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The Best Exercise Games for the Xbox Kinect

Review of Kinect Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure

Posted by steve on May - 26 - 2012 with 1 Comment

Kinect Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure

The best Kinect fitness game so far for younger ones

Kinect Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure is one of the best games so far for younger players from age 5 to 10, and one that can be thoroughly enjoyed by the whole family.

Rating by steve: 4.0 stars
****

As I mentioned in my review of Kinect Star Wars, movie tie-in games have never been my favorites. Ever since they released ET for the Atari 2600, it seems that game companies have tried to compensate for the high licensing costs of a game by providing rushed and sub-par gameplay.

I am very, very happy to say that Kinect Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure takes this mold and breaks it into a thousand pieces. From the authentic graphics to the voice acting, this game does a phenomenal job of accurately capturing the fun and personality of five Pixar series of movies (Toy Story, Cars, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and Up).

You start out by posing for the Kinect camera. Magically, the system will transform you into a character in the Toy Story universe. While this is a cool concept, in reality it didn’t quite work as well as I thought for me (it made me an African-American when I’m not one). Although some others have reported that their Pixar characters come out uncannily close to reality.

The premise of the game is simple. You enter a “park” where you can travel to different worlds in the Pixar universe. If this sounds a lot like Disneyland Adventures, it’s because it is. But right away I noticed improvements over Disneyland Adventures. For one thing, to walk around you actually move your arms forward and back as if you’re really walking, and you turn your body to turn, unlike mechanics of the Disneyland game where you have to awkwardly point where you want to go. Not only is this a much more natural way to get around, you also get a decent workout from it.

The graphics don’t match the million-dollar rendering of the Pixar movies, of course, but they come close. You can tell a lot of love went into rendering the different environments and keeping them true to the original movies.

Each Pixar movie world has a number of adventures you can complete. Here are some videos where you can see the detail of the graphics and the authenticity of the voice acting (which in most cases were done by the original stars).

Toy Story

Cars

The Incredibles

Up

Ratatouille

As varied as the environments are, the gameplay is pretty much identical in all the games. Your character makes his or her way through the different worlds (there is a limited amount of freedom of movement from side to side, but for the most part it’s an on-rails kind of game). Along the way, you’ll walk by swinging your arms, you’ll sometimes climb walls by simulating a climbing motion, you’ll jump from time to time. At certain parts of certain games you’ll even drive by holding an imaginary steering wheel in your hands or fly by holding your arms out or glide down a rope by holding onto it.

Throughout some games there are difficult challenges, none of which are too hard to figure out. For the first Toy Story game, you need to find batteries and throw them to another character (if you’re playing two-player mode both players have to participate; if you’re playing one-player mode the computer will control the other character). During the Ratatouille game you need to figure out how to scare off pigeons, which you can do by lifting a fire hose and spraying them. During the Incredibles game, at one point you need to pick things up and hurt them at evil robots. The movements are all very intuitive, and there are plenty of hints. And of course, as made popular with Lego video games there are coins to be collected all along the way.

In all honesty, for adults the play gets pretty repetitive. It’s just the same motion over and over for every game and the “puzzles” aren’t very challenging at all.

But what makes the game a little tedious for adults is exactly what makes it engaging for kids. Kids who may have been frustrated by other games like Kinect Sports and Dance Central will love this one because they can easily master the moves needed and use them for game after game. The motion detection is definitely more accurate than a lot of Kinect games, and the movements are extremely intuitive.

What I think everyone will enjoy is the immersion into the various Pixar worlds. Playing this game makes a nice diversion versus popping the DVD in and watching it for the hundredth time. You really feel like you’re in the movie world, interacting with the characters. As with a lot of these movie tie-in games, the storyline isn’t going to win any writing awards, but on the other hand they’re definitely appropriate for their respective Pixar worlds.

As for the exercise value, I’d say it’s light to moderate. Playing it, I never wore myself out as I did playing games like Kung Fu High Impact or Kinect Star Wars, but it did get me moving. I imagine that some younger kids who really “get into it” will get a sizable workout.

Overall, if you’re a parent of young kids I’d put this in the “must have” column. Same if you’re a die-hard fanatic of everything Pixar. This one is a winner.