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June 2019

Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure

Platform(s): Xbox 360, Xbox One
Genre: Casual
Publisher: Microsoft
Developer: Asobo Studio
Release Date: Oct. 31, 2017


Xbox One Review - 'Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure'

by Cody Medellin on Dec. 14, 2017 @ 1:00 a.m. PST

Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure lets you team up with characters from The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Up!, Cars and Toy Story to race against time and solve time-based challenges without leaving your living room.

When Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure released on the Xbox 360 in 2012, it used the familiar minigame idea that was popular with most Kinect games and gave it a heavy coat of Pixar-themed trimmings from five of its most popular films. It was an enjoyable experience for younger gamers, but it was also rather short, relying on replaying levels to uncover secret paths and getting a higher score to extend the experience. Five years later, on the eve of the Xbox One X release, the game has returned with the expected 4K and HDR bump as well as controller support and a PC version courtesy of the Xbox Play Anywhere initiative.

While there's no real story here, there's just enough of an idea to get things going. You're a kid on a field trip to Pixar Park, a playground where kids hang out and play games based on their favorite Disney/Pixar movies. The good news is that all of the stories are rather simple and are original tales rather than recreations of the movies. There are six movies to play around in, with "Finding Dory" being an exclusive addition to this version. The rest of the films consist of some older films from "Cars," "The Incredibles," "Ratatouille," the "Toy Story" series, and "Up."

You start with a character creation system that lets you choose between a boy or girl done up in the traditional Pixar style. From there, you select clothes, whether or not you want glasses, and the colors for those things. While the character creation system isn't very deep, you won't mind since the game transforms that color scheme into a special version, depending on the film you're playing. You might not see much of yourself if you're playing as a rat in "Ratatouille," but at least your car in "Cars" will have your clothing color scheme. It's a nice touch, but it's a little disappointing to see "Finding Dory" opt out of that, resorting instead to you choosing between the young clown fish Nemo and the baby sea turtle, Squirt.

Once you reach the park, there's nothing to do in the park itself, even though it's a hub world. You can't do much except for run to the section of the park with the movie world you want, stand on the spot for your minigame, and listen to the kid set up the scenario. It's nice to give the player someplace to run before jumping into the activities, but without secondary things to obtain or explore, the area feels rather lifeless.

No matter which movie and activity you pick, you're essentially playing a 3-D platformer with an emphasis on forward momentum and jumping. There's no combat to speak of, so most of your time is spent avoiding obstacles while diving, driving, swimming, or running into coins. There's some variety, such as having to throw heavy objects to break others, blocking a switch, or using ramps and ziplines to traverse the environment. For the most part, you can treat this like an endless runner — except you have to push forward on the stick or pull the right trigger to run.

All you need is one go at any of the stages to realize that Rush was made for and designed with young kids in mind. This is evident when you realize that the game has no fail state. Despite some of the courses feeling like races, both your computer-controlled companion and your chase target will slow down and wait for you if you're bumping into too many things. The game also does a good job of giving you many chances to proceed, even to the point where it'll give you the option of skipping a section if you're making too little progress. Though the courses initially lack any challenge, it appears in the form of a medal rank for each stage. While you'll always get the bronze by default and anyone with a little skill can earn a silver medal, it's nearly impossible to earn a gold your first time out unless you're lucky enough to find all of the shortcuts.

While the game is simple enough to get into due to its lack of complicated mechanics, it's also a short experience. With 17 stages in total and each stage only taking a few minutes to complete, it takes less than two hours to run through the whole game. To compensate, the game expects you to run through stages multiple times to gain enough points to unlock a new character or new powers, the latter of which is essential in opening up shortcuts and improving your time to get better medals. That seems nice until you realize that the courses don't change much, no matter how many shortcuts you find, so the game's only enjoyable for young kids since they don't mind repetition.

While the game was originally designed with the Kinect in mind, it benefits greatly from having standard controller support. All of your movements and actions are responsive, and while the driving can sometimes be a bit slippery, the overall accuracy of the controls is a huge boon. Kinect controls are still here, and it behaves as it did before, so you'll be grateful for the game's low difficulty level since motion controls lead to imprecise movement that's more tiring than fun to use.

As far as presentation goes, Rush remains awesome in the audio department. Most of the original voice actors have returned to reprise their roles, so the game is authentic as possible in that regard, which is a big thing in kids' games. The music is also perfect, since they're snippets from the tunes in the movie, and passing by while they play in the park is charming. The voices for the kids, however, are generic enough that you'll be glad when they stop talking. The lack of different voice clips overall means that you'll get repeated lines far too often, even in just one level.

Graphically, Rush is fine in most areas. Bright colors are used everywhere, with the "Cars" levels being a big standout due to the vast amount of neon and particles. Meanwhile, the rest of the environments look stunning, especially the underwater ones for "Finding Dory," which have a lot of movement and life. Everything looks just like their film counterparts, and while there hasn't been anything done to upgrade the models, the resolution boost helps quite a bit. The game moves at 30fps at almost all times on the Xbox One, and while the boost to 60fps might make the PC the go-to machine for the game, the constant stuttering and frame rate issues make it more difficult to play there overall.

Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure is a game with lots of heart but very limited appeal. The stages are fun enough if you're looking for something simple, and the lack of failure states means that younger ones who are getting used to video games won't experience frustration often. However, the stages lack any variety or challenge, and the small amount of content means that only those who don't mind repeating the same stage will be fine with the game. For everyone else, it makes for a decent rental but nothing more.

Score: 6.5/10

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