"Kinect Rush." Image: Amazon.com
Let me start off by saying I'm a huge proponent of Microsoft's Kinect sensor. The technology, although in its infancy, has such great potential. I can't imagine the things players will be able to do in the next few years as it gets fine tuned and updated. Right now, however, most of the Kinect games are hit or miss.
With last year's "Disneyland: Kinect Adventures," players had a fun and somewhat inspiring use of the technology. Trying to capture lightning in a bottle twice, Microsoft has recently released "Kinect Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure," but unfortunately, the lightning doesn't spark as bright the second time around.
"Kinect Rush" involves Pixar's family favorites: "Toy Story," "The Incredibles," "Cars," "Ratatouille" and "Up." Players will get to either team up with or control some of their favorite characters from the movies and head out on zany platforming adventures. The game centers on Pixar Park, the central hub of all things Pixar. It's pretty straight forward here. Walk around, interact with different characters, have adventures, and then repeat.
Before even starting the game, the Kinect will scan your face and create a unique avatar for you to use. This is what I am talking about in terms of the potential of this technology. It's such an understated feature, but exceptionally cool and fun.
As I stated in my "Kinect: Star Wars" review, the sensor can get a tad twitchy at times. It can mistake one gesture for another or not recognize things at all. It's not something that happens all the time, but it happens enough. At times I would want to throw the controller, but then I'd remember I was the controller, so I'd just end up sitting down.
Since the game has a lot of platforming elements (jumping from place to place, collecting coins, etc.) you need solid controls. Swing the wrong way or move slightly out of step, and your on screen persona might end up missing their mark.
"Cars!" Image: Amazon.com
I seem to have an affinity for anything that has to do with racing. I highly enjoyed the pod-racing in "Kinect: Star Wars" and again, I enjoyed the "Cars" driving levels here. The controls were pretty spot on, and even as an adult, I found myself really getting into it. It would have been better if the developers included more of these racing levels.
"Rush" manages to hold its own quite nicely in the graphics department. I was pleasantly surprised at the character detail and level design. Combined with decent sound design, players will enjoy being immersed in the game world that has been created.
"Kinect Rush" is nowhere near refined as its "Disneyland" counterpart. The controls are buggy at times and frustrating at others. The racing portions are fun, but unfortunately they are few and far between. Kids will love this game. They will love playing as and with their favorite characters, in the worlds they've grown to love. Older fans might find it interesting at first, but the twitchy controls might put most people off.
Microsoft has the right idea when it comes to the Kinect sensor. I feel with some more time put into developing high quality games, we'll get some really innovative stuff to play with. Right now however, we're not quite there yet. As Buzz Lightyear would say, "To infinity and beyond"…that's right, I said it!