Have you ever wanted to visit Disneyland anytime from the comfort of your home? What if you could step inside the worlds of the amazing films from Pixar Animation Studios? Well now you can do both with the rerelease of two games for the Xbox One and PC, both of which have received a few new enhancements. Disneyland Adventures and Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure can now be yours in glorious 4K and with new controls previously unavailable on the Xbox 360.
I was given the chance to meet with the team behind updating both games, who gave me a tour of these virtual worlds and a chance for some hands-on play. I was already familiar with Disneyland Adventures, having purchased an Xbox 360 with Kinect entirely for this game back in 2011. Rush, on the other hand, was new to me. The good news for anyone who felt inhibited by the Kinect system is that both games are now playable using a standard Xbox controller or computer commands in addition to still being Kinect compatible. For the unfamiliar, Kinect used a camera connected to the system allowing your body movements to control the game in place of a traditional controller.
Both Disneyland Adventures and Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure were originally designed with families in mind, but in this rerelease the team went a step further, allowing them to be playable by anyone of any age. A 3-year-old can have just as much fun accessing this content as older kids will, and there are optional extra challenges for skilled gamers. As the holidays approach and families gather together for some quality time, there’s nothing better than a family-friendly game that anyone can play. And I should mention that both games are extremely fun for all ages.
The magic of Disneyland awaits in Disneyland Adventures, where everyone can be a child again on an exciting day in the park. As you stroll down Main Street, you encounter a host of characters that you can interact with. In addition to giving hugs, taking photos, and signing your autograph book, they also give you missions to complete throughout the park. And as you approach select attractions, you discover that they offer fun games with multiple levels!
The creative team spent five months exploring every detail of Disneyland to bring this game to life. Trash cans and park benches are meticulously placed exactly where they are when you really visit Disneyland. The details are so specific that Walt’s lamp is lit above the Firehouse. Walt Disney Imagineering collaborated with Microsoft on the game to ensure that fine details are accurate. The shade of green on the planter railings in Fantasyland, for example, were submitted eight times before the Imagineers were able to give their blessing.
As you tour the park and complete quests for the fourty-three characters that are waiting to meet you, you earn magic points that can be spent in the real gift shops! You can collect pins and upgrade your avatar’s clothes, which include average Disney attire and character costumes! Players can customize their avatar to include both genders and every skin tone and hair color that exist in the real world.
Eighteen attractions in the park offer playable games with multiple levels of fun. While you can leisurely play the game any time, you may discover that some characters aren’t always in the same spot and if you want to complete every mission and get every souvenir, you can easily find yourself devoting over 100 hours to the game.
Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure
This rerelease of Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure not only improves the graphics with a 4K remaster and new controls, but it also adds a level that didn’t exist before. When the original version was released in 2012, the game offered five franchises that players could explore based on Toy Story (1-3), Cars (1-2), The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and Up. Now you can also get your feet wet by exploring the world of Finding Dory.
Created in collaboration with Pixar Animation Studios, you are a child who has been dropped off at Pixar on a school field trip. You are all by yourself, playing in the park outside the studio and have access to visit any of these six worlds. Each time you do, you make friends and unlock new characters. As a result, players are encouraged to replay each game after unlocking new content as it changes the game each time.
Pete Docter worked closely with the Microsoft team and actually created the concept of a kid exploring a Pixar park as the device to bring these worlds together. Pixar also gave the designers many of the tools and resources used to creat the worlds. I was very surprised at how spot-on the lighting for Ratatouille was and the artists used the same code from the film to make it as accurate as possible.
The reason the game is called “Rush” is because each of the games are constantly propelling you forward. You as the player must react to what’s happening, moving left, right, up, down, or performing other actions like jumping to successfully navigate through the levels. The game is forgiving of mistakes and you won’t “die” if you mess up, but certainly being moderately skilled at video games will help you get higher scores and unlock more surprises. The levels also offer quite a bit of variety, with some being about speed, some requiring agility, others offer puzzle solving challenges and some contain a need for aiming accuracy.
Both Disneyland Adventures and Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure offer hours of fun for the entire family. The best part, which I saved for last, is that both games are priced attractively at just $29.99 a piece, much less expensive than your average Xbox One game, which makes both great holiday gift choices. Jorg Neumann, Head of Production at Microsoft, also teased his unrealized dreams for Disneyland Adventures where the park would change from day to night in real time and possibly offer yesteryear time travel to different eras of the park’s history. While you won’t find that in the current version of the game, successful sales could lead to DLC additions or sequels that make those dreams a reality. Here’s hoping for a “Great big beautiful tomorrow" in the not so distant future.