The arsenal of games for the Kinect just took on a significant upgrade with the Kinect Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure. The game is a series of mini games based on the popular Pixar animations: The Incredibles, Toy Story, Up, Ratatouille and Cars.
Upon launch, the game begins by doing a 'scan' of your body to create an in-game avatar. Once your avatar is created, you are inserted into the Pixar Park, where you interact with other children in the park. Now from our time with the game, we felt that the game overall was designed as a multi-player environment, but in case you play by yourself, an AI will take the place of the other player.
The Pixar Park has areas designed after the five movies the game is based on. The players are in "free-roam" mode and can go from one part of the park to the next. We started with running over to the area designated for The Incredibles.
Once at the game area, we teamed up with an AI and were "teleported" into the Incredibles environment. The first thing we noticed how our character was uniquely dressed up as a character that could be identified with the characters from the movie itself.
The first mission seemed to be more of a training mission, geared towards getting us familiar with the motion controls that applied to the game. However, it did not feel like an instructional set at all. The mission does follow a story line that seems to be a continuation of sorts from the movie itself.
The opening mission of the Incredibles required some rather elaborate movements that required not only speed, but also agility. It's interesting to see just how much of a workout this game was, helping break the whole 'lazy-gamer' stereotype. We experienced absolutely no lag as far as controls were concerned and the on-screen instructions were for controlling the character were amazingly easy to follow.
Each mission of the game requires the player to not only complete the objective of the mission, but also collect various tokens throughout the game-play that help unlock characters and achievements at the end of the mission. Successfully completing a mission also unlocks the next stage of the game-play for that particular game.
Successful completion of the mission sends the player back into the Pixar Park, where they can free-roam, interact with the other AI (in case of single player mode) or other players (in case playing multiplayer) and proceed to other areas of the park designed after other Pixar movies.
We encountered a little bit of a problem with controls when playing the Cars game. It seems that the only way to drive in the game is by extending your hands the way you would if you were holding a steering wheel. While this does give a rather life-like feel, the problems comes in after a few minutes of game-play when the stress on the biceps can get excruciatingly painful, especially for little children. We figured a more comfortable way would be to tuck in the biceps an just extend the forearms. Doing so eliminated most of the strain and allowed Kinect to still pick up our movements perfectly.
Next we hopped over to the Toy Story area of the Pixar Park, since we had been very eager to see what the game would be like given its Kinect integration. In Toy Story, we don the roll of a robot toy on a mission to help out Mr. Pricklepants. As you go through the various missions, the game will have you pick up and throw objects, dodging obstacles and even zipping on clothes lines.
Of course, this game too follows Pixar's long standing tradition of the buddy system and pairs you up with any of the many characters from the movie. As you go along, you unlock characters, including Buzz Lightyear. One round of Toy Story later and we found ourselves looking for something to sit on. Besides being a child's game, it could clearly double up as a workout routine.
While Toy Story was definitely our favorite, we couldn't help but wonder what the streets of urban Paris would look like from the perspective of everyone's favorite mouse. As soon as our Toy Story mission was finished and goodies were unlocked, we moved onto the French theme park to engage ourselves in the world of Ratatouille.
The game pairs us up with a familiar face from the movie and our first mission is to get to Linguini as fast as possible to warn him about the health inspector who is about to visit their restaurant. But it's not as simple as that. You must dodge people trying to swat you with a mop, slide down roofs and even hose pigeons who often tend to block your way. Time is of the essence and the sooner you get to Linguini, the more points you earn. We're not going to lie, something about taking a slide down a French rooftop made us wish it wasn't just a game we were playing.
After experiencing the French rooftops, we moved on to experience the adventure that was the movie Up! The movie brought an old heartbroken man together with a young boy with an insatiable thirst for adventure and the game replicates the same environment for us.
Up takes a slightly different approach to game play as compared to Toy Story, and requires less of vigorous and strenuous movements, but more of puzzle solving. However, there are portions of the game that require you to jump over gaps, which can sometimes be frustrating if you fall through one them and have to wait a few seconds till you can try again. One of the many fun parts was swinging from vine to vine in order to get though the level, making us feel a little like Tarzan at one point.
All the mini-games are based on movies and offer a gaming experience that very effectively immerses the player in the movie-like environment. Everything fits, from the story-line, to the look and feel, to the character voices. One of the best things about Kinect Rush, besides the immersive experience, is the exclusion of the concept of "player health, allowing children to play endlessly without worrying about the dreaded "game-over" screen.
The graphics of Kinect Rush follow the same design principles as other Kinect games, that is, it looks a little cartoon-ish. This works really well given that the premise of the games is based on animated movies. Graphically, the game doesn't offer anything new or groundbreaking, but maintains the high quality visual experience that can be expected from a Kinect game.
The musical score for the Kinect Rush is again divided up into various genres, each one composed specifically to fit the game you are playing. The musical score lends beautifully to the immersive experience that is otherwise offered by the individual games.
Kinect Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure is an exclusive Xbox 360 title, designed to take full advantage of the Kinect sensor that has made the console so popular in modern times. It's amazing how Asobo Studios has managed to incorporate s many varying gaming styles and experiences into one package.
Each mini game is based on five Pixar moves and offers very unique missions and achievements that the player can unlock as they go along. The free-roam concept lends the game sort of an RPG-like feel, as does the ability to converse with the other AI in the game.
Overall we feel that just like the Pixar movies are enjoyed by both children and grown-ups alike, Kinect Rush would definitely be a hit with all age-groups.