Do you remember a time when one of the largest companies in the world thought that we'd enjoy playing games without any sort of precision, waving our arms all over the place and redecorating our living rooms? Kinect may sound like a terrible idea in hindsight, but for a while there Microsoft truly believed in its potential. They actually stuck with it for far longer than anyone thought, but as they included the new model with every Xbox One the company quickly became aware that they'd overstayed their welcome and, eventually, retired the Kinect.
Over the years and in spite of the limitations of the hardware, there were a number of worthwhile Kinect games. The Harmonix-developed Dance Central is still one of the best dance games ever made, and Kinect Star Wars was decent. Kinect Adventures also entertained at times and there were a few exercise games that had merit. A title you may have forgotten that also had us entertained was Kinect Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure.
It was originally released for Xbox 360, but now it has been re-released on Xbox One. The original offered five Pixar franchises turned into mini-games, and it should be stated right off the bat that the controls are much improved compared to the original thanks to controller support. The concept is that you're in a theme park of sorts that works like a somewhat hub world where you then make your way to the attraction you want to play. You're also joined by a virtual playmate who wants to show you around. You can play mini-games based on Up, Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3, The Incredibles, Cars, Cars 2, and Ratatouille, oh and Finding Dory has been added to the Xbox One version.
This is primarily a game designed for young kids and you'll get to customise your avatar, who will then be made to look like a superhero in The Incredibles and a car in Cars. It's not exactly cutting edge character creation, but you can pick skin colour, hair and gender, which may be enough here when you consider the audience.
One thing that's appreciated is the option of playing cooperatively. Each level has puzzles you can tackle with a friend in order to progress. These are usually fairly straightforward objectives, but it's fun that cooperation is encouraged instead of it simply being a competition. There is also reason to replay the levels multiple times as new areas to explore, side objectives, and even new characters are introduced. Children typically don't mind repetition too much, but this makes it more interesting for the potential adult who's playing along.
As previously mentioned, Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure is a collection of mini-games that offers plenty of variation, but the games themselves aren't all that mini either. They are naturally based on the movies in question and so you'll be racing in Cars, and enjoying an underwater adventure as none other than Nemo. In most cases, it means simple platforming levels, and we reckon the best of the bunch is the one based on Ratatouille, which is a sort of mini-adventure where you progress through a kitchen and sewers.
The level of challenge is not set very high with the intended audience in mind, and if you against all odds happen to get stuck somewhere you're given the option of bypassing the segment in question and just move on. If you want to unlock everything and get the coveted gold medal in each level it's going to take a lot more effort, though, and doing that is likely to prove a challenge even for more veteran gamers.
From a purely graphical perspective, this game has been upgraded to 4K resolution (on Xbox One X, the console we tested it on) and there's HDR support (on X and S), which works wonders for the visuals. However, polygon models and the basics are still fairly primitive, which makes sense given the origins of this collection. If we're generous we could say that the game reminds us of a Nintendo title in the looks department, but it would have been more exciting to see a game based on the Pixar titles that truly pushed the hardware and thus lived up to the fantastic visuals the movies treat us to.
Another drawback stemming from the age of the product (half a decade is an eternity in this business) is that the movies that are included feel a bit old. We still love them (of course), but surely it would have been a more appealing package with properties like The Good Dinosaur, Inside Out, Brave, or, for that matter, the recently launched Coco. For the intended audience, some of these movies are perhaps a bit too old, with the exception of Cars which truly feels ageless (no doubt thanks to all those sequels).
This is a re-release which lacks that little extra spark that turns something decent into a recommended buy. It's got enough appeal to entertain for a while, but unlike the competition from Nintendo, the many Skylanders games, Super Lucky's Tale or TT's many Lego titles, it simply doesn't have the lasting appeal that will make younger players want to revisit it over and over again. Instead, we're left with a pleasant Pixar snack, a bit like finding an old collection of Disney movies in the bargain bin. Enjoyable, but nothing extra.