Kinect Rush (the full title is “Kinect Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure”, but let’s just call it Rush) is the latest Disney inspired Kinect title aimed at kids and other casual gamers. I see this game as the third in the “Adventure” series, and with that the expectations for Rush are set high. The first in the adventures series was Kinect Adventures, which had fun but basic gameplay, the second one was Disneyland adventures (which was excellent) and now this is the third one. As with all the adventure games Kinect Rush is playable both in singleplayer as well in two player co-op and I had an extensive run through with both modes. Will Kinect Rush be as good as Disneyland Adventures? Find out in this extensive review!
The World of Pixar
Pixar has produced some of the most iconic 3D animated cartoons ever. Who doesn’t know movies such as Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Cars or the absolutely stunning Wall-E? In Kinect Rush you get to experience how it is to play in a Pixar themed world by jumping into five iconic Pixar environments: Toy Story, Ratatouille, Cars, The Incredibles and Up!
Once you jump into any of the games associated with these movies you will be amazed by the resemblance to these movies: The graphics, the sound effects, the characters, the voices, they all look like they are straight from the motion pictures! When looking at the game it almost feels like actually watching a Pixar movie. I was genuinely amazed at the look and feel when I first started playing Kinect Rush and the developers did an amazing job and trying to capture that true Pixar experience!
Rush to the end
In contrast to the other two “adventure” games, Kinect Rush is not really a minigame collection. The game does contain a lot of separate stages (three for each movie so fifteen in total), but in each stage the gameplay is actually very similar (only with the Cars stages the gameplay is different).
So what do you do in each of these stages? Well, that’s simple, you rush to the end! The gameplay of Kinect Rush is basically getting from A to B as fast as you can and while picking up as many coins as possible on the way. This rushing is done by moving your arms back and forward to move ahead and turning your torso to go left and right. But running is not the only thing you do, because during your course from A to B you’ll encounter many obstacles that have to be tackled in some way. You’ll be jumping, swimming, climbing, sliding, throwing, aiming, gliding, paddling and even flying. There is actually a lot of diversity in the gestures you have to make and because they all get mixed-in in quick alternation you’ll never do the same thing for too long at a time.
The course from A to B is linear, but along the way the road often splits in two or three different paths that have a different difficulty of traversing and a different amount of coins that can be picked up. This might seem all a bit boring but it’s actually quite a bit of fun to run through the stages!. This is mainly because the environments are all very dynamic in nature: There is always all kinds of stuff going on around you while running. On top of that the stages are all stunning, have their unique theme and are vivid in colors.
Although you are mostly rushing from point A to B in a fairly linear matter there are also points in the game where you suddenly have to slow down and execute some more precise movement. These sections require you to walk around in an small but open area where you have to perform some sort of task. These task always require some sort of accuracy and precision and this is exactly what this game is not made for. It can be infuriatingly impossible to get to an exact spot in the area because you can’t do any precise movements. Moving your arms a little bit can make your character spurt forward, completely missing the spot you are aiming for. The controls are great for the 90% of the game where you are just following a path, but for the other precision bits it just doesn’t work. It’s a shame that these bits were included in the game.
Kinect Rush contains a total of 15 stages, which will take you anywhere between 3 and 10 minutes to complete. So in that sense you might think that the game is a bit short and lacks content for a full fledged game. In order to compensate for this, Rush is aimed towards having the player repeat stages multiple times. The game will award you a medal at the end of each stage where you’ll be scored based on the amount of coins you picked up, and the time it took you to complete the level. Getting a platinum medal for each stage is a goal you’ll want to pursuit, but this is easier said than done. Luckily each time you complete a stage you’ll work your way towards new unlocks. These unlocks are either new skills or characters, both will help you get even more coins when replaying a stage! So in order to get fully decked out with all the skills you’ll have to play stages multiple times, and to be honest, that’s quite a fun activity to do, even when there is repetition involved.
Rush can be played in singleplayer or in multiplayer co-op mode. Of course it’s more fun to play this game with friends or family but be warned: The game gets a whole lot harder in multiplayer and your score will drop considerably because you’ll probably take far more time to complete stages. Why? Well, during most of the stages you’ll have to work together with your co-op player to progress along the course. For instance: One player has to stand in a cage, while the other pulls a lever to lift up the cage so the player in it can jump from it and open up the course. You’ll have to perfectly time these jumps too! The problem here is that in singleplayer the game takes care of the second player and makes it all rather easy. In co-op you’ll have to work together, be at the exact spot at the same time together and time jumps extremely well. Elements that took me mere seconds in singleplayer could sometimes take me up to a full minute in multiplayer! Still, other than that it is a lot harder it is actually a lot more fun to play this together, so it’s still highly recommended to play with a friend!
Kinect Rush might be one of the most physically exhausting games I have played to date. The continuous running on the spot, moving of the arms, climbing and swimming will literally kill your arms. You will seriously train your stamina and arm muscles with this so fast you might consider this game as performing a proper workout. This is great for kids (they have tons of energy anyway), but for people like me playing this game for longer than 30 minutes was hard…very hard. I had to take long breaks after certain stages because it was just too much. This might be a big pro for you (you will gain muscles, stamina and lose fat) or a con if you don’t want to play games that require too much activity. I quite liked it though, makes me feel healthy while playing video games!
Kinect tracking problems?
A lot of people complained about Kinect Rush having a lot of Kinect problems, especially with the scanning feature where Kinect scans your body and creates an avatar based on your clothes and hairstyle. I tried this Kinect scanning option numerous times and found out that it is extremely sensitive to the amount of light in the room. If you are having trouble with this scanning then take note of the light meter on the left of the screen. If this meter indicates it is too dark it really is too dark, and the scanning won’t work a bit. Add a bit more light and it works like a charm! Add too much light and it just doesn’t work anymore.
During the gameplay I also did experience some tracking problems: My character would just slow down while I was running like crazy. After a bit of fiddling around I found out that this was not based on the calibration of my Kinect sensor, but based on the dark clothes I was wearing (and the dark colored coach in the background). Switching to a light colored shirt immediately fixed any problems. So yeah, Kinect Rush does have some problem concerning the tracking, but these are also easily fixed.
Kinect Rush is a beautiful game with environments that capture the look and feel of the popular Pixar movies and make you feel like you are actually watching a Pixar production. The gameplay is frantic and although the number of stages is limited the game does a great job at motivating you to replay levels. The co-0p adds even more to this fun but unfortunately the game gets a lot more difficult when playing together. The intensity level of Kinect Rush is extremely high and you’ll have to be able to take this in order to like the game. Rush also suffers from some tracking issues and the Kinect scanning option sometimes doesn’t work at all. Still, these bugs can be fixed by adjusting clothing or the amount of light that is in the room. There are also certain elements in the game that absolutely do not match the way the controls work, and this can cause for brief moments of frustration. Fortunately these bits are rare and most of game is easy and intuitive to control. All in all Kinect Rush is a very good game with a few minor issues that can be easily overlooked. It’s not as good or big as Disneyland Adventures, but definitely worth giving a go!
This review is based on a retail copy of the Xbox 360 version of Kinect Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure
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