Kinect Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure was developed by Asobo Studio and published by Microsoft Game Studios. It was released on March 20, 2012 and retails for $49.99.
Kinect Rush begins on a school bus headed to Pixar Park, the place where the magic happens. Lush vegetation grows around the attraction and its five theme parks. The themes are directly descended from the familiar films Toy Story, Cars, The Incredibles, Up, and Ratatouille. Each area of the park has humungous representations of the films, whether it be the recognizable Eiffel Tower in Ratatouille or Mr. Fredricksen’s sky-bound home from Up. Each area looks as if it’s pulled straight from the movie it’s from, and best of all, the whole park is crawling with kids looking for fun, adventure and friendship.
Each theme “park” has three levels based on a given movie and each one tells a story that ties into the movie. The levels actually take place within the imaginations of two children, which explains why almost every single level consists of the same movements and patterns. The levels are a straight line that make players run from checkpoint to checkpoint to solve a brief puzzle that usually involves throwing something at a target. All of the levels involve swinging one’s arms to run and jump, albeit in a different setting each time. The third level of each world has a three stage boss fight, all of which use the same mechanics. The game provides some fun at first, especially for fans of Pixar, but if a level is replayed for, say, unlockables, the game quickly digresses into a painful and repetitious experience.
Here’s what we liked:
Pixar love – Every single step in Pixar Park and the levels associated with it are bursting with classic love for Pixar. All the levels look like they could be in each of their respective movies and the characters sound just like their counterparts on the big screen. Being in the world of the movies made me want to re-watch these classic films just so I could relive their moments much like the game does. The game really excels at pulling the player into the experience.
Walking – Walking around the park itself is a treat simply because Asobo thought of a new way to walk using Kinect. Rather than take actual steps like in Haunt or just step a foot forward like in Rise of Nightmares, one simply swings their arms like they would if they were walking. The faster the swing the faster the in game character will move. Turning is done by a turn of the shoulders in the direction that you wish to go. It’s easy to control and it’s intuitive.
Here’s what we didn’t like:
Repetitiveness – All of the worlds except for the Cars world rely on the same mechanics. Swinging one’s arms to run, jumping to jump, and pantomiming climbing to climb. Some levels also feature rafting, zip lining, and swimming but they just cannot shake the repetitive nature of the game. You can’t stop yourself from thinking, “Didn’t I just do this?” If you’re only going to play each level once, the repetitiveness won’t be so severe. Since completing each world only takes about 90 minutes however, we expect most will tread through each world multiple times to get their dollar’s worth. Each time you re-enter a world, an overwhelming sense of dread and doom sets in as you realize that almost all of the levels play out in exactly the same fashion.
Cars world – The Cars world does a lot right in the sense that it doesn’t repeat what the other four worlds do. Rather than swinging arms, players pantomime driving with an invisible steering wheel. While the change of pace is a nice notion, and it’s fun at first, there are some problems that go along with it. For one the game doesn’t always notice when the car should be turning, leading to countless instances of driving straight off cliffs. The game claims that the farther that your hands are from your body the faster your car will go. Which is a complete lie. We saw no difference in how fast our car was going. The only difference we noticed was how quickly our arms started to hurt.
Spotty camera – There is nothing worse than being in the middle of a level on track to beat your best time and get a gold medal until Kinect suddenly doesn’t recognize that a jump has just occurred. Unfortunately this happens way to frequently and sometimes it even extends outside of the level. In one level, we had to select Replay or Quit and Kinect wouldn’t even recognize our hands. It could recognize our whole bodies during the level but couldn’t manage to recognize a single hand. We had to use voice commands (which also don’t work well) to select what we wanted. The frustration of trying to navigate menu systems and move on to play again completely destroyed any thrill gained from finishing a level.
Pain - This game is painful. After a two hour session one day, we just couldn’t bring ourselves to play again due solely to the amount of pain in our arms. This cannot be attributed to a fantastic performance on the part of the player in the game. For the entirety of our play time, we only received one gold medal. Both young and old will suffer these symptoms so perhaps it is best to play the game in bursts to avoid both the pain and the repetitiveness. Shake your arms for half an hour straight and see how you feel when you’re done.
The only thing that can be asked before purchasing this game is “How much do I love Pixar?” An obsessive amount of passion for Pixar films is the only factor that could make Kinect Rush worth buying. Walking around the park itself and seeing the sights is enjoyable. The gameplay itself will fill players with pure dread. Kinect Rush is simply too repetitive and (both physically and mentally) pain-inducing to warrant playing by anyone in just about any state of mind.
Score: Skip it!