STAFF REVIEW of Rush: A Disney-Pixar Adventure (Xbox One)

Thursday, November 16, 2017.
by Kirby Yablonski

Rush: A Disney-Pixar Adventure Box art Back in the days of the Xbox 360 (I can’t believe I just said that), and during the early time when the Kinect was trying to find its audience, a game touted to be Kinect friendly, as well as family friendly, was released, and that game was Kinect Rush: A Disney-Pixar Adventure. It was released in early 2012 with little fanfare. I reviewed the game way back then, and found that it was not what it could have been, with poor Kinect implementation (e.g. was too tough to control) making it a non-enjoyable experience. To tell you the truth, at that time I was going to give it a really, really low score; however, once my kids started playing (aged 6 and 8 back then) I saw that they somewhat enjoyed it, so I was not as hard as I could have been. Fast forward to present day, and the launch of the Xbox One, and Rush: A Disney-Pixar Adventure has been released, minus the Kinect in the title. It is a Xbox Play Anywhere title, so you can play it on any of the Xbox One family of consoles as well as a Windows 10 PC.

The premise is simple, you are a random child who heads on a school trip to Pixar Park. While there you meet other children who just happen to love Disney-Pixar movies and they are willing to play a ‘game/adventure’ with you in a particular Pixar universe. These include Up, Toy Story, The Incredibles, Cars and Ratatouille. To celebrate the new remastered release, the game now includes Finding Dory too. You simply walk into each area (they are very distinguishable), go the marked spot for the ‘game’, hit the “Let’s Go” command, and the child who wants to ‘play’ with you will come up and start talking as they lead you into the Pixar themed game you chose.

When you first play the game, it guides you through a simple character creation screen. There is not too much depth to this; however, it is nice that there is an option of some sort to make the experience more yours. Based on your decisions here, the game will show how you will look in the various game universes, like a toy robot in Toy Story or a racing car in Cars. It’s kind of neat, just not deep, so keep your expectations in check here.

Each Pixar movie world has three levels/adventures to play through, each taking place in the movie’s universe, but you are not playing any of the movie’s events. The new Finding Dory world only has two games for some reason, and we don’t know why, so in total you are getting a total of 17 levels/adventures to play. Personally, I found they were enjoyable for what was offered, and the fact that they were somewhat original, and not just consisting of having to play out a scenario that was actually from the movie. Yes, each mini-like game will be in the actual movie universe, and you will recognize much of what you see, but the games themselves are original and have their own simple backstory.

Each of the mini-games (or adventures if you want) are either driving or platform based. They usually consist of helping the characters from the movie in one way or another. You’ll also be collecting coins in each ‘adventure’ as well that go towards your total score at the end. For example, in Up you’ll be tasked with saving Kevin’s babies, and in Finding Dory you’ll be tasked to navigate the coral reef and ocean current while avoiding obstacles (e.g. jellyfish (‘The Jellies’)). In terms of the latter, you can only take the form of Squirt (the turtle) or Nemo himself. These ‘adventures’ are also short in length, and the faster you complete them, the better your score.

Given the fact that the game rewards you with a fast completion in each ‘adventure’, you may feel like there is not a lot here, but there actually is. Once you’ve finished all the three (or two in Finding Dory) adventures in each area, you open up new abilities, as well as secondary objectives, that help the gameplay stretch out. From being able to use an ability to reach areas you could not before, to using another character in a previously played level, there is stuff to comeback to. These will actually help you get higher scores too as you will find collecting more coins easier, and completing the new secondary objectives also rewards you with more coins that go towards your final score. Each score you get will reward you with a bronze, silver, gold or platinum medal. The better your final score, the better the medal.

Although this is a family oriented game, it really is aimed at the kids in the house. You can use a Kinect if you have one for your Xbox One, but I believe the preferred manner to play is using a controller. You’ll find driving and navigating the levels much easier, and you’ll be able to collect coins and complete secondary objectives much easier too. I really like the fact that the developers were given the opportunity come back and incorporate a controller option, and many will enjoy how better the game plays.

I played Rush: A Disney-Pixar Adventure on an Xbox One X. It has been remastered to take advantage of the new hardware, so the game is playable in 4K with HDR. I have to say that given what I remember when I reviewed this game five years ago, this current iteration does look better. It is much sharper and the colors are very vibrant and plentiful. From the deep orange hues of Radiator Springs to the bright and colorful coral that you swim through in Finding Dory, it’s all pleasant to look at. Many people may not appreciate the HDR, but I can say that the color really does pop off the screen. You feel like you are in a Pixar movie somewhat, but just not like those that you see on the BIG screen.

In regard to the sound, many of the original voice actors are back. Listen to the voices when you play any of the The Incredibles ‘adventures’ and you will recognize the voices right off the hop. I don’t know how many original voice actors did come back for the game as a whole, but there are some missing. One such example is Fin McMissile from Cars 2, who was originally voiced by Michael Caine in the movie. It’s clear that it’s not him in the game, but it is pretty close. Most of the voice work has to do with setting up each ‘adventure’ as well as concluding it. There are general sayings from the characters as you play as well. As for the rest of the sound, the music suits the theme of each area, so Cars music sounds distinctly different from Ratatouille whereas Ratatouille sounds distinctly different from Finding Dory. As for the sound effects, each one is geared towards the movie it is based off of, so in Finding Dory you’ll hear the fish swimming around you and the whoosh of the East Australian Current when you hitch a ride on it, and in Cars you’ll hear the roar of the car engines and an explosion or two. Kudos to the team at Asobo Studio for putting many of the sound assets from the movie environments into the game.

Rush: A Disney-Pixar Adventure is a good game that should be played in short spurts, given the nature of how the quicker you are, the better your score. Sure, the game isn't a heavy narrative driven experience, but for kids of all ages, maybe even those kids that may be grown up, Rush manages to provide some quick and easy entertainment for those that love everything Disney and/or Pixar. And the fact that the game has been ‘remastered’ to take advantage of the Xbox One X, as well as using a controller to play, is another plus. Rush may not be that deep platformer fans are looking for, but man, to be able to play as your own character in five of the six universes offered is fairly enjoyable, for the time that it lasts.

Overall: 6.9 / 10
Gameplay: 6.5 / 10
Visuals: 6.9 / 10
Sound: 7.2 / 10


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