Asobo Studios are back with another game and one that is aimed at 7 year olds and upwards featuring the Xbox 360’s Kinect device. This one is themed around some of the colourful Disney Pixar movies which includes The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, Up and Toy Story. The game offers a variety of scenarios which can be played from a main hub both solo or with a friend, and whilst a lot of fun, does give players a bit of a workout too. Cute and colourful graphics aside, is this latest Kinect game worth the investment for the younger gamers out there?
To begin, players choose a profile and then get scanned which enables the game to create a character based on your skin tone and colour of your clothing to add a personal touch. There’s good reason for creating an avatar because the way the game is set up has your avatar interacting with other kids in a hub world called Pixar Park where you’re free to swing your arms and turn to the sides to move around freely – which actually works very well aside from turning sharply being awkward. From the offset you’re able to head off to one of the five worlds where you’ll meet another child who effectively is imagining his or her own scenario. You’ll then hop into their world based on the theme of the current area you’ve chosen for some crazy kinect gaming. There are three different scenarios per world to gain silver, gold or platinum medals on, and to do this you need to score highly by performing tasks and collecting gold coins scattered around the levels.
Most, if not all of the stories follow a similar pattern where you’re a new character (based on your colours you’ve scanned at the start) working alongside familiar characters from the movies. So if you’re playing Cars for example, you’ll be racing/driving alongside the likes of Mater and Finn McMissile. If you collect enough hidden medallions you’ll also unlock main characters such as Lightning Mcqueen in Cars.
Kinect Rush places players into various scenarios requiring a number of actions such as the aforementioned running movement, jumping, swinging on ropes, climbing, swimming, dodging, throwing and even skiing motions. There’s a lot on offer here, and although you’re repeating actions across levels, the way they have been cleverly interwoven into the scenarios is engaging and make sense. As mentioned you do get a work out, but most levels are pretty short to cater to younger, more wandering attention spans.
Kinect Rush is vibrant and colourful making it well suited to the audience it’s targeted towards and of course in keeping with the animated movies the game is based on. If you’re a fan, then you’ll no doubt be pleased at how well the graphics convey the quality of the movies as they are drenched in familiarity.
The audio is also well in keeping with the movies, although it’s not clear whether all of the original voice cast from the movies was used. That said, the voices are well acted and it’s likely kids won’t be able to tell the difference anyway especially if they are concentrating on completing objectives. The overall sound effects are well balanced, and the music fitting to the overall theme so nothing to complain about here.
In terms of length, Kinect Rush’s levels can be beaten pretty quickly especially if you’re a more experienced gamer – which is perhaps the game’s biggest downfall. That said, you are encouraged to replay levels again as you are awarded extra abilities which can open up new routes/areas. There’s a lot of extras hidden under the surface such as awards which you can share using Kinect Share, and some hefty achievements for unlocking characters and getting the most out of each scenario. It’s clear the game’s length is aimed at younger audiences who might not be spending several hours in one session, and with the chance of being able to team up with another player adds some much needed legs to proceedings.
In closing, Kinect Rush is an entertaining game which works well and uses Kinect in some delightful ways. Cars is the most stand out of the five worlds on offer simply because the action of driving is well realised and different in contrast to the others which require very similar actions. Younger gamers familiar with the movies will have a blast, but older gamers might find what’s on offer a touch too easy once the basics have been nailed. Sadly once the five levels have been bested it’s going to take some real determination to replay levels to unlock all of the game’s rewards – which is probably going to be lost on the 7 year olds, and perhaps a bit fiddly for those who are a bit older. Is the game worth picking up? Yes if you want to keep younger minds occupied for a while, but the lack of depth and challenge for older kids might mean they get bored after the initial few hours play. It’s a good game only hampered by a lack of challenge and diversity. Some more mini games would have perhaps added a bit more life to the package. Kinect Rush is a likeable, colourful game but can only be recommended as a try before you buy rather than an essential Kinect purchase.