|System: Xbox 360, PS3|
|Release: March 20, 2012|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Cartoon Violence|
by Angelo M. D'Argenio
Most Kinect games are poorly thought-out attempts to cash in on the motion control craze, and most Disney games are poorly thought-out attempts to cash in on movie tie-ins. Imagine my surprise when Kinect Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure turned out to be a pretty decent game. Sure, it's still a minigame compilation, so it won't appeal to the type of gamer that scoffs at anything not dressed in space marine armor, but as a simple diversion that you can play with your kids and younger siblings, it's not half bad.
Before you even get started, Kinect Rush asks you to create a character. Instead of having you scroll through a bunch of character creation options, the game simply scans your body and makes a character based on that. It's pretty cool to see a cartoonish version of yourself on the screen, and the characters the game comes up with are pretty accurate to your height, body type, hair color, and more. However, what's really cool is this character transforms as you visit the many different Disney/Pixar worlds in the game. You'll get to see yourself as a rat, a toy, a car, an Incredibles-style superhero, and a member of the cast of Up. This goes a long way toward giving you that sense of immersion. While it's designed to appeal to a younger audience, I got a big kick out of seeing myself as a Pixar character.
As I said before, this is essentially a minigame compilation, but I use the term "mini" lightly here. The game has five worlds to explore, each with around seven "adventures" to clear. These adventures can sometimes take ten minutes or longer, so you could actually consider them more like game levels, though they are tied together with only a flimsy story premise. At the end of each adventure you get a score, and if your score is high enough you'll unlock new adventures to play. Obviously, your goal is to unlock and complete every adventure in the game, and, if you are a completionist, you'll find yourself standing in front of your TV flailing your arms about for hours on end.
The controls in the game are hit-or-miss. The game is fully Kinect-controlled, but several of the adventures involve moving your characters around a 3D space as you would in an action game. Unfortunately, motion controls just don't transfer well to this type of 3D movement. While the motion-sensing capabilities are easily better than what we have seen in Kinect action games in the past, the spastic combination of arm-flailing and shoulder-swiveling never really makes you feel as if you are in control of your character.
Luckily, the developers seem to have been aware of this weakness and have designed many levels to be hard to fail. If the game asks you to follow a path or walkway, it will be suitably wide, certainly wide enough to compensate for any motion control mishaps. There are many "ski-like" sections of the game where your character constantly moves onward toward a goal and all you have to do is tilt their direction back and forth. The Cars world has you steering back and forth using hand gestures, and this works perfectly. Several adventures have areas in which you have to stop the action to solve puzzles, or where you become more concerned with throwing projectiles than moving your character. The game essentially compensates for poor character control by constantly putting you in situations where you don't need to utilize it.
One thing to note is that the game is certainly designed with children in mind. The Kinect has never done well with picking up the actions of tall people, and Kinect Rush is no exception. While my younger siblings and shorter friends seemed to have no problem controlling the game, my awkward 6' 4" body struggled to get the Kinect to recognize what I was doing. This was especially noticeable when the game asked me to jump. Quite frankly, I couldn't jump at all in my living room without smacking my head into a ceiling fan. I tried to make tiny little jittery motions that resemble jumping, but the game wouldn't have it. It wants your feet to leave the floor, no matter what injury may occur as a result.