Disney-Pixar and Microsoft have teamed up to offer gamers the opportunity to explore a magic filled world with Kinect Rush: A Disney-Pixar Adventure for the Xbox 360. This controller free environment allows you to explore different areas based upon five of the most popular Pixar movies all tied together with a central hub that is not too dissimilar to last years Disneyland Adventures. This game revolves around Toy Story 3, Up, The Incredibles, Cars 2 and Ratatouille.
When you first start up Kinect Rush, the Kinect camera creates your very own avatar of the person you will be playing in the game. There are no adult avatars, just children, but that doesn’t mean that adults can’t get involved and join in the fun. The camera does an impressive job of deducing hair colour and such, but the skin tones do seem a little dark. However, this could be a lighting issue. Having previous played Kinect Disneyland Adventures, I was a little apprehensive about how similar this game would be. However, whereas in Disneyland Adventures the game sends you running off on quests right from the get go, I soon discovered that Pixar Park was more like a huge playground filled with children who want to play with you and encourage you to join them in their activities.
Once you’re placed in Pixar Park, you’re introduced to the tutorial which will explain how to move around the park and interact. Movement is simply achieved in a natural way by moving your arms backwards and forwards, with the speed dictating whether you walk or run. If you want to change direction, this is done by moving your shoulders from side to side, although this basic movement can easily be performed by mistake and can cause the Kinect unit to get a bit confused. Sometimes you will be required to jump with feet tucked up behind you, or grab various items by lunging forward with both arms. Some of the movements felt a little more productive than others and some were far more responsive.
In each movie area, your avatar will transform into something that will fit in with the story. So, for instance, in Toy Story 3 you might become a toy robot, Ratatouille may turn you into a rat, in Cars 2 you could be transformed into a spy car and in the Incredibles, it is possible for you to become a superhero. Pixar Park itself is separated into a different section for each of the movies.
In the Toy Story 3 area, you start out as the robot toy and must assist Woody, Buzz, and Jessie in their quest to help Mr Pricklepants. He has fallen out of Bonnie’s backpack and must catch up with her before she decides to leave. Playing in the Sunnyside Daycare playground, it’s a tense race to catch up with Bonnie and will have you moving your arms frantically back and forth before she leaves. You’ll find yourself moving your arms in a climbing motion to move onto and over cardboard boxes and reaching your arms above your head to grab onto a zip wire, which will safely transport you to the other side . As you run through the playground, you will find yourself having to leap over obstacles that continuously get in your way. Other Toy Story 3 characters may want you to find batteries to power up mechanisms, so a certain amount of wandering around and exploring will be required. Once they’ve been found, it usually means you have to pick them up using the both arms forward gesture to throw them to one of the other characters.
In the Up movie area, you play as an wilderness explorer and have to help out Mr. Fredrickson and a variety of other Up characters. As an explorer you venture into the wilderness, wandering through the environment, collecting coins and jumping and moving over obstacles, a great deal of the time is spent using the Kinect gestures to run, walk, jump and even swim. Whilst swimming you have to move your arms back and forth, like you are performing the breast stroke, to guide yourself through streams and rivers in a bid to chase Carl’s runaway balloon elevated house. You’ll find yourself paddling in a canoe, waving your arms back and forth to go in the right direction, which can leave you feeling tired after a short while.
The selection of different games to play with the other children in the park is quite varied and all of them are in keeping with the theme of the movie on which they are based. In the Cars 2 area, for example, you have to put your hands out in front of you like you have an invisible steering wheel, which is quite reminiscent of the Kinect game ‘Joyride’. Although there is perhaps less variety in this particular area, being that it is all about racing, it is still entertaining as you race frantically through Radiator Springs.
Kinect Rush: A Disney-Pixar Adventure is not the largest game in the world and can quite happily be fully experienced in a single session. I also found that sometimes the movements within the game do not register as precisely as I would hope, which can lead to some frustration. However, I have the sneaky suspicion that the games target audience really won’t care.
There is a nice selection of different activities to enjoy in Pixar Park and the game offers plenty of entertainment that is suitable for all of the family as they interact with their favorite Pixar movie characters. It may be aimed at the younger gamers out there, but I have enjoyed my time playing Kinect Rush. The game felt more straight forward than Disneyland Adventures, and the activities were more fun. Be warned though, if you are not filled with youthful energy, you may need to keep your sessions short. Children, though, will be entertained for hours on end.