little co-op action. The game really shines here as a family game as you help each other through the level with specific tasks. Most levels in Rush have one or more simple co-op puzzles that tend to involve one player stepping on a switch so that the other can reach a new area or unlock a new path. The co-op experience really enhances your play, but if one person isn’t particular familiar with the motion controls (my wife, for example), it can get a bit challenging. Luckily for us, if you fail at a puzzle too many times you’re given the option to skip ahead if you really want to move on.
It doesn’t take long to really start enjoying Kinect Rush: A Disney-Pixar Adventure. The controls allow for some really interesting and fun level designs, which is where Asobo shows their expertise. Rush really captured the most exciting moments from each movie while the co-op is a huge step up over playing with a computer controlled player since both players get to move around independently and interact in many ways. Kinect Rush has become a new favorite in our household and I don’t see it drifting away anything soon. Just the idea of starring in your own Pixar movie is fantastic, not to mention looking like a Pixar character while doing it. I know I mentioned a few down falls that bother me but don’t let this steer you away form this game in anyway. If you’re looking for a the perfect family game to bring everyone together, this is it. You’re guaranteed to have a blast and even a few laughs along the way while reenacting some of your favorite scenes from Pixar’s stellar library. So get out your super suit or grease up your axels because Kinect Rush is ready to give you a workout and a great experience all at the same time. Give it a chance and I’m positive you’ll have a great time pretending to be a kid in these family favorite movies.