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Rush: A Disney/Pixar Adventure Xbox review – A Kinect classic returns with controller support

A former Kinect game returns with 4K support and physical controls!

Six years ago, Microsoft pumped out some interesting Kinect-exclusive Xbox 360 games. But one thing held these games back: clunky Kinect controls. Now one of those exclusives is back, as Rush: A Disney-Pixar Adventure (still a terrible title). With levels based on six Pixar properties and Xbox Play Anywhere support, this is a great game for Disney fans – and it can finally be played with a controller!

Welcome to Pixar camp

Rush: A Disney/Pixar Adventure for Xbox One

Rush: A Disney-Pixar Adventure takes place at a Pixar-themed park, where kids can pretend to be part of their favorite Pixar movies. The park has six playground-ish areas devoted to specific Pixar franchises. It's populated by non-interactive kids who all look the same (other than hairstyles, and skin and clothing colors).

You can walk up to each movie's area and initiate the corresponding minigames, but that's it. Since the hub world doesn't serve any purpose besides establishing atmosphere, the time-saving option to select each game from a menu (as Disneyland Adventures offers) would have been nice.

Rush: A Disney/Pixar Adventure for Xbox One

Before you enter the park, you need to create a character. The part selection is unusually skimpy – you can select skin colors, but there's no pale skin option, for instance. And the models are a bit ugly, so your custom child probably won't look great when you're done.

Every time you select your character (custom or preset), the game runs through a montage of how the character will look in the different minigames: a superhero, car, rat, scout, and toy robot. The montage should really be skippable since it lasts for several seconds and never changes.

Six worlds to explore

Rush: A Disney/Pixar Adventure for Xbox One Cars

Rush features six worlds based on the following Pixar franchises:

  • Cars.
  • Finding Dory.
  • The Incredibles.
  • Ratatouille.
  • Toy Story.
  • Up.

Each world has three levels (except for Finding Dory, which only has two), for a total of seventeen levels. Every movie's world is basically a tiny game based on that franchise, with gameplay tailored specifically to it. So Cars is an arcade-style racing game in which your car must first try out for Lightning McQueen's team and then take place in espionage-themed missions based on the second Cars film. The handling is a bit too fiddly, but it's still pretty fun little racer.

Rush: A Disney/Pixar Adventure for Xbox One Finding Dory

Finding Dory is brand new to the Xbox One and Windows 10 versions of Rush. Instead of playing as a custom character, you simply choose to play as either Nemo the fish or Squirt the sea turtle. This one has full 3D steering, with the right trigger accelerating forward as in the Cars levels. Swimming around underwater environments with control of all three axes might be too complex for small children, but older kids and adults will be fine.

Rush: A Disney/Pixar Adventure for Xbox One Up

The other movies' levels are primarily 3D platformers. You run, jump, swing from ropes, and more as you team up with NPCs and act out scenarios from each movie. In Up, the player and Russell get to chase after Carl's house, escape from Muntz's zeppelin, and more. The Incredibles has you teaming up with Violet to avoid nasty hazards, rescue Mirage, and battle a spider-like Omnidroid. Toy Story involves helping Woody rescue the porcupine toy nobody cares about from Al (the guy in the chicken suit from Toy Story 2). And you rescue a rat in jar and paddle through a sewer in Ratatouille.

The fact that Rush's levels aren't just minigames is its greatest strength. Instead of just doing movie-ish things like in Disneyland Adventures (which also just came to Xbox One and is great), these levels feel like proper adaptations of the movies. Their atmospheres are perfectly captured with beautiful graphics, spot-on sound (mostly using the real movie voice actors), and great level design. Because there are only three levels per film, none of them wears out its welcome – you can have a blast even if you don't care about the rat movie or Larry the Cable Guy pretending to be a mentally-handicapped truck (instead of a mentally-handicapped comedian).

Rush: A Disney/Pixar Adventure for Xbox One Incredibles

Each level has a fair bit of replay value, too. The points you earn from collecting coins and completion time at the end of the level fill up a reward meter for that level. You'll unlock secondary objectives (such as trapping Muntz's dogs in Up), new moves, and new helper characters from the films. These open up different areas, a la Metroid, and increase scoring potential, so you can finally achieve Gold and Platinum medals. Each level also hides four hidden collectibles that unlock the ability to play as characters from the films.

Co-op adventures

Rush: A Disney/Pixar Adventure for Xbox One split-screen

After selecting your character and save-file at the beginning, the game asks if anyone else would like to play. Rush supports two-player split-screen co-op in both the park and all movie-themed levels. The process of signing in a second Kinect player was terrible on Xbox 360, but all that frustration is eliminated here thanks to improved Kinect performance and especially the ability to just join in with a second controller. The second player can drop in or out at any time.

Bringing along a partner actually makes the game play a little differently, as most levels have one or more simple co-op puzzles. These tend to involve one player stepping on a switch so that the other can reach a new area or unlock a new path. They mostly enhance the co-op experience, especially now that you can play with a controller to avoid unintuitive motion controls.

Also on the plus side, if either player fails too many times or spends too much time in an area, the game gives you the option to skip to the next section. That came in handy when the game glitched in first Toy Story level and wouldn't let me complete an objective. With that one exception, Rush has been a smooth experience.

Better than ever on Xbox One and Windows 10

Rush: A Disney/Pixar Adventure for Xbox One Toy Story

French developer Asobo Studio did a great job on the original Xbox 360 version of Rush (called Kinect Rush). It's great that Microsoft allowed the company to revisit Rush for Xbox One and Windows 10, adding proper physical controls, HDR, and native 4K support on Xbox One X.

Awkward movement controls always held the original game back, but now Rush plays great with a controller – and you can still use the Kinect if that's your thing. The sheer variety of franchises and gameplay make this a game that parents and Disney-loving gamers won't want to miss.

Pros:

  • Play levels based on six different Pixar film franchises.
  • Two-player split-screen support makes this a great game to play with kids.
  • You can play with either physical or motion controls.

Cons:

  • The hub world serves no purpose beyond level selection.
  • Voice samples often become repetitive during gameplay.
  • Platforming feels a bit simplistic when using a controller.

Rush: A Disney-Pixar Adventure costs $29.99 on Xbox One and Windows 10. It's an Xbox Play Anywhere title, so progress and purchases on the downloadable Xbox and Windows 10 versions carry over between those two platforms.

Xbox One review copy provided by the publisher.

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

21 Comments
  • While games with "clunky Kinect controls" may seem a little awkward (so it's nice that they now give you the option of using the controller), they at least have the benefit of getting you up from the sofa for a while and moving around (and often even breaking a sweat and leaving you waking up the next morning feeling like you went to the gym the day before). I do find it quite ironic that since Microsoft announced that Kinect production was being discontinued, we've seen more Kinect games released in the last month than in the last year or two. Thanks, Disney!
  • I still find the Kinect preferably to the controller here. The controller feels for several actions bit more clunky and less intuitive. I think once you get used to Kinect controls it's pretty good.
  • Yeah, I was a big proponent of Kinect during the Xbox 360 days. It tanked on Xbox One due to the glaring lack of software support and the marked up price of the Kinect console bundle. That said, the big problem with Kinect is Microsoft nearly always prevented developers from combining controller and motion gameplay. Waving your arms is just not appropriate for freely navigating a 3D space as in this game and Disneyland Adventures. Had we been able to hold a controller or Move-like device and use a D-Pad or stick for movement but motion for everything else, Kinect games would have played much more naturally and accurately. That's one thing the PlayStation Move got much more right, not that it ever had great support during the PlayStation 3 days.
  • The problem you mentioned was specific to Xbox 360 only. On Xbox One, they actually encouraged developers to combine motion and controller input.
  • Game looks fun, my daughter would definitely love it! (if i had 1) 🤣
  • You'd be a cool dad, dude. :)
  • This looks like a lot of fun. I'm sad the Kinect failed but it never had many good games anyway. I'll pick this up at some point.
  • I remember thinknig this looked interesting a long time ago.
  • I don't think I ever noticed this game on 360. Doens't seem for me. I might give the Disneyland game a try sometime though. I tried that on 360, and it was decent, but the poor tracking quality of Gen 1 Kinect made it more of a chore to play than something fun, especially with the gesture-based park navigation. You should give that one a review as well, if you get a chance. I always hoped it would get a Disney World successor on XB1, but I guess we'll have to setlle for this.
  • This looks like it would be a great game! I'm leaning towards buying Disneyland Adventures, mainly because my daughter has only seen 1 out of the 6 Pixar movies that are featured in Rush..although I might pick it up for myself. Thanks Paul for the review!
  • You better do better and show her the rest of the Pixar movies then! Come on buddy! Actually I've never seen Ratatouille...this game does seem like a good co-op for daddy/daughter game time.
  • Didn't realize this was a platformer. From the review, this sounds more up my alley than I thought 
  • The Kinect controls for this game work fine. Of the three Kinect games Microsoft Studios just released (this, Disneyland Adventures, and the Zoo Tycoon re-release), this is the best Kinect game.
  • Great review that rivals my own ^^ Finding Dory has only 2 episodes though (too bad, would have loved a 3rd one) Still playing the game days after reviewing it, which is always a great sign!
  • It's great that Kinect lives on. It's not for everybody but it needs to be here in some incarnation.
  • I only want it because The Incredibles! 
  • Will have to grab this along with Disneyland. It's perfect for all of us to play together. I never got around to playing this on Xbox 360, so I might as well play the definitive version.
  • Wow this game looks Incredible! I'd actually like to give this a go. The inclusion of Play Anywhere and Xbox One X support is definitely a big plus!
  • It seems like this game was more of a challenge when playing via Kinect. That being said, it should be perfect for young players.  Being immersed in a Disney movie they enjoy, playing as a character (or alongside) they love would be perfect for them. I would have loved it they added Wall-E in here!
  • Yeah, Wall-E would've been much cooler than Finding Dory. Ah well.
  • I owned the 360 version of this game paul and upon seeing the graphics and being able to experience being at Disney in the game was impressive a true gem this game is family based which I personally love I plan on picking this up next week paul thanks so much for the awesome reviews and keeping us all up to date 👏