To infinity, and beyond! Or until dinner time, whichever comes first...
Written by Super User
Published Tuesday, 01 May 2012 20:00
If there is one promise that Kinect brought to the table when it launched a year and a half ago, it was the potential to be immersed into your games like never before. To actually live them, if you will. Sadly, while many have made valiant attempts, that potential has rarely been realized. The latest motion controlled release to give it a shot is the family-friendly Kinect Rush. Better yet, this one comes with a bit of an advantage in the form of the fan-favorite Pixar license. Will having the support of Russell, the Parr family, Mater, Ratatouille, and Buzz be enough to elevate Kinect Rush to King of the Kinect library?
The premise is incredibly simple: You (and a friend, should you choose, as Rush is fully playable in co-op), are young attendee(s) of a Disneyland-like hub world, and can enter each of the five animated film properties, thereby joining your favorite characters in new adventures. For example, Ratatouille will take you to the rooftops of Paris, tasking you with freeing one of your fellow rodents before the Health Inspector uses him to cause trouble. While venturing into the realm of Up will see the kids swimming, running, & jumping through the jungle in an effort to stop the helium-endowed house from floating away. In total, there are about 15 stages spread across all five films - Ratatouille, Cars, Toy Story, Up, and The Incredibles - with each lasting roughly five minutes apiece. Although it isn’t terribly robust in terms of overall length, there are plenty of coins and collectibles to nab, which opens other shortcuts in the levels, giving access to even more goodies, and bumping the replayability in the process.
"No matter if you are slapping on your superhero tights in The Incredibles, or racing a co-op buddy with Mater and crew in Cars, you can be sure to have some fun, and get one heck of a workout in the process."
Not surprisingly, the visuals are an ocular treat. Not quite on par with the computer generated eye-candy that Pixar itself is famous for, but certainly pretty enough to please young audiences. Vibrant colors and fluid animations, combined with environments true to their respective source material, bring each one of these films to life. The voicework is spot on, both in sound and manner, bringing the experience even closer to the films. The presentation as a whole does double duty here, bringing these films to life on your screen, while also drawing you headlong into each of these universes.
However, for all the fabulous ambiance Kinect Rush provides, the experience isn’t for everyone. It doesn’t take long to see that this game is certainly geared toward the 8-12 year old audience. Each unique area can be commended for their diversity in both actions and problem solving. Yet, regardless of how much running, jumping, climbing, swimming, driving, etc... that one does, anyone who has hit their teenage years (or older) will find the experience tedious after a session or two, largely due to the spotty accuracy of the motion controls. Kids may be able to overlook it, for the most part, but the older crowd won’t be as distracted by playing along with their favorite characters, and will grow tired of the control mishaps much quicker. With that said, those of you who felt a bit burned by Kinect Joyride’s more-miss-than-hit sensing ability will find a lot to be happy about with the Cars segments here in Kinect Rush. Overall, Kinect Rush shows how comfortable developers (read: those who are not BioWare, Ubisoft, or Harmonix) are getting with the sensor, and their implementation and accuracy continues to get tighter and tighter as the months roll by. Sure, it still has some ways to go (co-op was particularly touchy), but set side-by-side with the sensor’s launch line-up, it’s night and day.
Provided you fall into the target demographic, there’s a lot to love about Kinect Rush. No matter if you are slapping on your superhero tights in The Incredibles, or racing a co-op buddy with Mater and crew in Cars, you can be sure to have some fun, and get one heck of a workout in the process. Unfortunately, only the younger folks (and the die-hard Pixar fans) will find themselves sticking with it for more than a session or two. The motion controls, while accurate quite often, will still frustrate some given the untimeliness of when it does fail to recognize a given move or gesture. The selection from the Pixar vault is solid, drawing from some of the most loved of all their franchises. And to be honest, I can’t fault them for not including Finding Nemo or Wall-E (as I’m sure creating engaging gameplay would be a bit of a challenge), but the lack of A Bugs Life or Monsters Inc. is a glaring omission in my opinion; one that the rather short game length could have been better served had they included them. Ultimately, if you have young Pixar fans running around the house, Kinect Rush will make for a good time. If not, your enjoyment will be directly proportional to your love for the brand and how much you fancy jumping or waving your arms around.
And by the way, Microsoft, should there be a sequel, I have one word for you: Brave.
Release date : 2012-03-20
Publisher : Microsoft Game Studios
Developer : Asobo Studio
Gameplay : Action
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