Ssooo?..a rat, a spaceman, an elderly gentleman, a racecar and some superheroes want to create a theme park?? Certainly sounds to me like the opening of a lengthy and somewhat convoluted joke! When in reality this is actually the base premise behind Disney?s latest foray into promoting the Xbox?s Kinect peripheral.
While Disney is not new to the Xbox console, the use of the Kinect seems to a fledgling enterprise. Most notably is Kinect Disneyland Adventures. Disneyland Adventures was developed by Frontier Developments, but this latest endeavour has been developed by French game developer Asobo Studio. Asobo Studios has been behind a couple of other Disney/Pixar video game titles such as Ratatouille, Wall-E, Up and Toy Story 3: the Video Game. It is of very little surprise that Asobo is using the characters from these 3 of these titles and adding characters from Cars and The Incredibles to create another opportunity for gamers to dive into some Disney magic.
Kinect Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure offers gamers the opportunity to not only direct characters but to actually become a unique character within the various Movie worlds. When first launching the title Kinect will scan the individual playing and create an ingame character relevant to the worlds you?ll encounter; a cartoon rat for Ratatouille, a toy robot for Toy Story, a race car for Cars, a Wilderness Explorer for Up and a superhero for The Incredibles. Things really come to life when two people join in split screen play and each have their own individual look and style based on the gamers themselves.
After finding your ?identity? you are able to explore Pixar Park (obvious similarities to the Disneyland Adventures style aside) which creates a central hub from which to access the 5 game worlds. You can also take some time to interact and talk with some of the others that are also browsing Pixar Park; this little addition can help to prepare you to learn how to utilize some of the movement features while unlocking additional gameplay features.
If you are reading this and you have had your Kinect for more than a few months or if you are over the age of 28 (Kinect is awesome at college), you have likely already dismissed this title simply because of the frustration that inevitably follows most Kinect games. If, however, you are looking for a little more playability, if you are a Disney/Pixar fan, or if you are under the age of 17 then there is a lot to appreciate in this game.
Visually, the game really succeeds; Kinect Rush manages to truly create a feeling of being in the movies. The graphics are a huge improvement from what I?ve seen in other licensed titles, so much so that there are times when the line between console game and digital rendering for movie graphics begins to fade. Having your unique playable character, which is created with your actual style, helps to immerse you and really has you wanting to experience more.
The sound goes a long way, along with the graphics to putting you in the movies. Each of the areas includes music and sounds that could have come directly from the individual movies themselves! While many of the iconic voice actors do not reprise their original roles, the voice actors that were chosen could easily replace them for any sequels (I sense an affordable ?The Incredibles 2? in the future, hint, hint).
The gameplay is exactly what you would expect, a series of ?mini-game? style missions. The twist being that it is all done in 3rd person perspective, the ?mini-game? levels can take from 10-20 minutes to complete (depending on your completionist needs), and all of the interaction takes place using the Kinect. You will need to swing your arms like you?re running to move, turn your upper body to turn, jump to?well?jump, reach your arms out to grasp items or swing on ropes and use your arms as though you?re holding a steering wheel in order to drive or fly. As with any half decent Kinect title, you will get a work out from this game (it is surprising how tiring it can be to hold your hands out in front of you for upwards of 10 minutes while you haphazardly steer a plane to its doom).
The controls unfortunately, and unsurprisingly, are where some of the downfalls are found. Certainly I?m not the first to point out that the Kinect does not always work the way we hope it will?(insert any MMA title here!). And while I would like to regurgitate much of the rhetoric that has been touted in the past, I will say this?..Kinect Rush, was the first title to point out that my play area had too much back light. It seems that my open concept living room allows too much lighted space behind me for picking up some of the finer details needed for some interactions. Why this is not identified during the initial setup is beyond me and I?m certain that if more time were spent in helping people setup their Kinect there would be a lot more people enjoying the games.
Before we get too far off track?.I was able to adapt my play area to better fit, although the Kinect still lagged in picking up many of the jumps, turns and finer steering motions. For me, it really took me out of the moment?.for my kids, it would either become very frustrating (to the point of not wanting to play) or very funny (my daughters would see who would crash the most). And although you cannot lose a life or chances to try again, as you can imagine, it wasn?t too long before we were singing that old ?bad peripheral? song again.
The games saving grace, from my kid?s perspective, was the anticipation of experiencing something new. Whether familiar characters, new interactions or opportunities to play as some of the Movie?s titular characters; even after quitting in frustration, the next day my girls would ask to dive back into the game. I however, became quite content to simply let the box collect dust while waiting for my daughters to bring it up again.
All this being said, I cannot score the game poorly; it does what it was designed to do. It helps to recreate the wonder, the fantasy and the enjoyment that everyone has experienced from the original movies. It takes us, as individuals, into a world that many have dreamed of and let?s face it, all of us would like to visit. I am not the games target audience, so it is unfair to judge it based on what I want from a game therefore I will let my daughters give the final score.