The official death knell of Microsoft’s Kinect 2.0 sensor last week marks Disney-Pixar Rush out as an undoubted outlier of the remastered 4K content that will appear in the Xbox One X’s wake. Originally an Xbox 360 Kinect exclusive some five years ago, the game has been given a new generation scrub, landed some traditional controls, and been pushed back out the door. With sections from Cars, Up, Toy Story, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and a brand new area from Finding Dory, these are some of the most beloved films of the last twenty years, but even with all of those modern niceties, this isn’t likely to be an essential addition to anyone but the youngest members of a household’s collection.
The character creation screen that allows you to fashion your image as a boy or girl immediately marks out the game’s intended audience, just in case you weren’t sure, while the Pixar Park hub area sees you off to play with a bunch of creative kids who each take you through an episode of your chosen film property. If you’ve still got a Kinect hooked up, the game will allow you to scan your face to give you a hand, but I’m sure you can come up with a somewhat close approximation of yourself as a child without it.
Those six films all have their own hub areas, and successfully completing a level unlocks the next in line. Cars is perhaps a little uninspired as a racing section, though it’s more about collecting gold tokens and not crashing into obstacles than it is about actually getting ahead of the other racers. It is fairly smart looking, though you can see that the last generation assets such as the racers are relatively simplistic by today’s standards. There are some good lighting and depth of field effects and they do a lot to bring it up to date, while kids will simply love being brought into the different worlds.
That goes for each of the different film licenses really, with some simplistic textures or stilted animation giving away the game’s slightly elderly underpinnings, though there’s been some good work done to cover them up. It’s no surprise that Finding Dory, the sole new section, is the most immediately impressive, though repeated areas and textures soon take the shine off it. Whether canoeing down a glistening river with Russell from Up or riding atop a remote control car alongside Toy Story’s Woody, I don’t think there’ll be any complaints over the visuals as the overarching repetitive nature of the gameplay is more likely to be its undoing.
As a former Kinect title, Rush has a consistent forward motion to each section that drives you ever onwards. Alongside Cars’ racing sections and Finding Nemo’s swimming zones, all the levels almost feel as though they’re endless runners despite the addition of traditional controls. That’s not wholly true, as various sections, whether in Toy Story, The Incredibles, Ratatouille or Up, task you with some gentle platforming challenges, but really you’re racing to get through in the quickest time and with the most coins in hand as possible.
Each film hosts three episodes, and successfully completing them while picking up coins will unlock extra abilities that enable you to reach different areas or grab hard to reach pick-ups. As an adult with some vague semblance of gaming skill, I didn’t have too much trouble achieving gold ratings in each episode, and once you’ve unlocked everything you’re rewarded with some nice concept art from each of the films. My son loved the different worlds, and the tasks were much tougher for a six year old, though whether concept art is a suitable reward for a younger player is an interesting question. Each of the film areas certainly sound the part at least, with strains of recognisable themes marrying well to the fairly close voice work. It’s just a shame that there aren’t many phrases, leading to the same ones being said over and over again.
You can probably work your way through each of the episodes in three or four hours, though you’ll still likely have scores to beat or gradings to improve, which should prompt some replay value that makes the game’s budget pricing seems just right. It feels as though the traditional controls will make it more likely that you’ll play, though losing the novelty, and fuzziness, of Kinect overall simplifies what wasn’t a particuarly challenging game to begin with. Of course, you can still play with Microsoft’s improved sensor, if you happen to be one of the few still hanging onto it.
Rush: A Disney-Pixar Adventure is a gentle set of challenges set in six of the most beloved animated movies of recent times. For the younger members of your household it’ll likely hit the mark, with attractive graphics and welcoming gameplay, but don’t expect it to offer much, if any, replay value if you’re past puberty.
Version Tested: Xbox One S