The more activity involved in a video game, the more I like it. Sure, it makes me feel like a big fat yuppie hypocrite. After all, when I was a kid, I sat in front of a Nintendo for hours on end, moving only my thumbs.
But ah, times have changed. Thankfully. I actually feel pretty good about playing video games with my approaching-6-year-old daughter, because we are moving, jumping, diving, sliding, laughing, and sweating like maniacs.
The latest Xbox Kinect Adventure game — Rush: a Disney-Pixar Adventure — offers probably the most movement and the most fun we’ve seen in a family game.
Here’s why:Basically, you get to “inhabit” several Pixar movies — either racing cars with Cars or trying to escape the Sunnyside Day Care with Toy Story pals. There’s also games involving the movies Up, Ratatouille and The Incredibles. I have to admit it’s pretty fun to get to romp around these movie environments.
But there’s one part my daughter and I have a disagreement about.
Before you start, you have to Pixar-ize yourself, meaning the Kinect scans your body and turns your on-screen character into a Pixar-ish cartoon version of yourself. I always want to get straight to the action, but my daughter loves this part. She wants to re-Pixarize herself every freaking time. It doesn’t take long but I’m always itching to play while she’s happily playing already. That is the only “flaw” I can think of, however, and my daughter certainly wouldn’t consider it a flaw at all.
Probably our favorite thing to do is the driving sequences. We have a blast racing cars in the Cars tracks or flying those circular plane … thingies in the Incredibles. I’m always amazed that you can simply hold out your hands, as if gripping a steering wheel, and get your car to turn on a dime with even the simplest movements.
It’s relatively easy for kids to pass levels, which seem much longer than other Kinect games — taking, say, 10 minutes to run through a course instead of 3 or 5. If the kids can’t get something correct after three tries, they are forwarded ahead. At first, after hearing this, I was a little annoyed, considering part of the fun of video games is trying to figure out how to keep going. But as the adult who has to sit there waiting forever … and ever … and ever for her to just jump the damn hurdle, it’s a welcome relief in some cases. Plus, it cuts down on kid frustration and keeps the action and fun going. I’m cool with that. I’ll let her try to beat Contra on her own when she’s older.
I don’t let the kid play video games during the school week, so she’s already looking forward to spring break. I told her we can have a marathon session and maybe invite some friends over. Rush is the perfect blend of story — the creation of characters — and action — all that racing — to keep everyone having a good time.
As the parent, I’m partial to the action but I have to say I’m impressed with the characters you get to interact with on screen. They look like regular ol’ dopey kids, not some Bratz-ified version of kids. Whoever designed all the clothes should get an Oscar for costume development, because they look like clothes I used to wear as a kid: just grubby playground wear. It gives everything an innocent, old-timey vibe. I love it.
Plus, a good half or so of the “lead” characters who help you through challenges are girls. I just love that. It makes me wonder if Pixar will update this after Brave comes out. The game is already pretty cool. But that would make it awesome. I highly recommend this one.
Disclaimer: Xbox gave me a review copy of the game.