Rush Extends Kinect’s Reach

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Kinect Rush ($49.99 on Amazon) is the next big game for the Xbox 360′s Kinect controller. We had some hands-on time with the game and spoke to Jay Ward from Pixar about the development. As well as finding out about the new Kinect Rush game we also put some questions to him about Pixar’s perspective on gender, guns and the more convoluted storyline of Cars 2.

Kinect Rush is more than Disneyland Adventures for Pixar films. It brings both ambition and common sense to steer the Cars, Toy Story and Incredibles themed exploration and adventuring in an engaging direction.

All but the most dedicated families will be struggling to keep up with Microsoft’s Kinect games (from $19.99 on Amazon). After the initial blush of titles like Kinect Adventures, Dance Central, and Kinect Sports came a range of third-party offerings that worked because they created genuinely new ways to play: Kinectimals, Fruit Ninja, Leedmees, and GunStringer to name a few.

Then came a second wave of Kinect games that stretched the technology further. Whether it was Disneyland Adventure‘s open world exploration, Once Upon A Monster‘s interactions for pre-schoolers or Just Dance 3‘s four player support, these games changed the definition of what a Kinect game could be.

These are not without their shortcomings or challenges. Each step forward into increased interactivity comes with more demands on the sometimes fussy Kinect controller. In the home it can take a while to get it setup perfectly, although the reward in terms of game-play is usually worth it.

Limited Edition Star Wars 360Limited Edition Star Wars 360

Limited Edition Star Wars 360

Now we have what might be called a third wave of games that build on earlier successes and broaden the range of franchises as well as the demographic. Their challenge is to bed down the more ambitious gestures that Kinect now identifies and find a happy balance between ambition and reliability.

While I’m really looking forward to Kinect Star Wars and its awesome limited edition Xbox 360, I was still excited to spend time with Kinect Rush, the first new Kinect game from Microsoft this year.

Rush‘s marketing copy makes it sound like a Pixar-ification of Disneyland Adventures, but while the main structure and approach is heavily informed from previous successes, it actually walks its own path and introduces both innovation and refinement.

Partnering with Pixar, Microsoft brings the polish and flare of Disneyland Adventures to a Pixar virtual world. Five of the Pixar films take the stage: The Incredibles, Up, Cars, Ratatouille and Toy Story. Each offers a unique adventure tied to the related film as well as a set of un-lockable upgrades that players can win and apply to their characters – from rockets to jetpacks.

Kinect RushKinect Rush

Kinect Rush

Beyond all these technical concerns the most engaging aspect of Kinect Rush is the prospect of spending more time in these Pixar worlds. Although most have had games before, but there is something about playing hands free in Ratatouille‘s Paris or Toy Story‘s wild west or The Incredibles‘ remote island that my kids find really exciting.

They roundly enjoyed Disneyland Adventures and dipping into different parts of the Disney stories, but Kinect Rush‘s ability to bring them into the world as well as the story is an intelligent next step for these kinds of experiences.

With Kinect Rush being released in the UK on 23rd March for RRP 39.99, it won’t be long before you can try it out for yourself. This is another game that I’ll be trying out on our Family Gamer TV families and will report back in the next show with first hand footage of how they get on.

Read my full Kinect Rush preview.

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