The Disneyland Kinect experience was something I had been looking forward to, sadly even though I appreciated what they had done I didn’t really let it get its hooks into me. There was something missing about the whole scheme, the game was especially targeted squarely at a younger audience, but the control systems were lacklustre and the park never really seemed to come alive.
That’s the cue for Disney’s latest Pixar themed title, Kinect Rush.
Taking inspiration from the works of Pixar is certainly an inspired move, the last twenty or so years have been sprinkled with Pixar classics and as a genre defining company they are still going strong. The game in its narrative delivers a small scale Pixar theme park of sorts where your character accesses and interacts with the movies on offer, movement around Pixar Park while still having moments of frustration is handled well. As opposed to Disney’s previous vague pointing mechanic that left you standing like a teapot, the Pixar version requires pumping arms to move and a drop of the shoulder to turn. It has worked well for me so far, with the occasional upset or loss of direction. However it cannot be kept up for long given the effort vs. tropical heat in Brisbane.
The game boasts some new Kinect functionality, one of which is the easy and intuitive way that the unit scans you into the game and converts your appearance into an Avatar style character. However the first time out the game gave me an affro hairstyle instead of my usual buzzzcut. The rest of the appearance was suitable enough and converted well into tweaking the games playable personas that, delivers a little extra immersion when you are playing as an Incredible that is loosely based on your own appearance.
The game is split into five areas that are themed as parallel stories to accompany The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, Up and Toy Story. Each section is broken down into chapters which unlock as you play, the game encourages replays from the start as there are plenty of secrets and collectibles that you will need to go back and hunt for to ramp up that score.
One of the first things that struck me was the unique style of Pixar shining right through the presentation, while the graphics in the Disneyland experience were on a par with cute and colourful Disney this game looks like a Pixar movie. The character models and scenery look fantastic and because the quality is top to bottom you can feel right at home pretty quickly.
Kinect wise the game is one of the friendliest I have experienced, the movements are generally well recognised and even though their implementation can be limited across the levels they are mixed up well enough for you not to get too upset. Some moves, like flying along a zipline or climbing a wall are used effectively, whereas a controlled fall into holes and collectibles can feel somewhat disjointed. The areas and levels offer some variety, but generally the underlying goal or theme is very similar, and depending on preference you may come back to some sections more than others.
As a family title I would heartily recommend it and even though my boys are too young to participate they certainly enjoy watching me drive alongside Lightning McQueen. Which incidentally is a nifty and successful driving mechanic, far removed from those early days of the Kinect.
In short Kinect and its functionality are starting to come of age, this game is unashamed of what it is trying to be and succeeds not only because of that brazen delivery, but also thanks to some excellent licensing. I say get it and thrive on the experience of being part of some of the most entertaining movies in the last twenty years, or so.