Supported Controllers (hover for description)
Rather than letting you delve straight into the action, the first thing the game asks you to do is to scan yourself in, in order to create your character. The idea here is that by scanning you in, the game will then create a themed character for each of the films that looks something like you, turning you into a robot for Toy Story, a super hero for The Incredibles, and so on, and so forth. It sounds impressive, but even to a child, it's not all that exciting, as the only thing it really changes is the colour of the robot/car, which matches the colour of the shirt you're wearing, along with determining your character's skin and hair colour. The amount of success you have here, though, will depend a lot on your child, the clothes they're wearing, the light in your room, and how long they can stand still for without fidgeting. Get the pose right (arms out at a 45 degree angle to your sides, legs together), and it'll scan you into the game in a few seconds - hold your arm in slightly the wrong place, and it'll take at least twice, if not three times as long. And then, when it's finally scanned you in, you'll find you're left with a character that actually looks nothing like you - something which may be rather off-putting to younger, fidgety children. If the game gets something wrong (which it did for us - for both players), and you want to tweak it, too, rather than letting you edit your character manually, the game only gives you the option to scan yourself in again - which isn't really all that helpful. The ability to manually choose a shirt colour, or hairstyle when the game gets everything wrong would be much appreciated. Worse still, the female characters really don't look all that female, which may lead to a few disapproving looks from your image-conscious daughter.
After finally getting an avatar we were happy with, the game popped up and cheerily asked us if we'd like to add another player. We certainly would, and so our second player stood up, walked into the play space, got picked up by the camera, and the main player selected "Yes". We're still not entirely sure what happened next, but we somehow got stuck in an endless loop of adding a second player. For some reason, the second player was never actually added (despite our best efforts), and in the end, the main player ended up using player two's avatar. Needless to say, it doesn't exactly have the simplest of set-ups for a game that's aimed at children and families.
After having valiantly battled past the character creation, it was on to the game proper. A bit different to most other Kinect games, rather than just giving you a series of Disney themed minigames, Pixar Rush plays out a lot more like a platformer, in the vain of Super Mario Galaxy/3D Land, or the LEGO games. Giving you pretty much free control over your character, letting you go wherever you want to, it's fairly intuitive, too - twist your shoulders left and right, and your character will steer left and right. Hold your arms in front of you and wave them up and down like you're jogging (or Johnny Bravo reincarnate), and your character will move in the way he's facing. For Up, The Incredibles, Toy Story, and Ratatouille, this is the control scheme you'll be using, while for Cars, you'll have to pretend you're holding an invisible steering wheel, and tilt it left and right.
Thanks to the freedom the control scheme allows, the levels here are actually a lot more complex than in almost any other Kinect game. Asking you to leap from platform to platform, slide down zip lines, and solve rudimentary puzzles, the game asks quite a lot of you - and if you're playing on your own, for the most part, Kinect keeps up. In Ratatouille, you'll be playing as your own rat, helping Remy and friends out as you slide down Parisian roofs and swim through the sewers, whilst the Incredibles decks your superhero out with a selection of super powers, letting you lift boulders, and generally commit feats of superhuman bravery. In Toy Story, meanwhile, you play as a new toy trying to escape from the Sunnyside Day Care centre with Woody and the gang, which'll see you climbing up walls as though you're rock climbing, and balancing your way across narrow bridges. Cars, meanwhile, puts you in the wheels of a new car in Radiator springs, who gets selected to perform a number of top secret, undercover missions. All you really have to do is steer from side to side, but it's a lot of fun - and the more you play, the more power-ups you unlock, like rockets, which let you access previously inaccessible areas.
Designed to be played by two players at the same time - and featuring puzzles that require two players to solve - when you're playing on your own, an AI character will come along with you to help out where they can. As an example, on the first level of the Up section, you'll be making your way through the jungle with Wilderness Explorer Russell, who offers encouragement, and help, when you reach one of the puzzles. Asking you to climb into a cage, while the other play jumps on a pulley to lift the cage up, which then lets you leap onto a platform, and knock another cage into a tree to knock it over, it's fairly apparent that you'll need two people. Playing on your own, all you have to do is go and stand in the cage, while Russell legs it to the nearby pulley and jumps on it, lifting you to the previously unreachable ledge. With the computer characters helping you out of any pickle you may find yourself in, it actually works pretty well. Or at least, it did for us.
Giving you full control over your character, the game initially feels a lot easier to get your head around than Kinect Disneyland Adventures - and because you're keeping your arms moving more, it feels less tiring, too - but there's still a big problem. And it comes from player two. You see, in this situation, our player two has long hair, which covers her shoulders. She was also wearing a long skirt. This gave the game a two way problem. Firstly, unable to track her shoulders, it made controlling the characters incredibly hard. Always pulling off to the one side, certain sections of the game were rendered almost impossible, as she found herself endlessly running off cliffs, before giving up in a sense of hopeless frustration. Nothing in the game warned us it was her hair causing the problem. Thinking about how Kinect works, we eventually figured out that it was her flowing locks causing the confusion and tied them back. Yet Kinect still seemed to have trouble recognising her body thanks to the long skirt. Rolling her skirt up, she may have looked rather ungraceful, but at least now she could play the game - which is a tip well worth remembering, especially as the game offers no help.
Sadly, while the game's pretty good in single player (assuming you have short hair and non-loose fitting clothes) in two player co-op, things get a lot more confusing, as the problems with the control scheme quickly make themselves apparent - especially on the more puzzle based levels, like Up. Requiring one player to stand and wait in one place while the other flips a switch or pulls a lever somewhere else, there are plenty of frustrations as you position your character in exactly the right place, and then watch helplessly, standing perfectly still, as the game inexplicably starts moving you, making you walk right out of the cage you were standing in. Seemingly having trouble when players want to stay standing still, the best explanation we could have for this seemingly dodgy behaviour is that there was a bit of a crossover with registering the movements - that it was picking up player two's movement's as player one's, and vice versa - hence the character never stayed still.
Our problems make Kinect Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure a rather difficult one to rate. We're going to stick with a 7, as if you're playing on your own, have short hair, and are wearing trousers rather than a flowing skirt, the game can be a lot of fun. It's great running around an authentic looking Pixar world, populated with characters from the films - legging it across bridges with Russell, chasing after Kevin "the Girl!?"; teaming up with Mater in Cars, or helping Woody escape in Toy Story. But when it comes to playing in multiplayer, as a family - which is seemingly how the game's been designed to work, everything quickly falls apart. One for the solo players only, you may be best off taking this one in turns.
- Wonderfully recreated Pixar worlds.
- More freedom than most Kinect games, with controls that work well (assuming you're playing on your own, with short hair, and non-loose fitting clothes)
- Plenty of levels to keep you going.
- Gets confused in two player.
- Has issues with certain clothing/hair choices.
- Controls will be awkward for younger players.