Kinect Rush is a Pixar themed video game suitable for all age groups
Asobo Studios, who've been responsible for other Pixar games in the past, have come up with an intriguing package that surprisingly isn't patronising towards any age group.
Sharing a structure reminiscent of Frontier's Kinect Disneyland Adventures, you start the game at Pixar Park - an amusement park that's split into five separate themed sections. These sections are based on popular Pixar films, or more specifically on The Incredibles, Toy Story, Cars, Up, and Ratatouille.
Virtual version of yourself
Your first task is to scan your face and body, after which the game presents a virtual version of yourself that you can customize to a degree. Aside from this surprisingly accurate avatar that you use to roam around the park, you're also anthromorphised into characters that fit the aforementioned five films: a robot for the Toy Story arc or a boy scout for the Up arc, for instance.
Each movie is split into three levels, with the game rounding itself out at fifteen levels in all. Kids who are otherwise found loitering around the park introduce you to these levels. While what's here does work, perhaps a lot more could have been done with the park hub. It would have been nice if there was little more to do around the park; extra activities (and god forbid, mini-games) or deeper interactions with the other kids, perhaps.
The levels all have a similar structure to them, which isn’t as bad as it may sound. They’re all perfectly compartmentalized and just right for a late evening post-school (or work) quick-dip game session, which makes sense considering how most of the levels also give you a full-body workout to boot.
Lasting eight to ten minutes long, each of these levels tells its own mini-story, usually involving your character getting caught up in a caper that’s vaguely reminiscent of events in each film. And rather surprisingly, most involve you legging it through each level and trying to hit a three-tiered objective tree along the way. And legging it is what you’ll be doing. You can walk by swinging your arms back and forth (which mostly works for a leisurely stroll in Pixar Park), but once you’re in a level proper, you’ll really need to lift those knees up and work yourself up to a steady jog.
In addition to running in place, there are also sliding sections, where you can steer by leaning with your shoulders, jumps over obstacles, balancing on tightropes, and other actions such as swimming, kayaking, chucking objects, and so forth.
To Asobo’s credit, the physical motions you use to perform each of these activities are naturally intuitive. They’re instinctive enough for kids to pick up on and accessible enough for most video game-averse grown ups to partake in.
The Cars levels are the only exception to this template, given how automobiles don’t exactly have workable appendages. So you hold your hands out instead, and steer using an imaginary wheel. It takes some getting used to but you’ll get the hang of it soon enough. There’s a good feel to the driving, with the game tracking your drifts, giving you multiple paths to experiment with, ramps to sail over, and challenging courses to slalom your way through.
New levels are unlocked as you clear earlier levels. Each level has a different set of unlocks as well, including new characters with unique abilities or gadgets that you can use to open new pathways, and lots more.
There’s an addictiveness to the unlocking, which, makes Kinect Rush a game that you’ll find yourself strangely coming back to more often that you’d think.