Last year, Xbox 360 owners were treated to a magical journey through Disney's Magic Kingdom in "Kinect Disneyland Adventures." Now, Microsoft's motion-tracking sensor is giving gamers the chance to step inside some of the most beloved franchises from Disney partner Pixar Studios.
"Kinect Rush: A Disney-Pixar Adventure" combines the Kinect's full-body gaming controls with the power of Pixar to create a family-friendly experience that is hampered by some awkward design choices. There is plenty of fun to be had with "Kinect Rush," but a certain amount of patience is required to find it all.
Despite coming from a different developer, "Kinect Rush" feels an awful lot like "Disneyland Adventures." Whereas "Disneyland Adventures" used the iconic theme park as a central hub from which you could venture off and discover Disney characters and engage in a variety of mini-games, "Kinect Rush" is built around a playground, Pixar Park, that contains unique areas representing each of the five Pixar franchises featured - "The Incredibles," "Toy Story," "Ratatouille," "Up!" and "Cars." And rather than encountering characters from these films to trigger mini-games, you meet up with other kids who invite you to join them on their make-believe escapades.
Unfortunately, navigating the playground is an exercise in frustration. Moving your avatar around the environment is done by waving your arms up and down, and changing direction is accomplished by rotating your torso left or right. In theory, it sounds like a simple-enough method to get from Point A to Point B, but the execution left much to be desired. I often found myself running in circles and my kids - the game's target audience - quickly grew tired of the unintuitive controls.
Once I got into the actual mini-games, things handled better. Whether it was steering around Radiator Springs in "Cars" or helping Woody and Buzz in "Toy Story," the controls were mostly responsive and easy to understand. Movement was still an issue - especially during the platforming sequences in "Toy Story" - but the Kinect sensor did a good job of interpreting my motions for jumping and climbing. The ability to play with a friend in co-op mode added to the enjoyment, and it was fun watching my boys work together to solve problems in "The Incredibles" games.
"Kinect Rush" isn't without its faults - most notably the controls -- but even with those blemishes, this remains a solid choice for anyone with a Kinect sensor, young gamers to entertain and a love of Pixar's distinct style of animation.
Developer: Asobo Studios
Publisher: Microsoft/Disney Interactive
Available for: Kinect for Xbox 360 ($49.99)
Rating: E for everyone