The Motherloot Blog: Product Reviews

TRESemme Beauty-Full Volume Collection Review

Today I am partnering with Walmart to share about a new line of hair products, from TRESemme,  that are now available on their shelves. I am a bit of a beauty product junkie so I couldn’t raise my hand fast enough to try out a new line of hair products.

Hello, dream job!

You see, I have been a longtime fan of TRESemme, particularly their dry shampoo, and volunteered to give their Beauty-Full Volume Collection a spin.

What’s Different About These Products?

The difference in routines with this shampoo and conditioner, compared to my usual routine of hair washing, is that you pre-condition your hair and then wash it. The idea behind the method is that by rinsing out the conditioner and then applying shampoo secondary, you will end up with more volume in your hair because it won’t be weighed down by the conditioner.

What Were the Results After One Week?

My hair is thick, coarse, and dry. I typically shampoo only two or three times a week and rely on dry shampoos for freshening. Because I do not have fine hair, I am not really the target market for this one. My hair really requires a load of conditioner so I was unable to achieve good results with this. I require a lot of conditioning to get my wild hair under control, unfortunately. While I had volume, my hair didn’t feel as nourished with conditioning first and shampooing second.

My daughter, however, has thinner hair with a glossier texture that leans more towards greasy than dry. I am constantly nagging her about washing her hair because it doesn’t appear as clean due to the greasiness. She washes it, but we tend to get a little ambitious with our conditioning (ahem!).  Her results with this set have cut down the greasiness and have added a lot of volume to her hair. I am not seeing the greasiness and her hair just looks fresher and cleaner. If your child really struggles with rinsing all that conditioner out, this seems like a really great solution since the shampoo is secondary in this process.

What Else is Included in the Line?

The line also includes a maximizer, mousse, and hairspray. Of the three products, I really loved the hairspray for the hold it provided while still feeling soft and natural. I have paid a lot more for my hairspray and I can honestly say, I will be switching to this one. We went out for our 16th anniversary dinner (can’t believe that one!!) and the hairspray helped to keep my locks in place all evening long.

What If I’m Looking For Hair Products Focused on Nourishing?

Along with this new line,  TRESemme also launched a Botanique Collection. This collection is perfect for my dry locks because it is more focused on nourishing weak and damaged cuticles through ingredients like coconut oil, coconut milk, and aloe vera extract.  Best of all, it does not include parabens or dyes, but at an affordable price point.

Oh, and it smells AMAZING!

Overall, I was really impressed with these new offerings. As someone who color treats her hair, I am also thrilled that these are all safe for my color treated locks. For my friends with thick hair, be sure to snag the TRESemme Botanique line. And for my friends with thinner locks, you are going to love their Beauty-Full Volume collection, I just know it! 

Bissell Symphony Vacuum & Steam Mop Review

If there is one thing this girl loves it is a floor steamer. Today I am sharing my thoughts on the new Bissell Symphony that not only steams your floors, but also vacuums them at the same time!  In conjunction with my partnership with Walmart, Bissell sent me the Bissell Symphony Vacuum & Steam Mop to share my honest feedback about their product.

I am no stranger to floor steamers and have reviewed quite a few of Bissell’s products including the Bissell Steam & Sweep & the Shark Vac 2-in-1 Vac Then Steam. Having reviewed many different versions of the steam and sweep concept, I was excited to see how this one measured up compared to the other models.

I tested this model on three different floor types in our home including our laminate wood flooring, tile, and linoleum. The information provided in this review applies to all these types of flooring.

As I always do when sharing about products, I will offer the pros and cons to this model!

Pros of The Bissell Symphony

  • Simple & Easy to Use Set Up- This vacuum comes together in no time flat and really only required inserting one piece into another, meaning we were ready to start steaming within five minutes of opening the box. The labeling on package, added “first timer” stickers on the side, and the booklet within clearly outlined how to use this model. There was no troubleshooting with set-up or how to use this steamer.
  • Height Adjustment- It’s no secret, I am a little woman. While many handles on sweepers are too long for me, the Symphony offers an easy to use height adjustment feature so that I am not handling the vacuum awkwardly like I have to do on past models.
  • Quick & Smart Steam Technology- After plugging in the Bissell Symphony, it only takes 30 seconds before you can start steaming. To begin steaming, just hold down the trigger for 60 seconds and you are ready to go. The steaming also leaves a beautiful streak-free finish on both the high and low steam options. If you don’t want to steam and sweep at the same time, you can select one or the other option without needing to commit to both. I don’t know why you would do that though since you are doing the job in one swipe, but the option is there if you want it.
  • REALLY Steam & Sweep at the Same Time- Some units we have tried offering steam and sweep capabilities at the same time, but I think this is the best one that I have used yet. The vacuum is more powerful, easily picking up small debris and crumbs and even tackled the more difficult projects that quick vacs I have used could not touch, like kitty litter, without backfiring the debris. As you are sucking up debris, you can also be steaming at the same time, which makes it easy to do a one-pass job on all of your floors.
  • MUCH Better Design Than Past Models- There were always a couple of design flaws, I felt, with past units including thin or poorly designed pads and an aching finger from holding down a trigger to release the steam. This is truly the best Bissell yet (we have had three different models in our home over the years) because I don’t have a hand cramp from the trigger and the pads are genuinely plush and well-fitting to this model. The trigger on this unit fits into the handle and requires a little light pressure while pushing it around.
  •  High & Low Steam Options- Not every mess calls for a lot of steam, so I love that this model offers a high and low steam option that you can select for the job you are going to tackle. The high version is made for those terrible sticky messes my kids create (spilled gallon of juice, anyone?) while the low option is just our everyday craziness that we deal with in our kitchen.

 Cons of the Bissell Symphony

I promise I would share if I could find one, but this is the first model that they have created that I absolutely love and have had no issues with. It’s lightweight, picks up like a dream, steams beautifully, and performs well.  I usually donate these vacuums to others after we review it, but this one…this one earned its rights to be a workhorse in our home.

The proof is in the pad.

Thanks to Bisell & Walmart for giving me the chance to review yet another vacuum. You can find a few other Bissell reviews here like the BISSELL Versus Cordless VacBISSELL Steam & Sweep Hard Floor Cleaner, and BISSELL DeepClean Premier Carpet Cleaner for a couple of other great examples of two more of my favorite BISSELL products.

Available at Walmart for $198.96

Review: Just Dance 2014

Just Dance 2014 Review from

When Walmart needed a family to review the latest incarnation of the UBISOFT Just Dance series, they knew who to call. To outsiders, our obsession with dance-related games may not make sense, but they don’t understand how hard we can bring it.

Just Dance 2014 Review from



For those who do not bust a move on a regular basis, the Just Dance series of games is a great place to start. At its essence, you choose from a wide selection of songs and follow the moves of the dancer’s choreography as closely as you can. You’re scored based on your accuracy… but that’s not the draw of Just Dance. Unlike Dance Central, which appeals to the serious, I-want-to-be-JLo’s-backup-dancer audience (like myself), Just Dance is perfect when you have a party with your friends and are looking for some laughs and good fun.

The song selection from current radio hits and classics to the completely obscure. It never takes itself too seriously, which makes it both approachable and fun for everyone. In JD 2014, the silliness is cranked up a notch as you dance along with a guy in a panda suit or do a group number as giant fruit. The ridiculousness is addictive and as much fun to watch as to play.

Just Dance 2014 Review from

We’ve played nearly every version of Just Dance released so far and they haven’t changed much. However, we were pleasantly surprised that 2014 has introduced a number of new things to freshen things up. The most prominent is the new Just Dance Live mode, which pits you against other players from around the world in real time. This mode is highly addictive and really appeals to those looking for an added challenge. As you dance, you’ll see your rank update and feel the panic as some jerk from Brazil jumps ahead of you when you miss a move. I’ll admit to being embarrassingly pumped about finishing #1 in the world after killing it on Miss Understood.

Another enjoyable addition is the ability to share and view stop-motion like replays of your performance. Watching a family in France dance to “Prince Ali” from Disney’s Alladin or a guy in Mexico shaking it to Shakira can be pretty entertaining.

Just Dance 2014 Review from

There are a few other tweaks to the standard game mode that were also appreciated. Group numbers now have actual interactions between those dancing, such as jumping on the back of your friend, which makes things that much more interesting. Replayability is high as instead of having to do the same dance to your favorite song every time, there are oftentimes several variations that you can unlock. Either group numbers, mashups, or “Extreme” versions which crank the difficulty way up for those looking for something more challenging. Even dance game veterans will be a pool of sweat after attempting the Extreme version of Rihanna’s “Where Have You Been”.

It’s not without flaws however. The interaction with the menu system is a little better than the last version, but can still be frustrating. For example, figuring out how to exit from Just Dance Live mode was so difficult to figure out we usually just quit the game and restarted. We also wished that you could easily switch between Xbox Live accounts as you played so the kid’s high scores would be separate from mom and dad’s, but you can’t.

More importantly, even though Just Dance 2014 has several songs aimed squarely at kids, there are many that are not. Though the lyrics are censored, we didn’t feel comfortable with the kids dancing to “Get Lucky”, “I Kissed a Girl”, or “Gentlemen”. Similarly, you often pick a “team” when competing in Live mode and our daughter was asked to choose between the Batman or Kick Ass team, which surprised all of us.

For the most part, the family can still have a good time with Just Dance 2014. Longtime fans will enjoy the new additions and should add it to your wish list this upcoming holiday season.

Just Dance 2014 Review from

Whatever you do….





Available At: Walmart

Pricing: Varies between $33.67-$48.98, depending on the game system


Review: LEGO Marvel Super Heroes

Our entire household has been fans of the LEGO series of videos games. That is why we were so excited to be provided this opportunity to test out the new LEGO Marvel Super Heroes game for the Xbox through Walmart and share on our honest feedback on it.

This new series follows the same formula as prior LEGO games: You play through the story mode, switching between various characters at appropriate times to beat up bad guys, solve puzzles, and save the day. This all happens in a world built of LEGO bricks and occupied by LEGO mini-figures.

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes Game Review

Playing through the story mode took only a couple of hours. The missions revolve around chasing Magneto, Dr. Doom, and Loki, who have teamed up to collect cosmic bricks in an effort to use them for their own nefarious intentions. The chapters you play through feel more like individual issues of different comics rather than a natural progression towards the end, but our kids didn’t seem to mind this lack of coherence.

It’s not surprising however because this isn’t called LEGO X-Men or Avengers, but the very broad Marvel Super Heroes. Rather than focus on one series from Marvel, this game is all-encompassing in its cast of characters. All told, you can unlock and play as over 100 different characters. This is a staggering amount and will be a joy for any comic book fan.

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes Game Review

The heroes and villains you would expect are there but what really makes it great are some of the more obscure and silly characters. Sure, you might be able to name everyone in the Fantastic Four, but would you recognize Dormammu or M.O.D.O.K.? I can tell you we all had a good laugh after unlocking Howard the Duck (yes, he’s a Marvel character) as well as the corresponding Xbox achievement called “Really?”.

And that leads to one the main reasons why the LEGO games are such a hit: the humor. The sharp-witted dialog and physical comedy will appeal to players of all ages. While characters discuss plans in the foreground, The Hulk is vacuuming up the mess they just made (and some of the crew themselves) in the background. Ignoring the first mission’s focus on groan-worthy puns, the game quickly hits its stride. From Pulp Fiction and Snakes on a Plane, parents will enjoy the pop culture references and inside jokes that go right over your kids’ heads, making this a great game to play as a family.

Don’t worry about your kids completing the story mode in a day or two and never playing the game again. That represents just fraction of what there is to do. Most of their time will be spent exploring the expansive LEGO version of NYC, seeking out puzzles, mini-games, and side missions in order to unlock the majority of characters, vehicles, and modes this game has to offer.

While the game is a blast to play, the kids and I both grew frustrated with how the split-screen and camera work. As your characters often need to be in different areas of a room, your view splits so you both can see what you’re doing. This isn’t done by dividing the screen in a top & bottom or left & right fashion. The split rotates relative to the position of your characters. It also merges back together as you get close, then divides as you separate.

While this initially seemed like a good idea, in practice it gets really confusing because you can switch to a different member of your party instantly. While you were on the right side of the screen with one, the character you switch to may appear on the left, forcing everyone to hunt for where they need to be looking. Many times we’d be trying to figure out which character we were controlling and where they were, right in the midst of battle. Other times, we’d be trying to look at or aim at something but the movement of the other player would move our target out of view.

Despite this, both kids agreed this was one of their favorite games in recent memory. We certainly give it our approval and will now return to our desperate attempts to unlock Deadpool.

Suggested Retail Price- $49.96

Available At: Walmart

Fusion Juicer Review

For the first time ever, I got the opportunity to try making my own juice with the new Fusion Juicer. Walmart sent me the Fusion Juicer to review for my blog to share how this appliance can help a health-conscious cook in the kitchen. Since it is my first time trying a juicer, I am excited to share with you my review of the Fusion Juicer that is available at your local Walmart store.

Is Assembly Difficult?

This juicer is simple in construction and assembly for putting it together and taking it apart when making your juice. The lever on the front can be pulled up to pull everything in place, or pulled down to disassemble the juicer for cleaning. The back contains a receptacle for all of the pulp leftover after juicing and the front contains an extra large feeder for feeding your fruits and veggies into, a clear receptacle where you can see your juice actually being made, and a non-drip spout where you can comfortably rest a cup underneath for your juice.

How Do You Clean It?

All the pieces can be placed in the top rack of your dishwasher for easy washing unless you have a dishwasher that runs extremely hot and are concerned with warping, then you may want to wash these pieces by hand.

How Well Does It Blend?

I gave a new juice recipe a spin in this juicer and pictured here is exactly what I fed through my juicer. I did not peel my carrots or celery, but did peel my ginger and lemon, and cored the apples before putting them in the juicer,  as was recommended within the manufacturer’s booklet. All of these items blended beautifully in the juicer. What was most surprising to me about this process was how quietly the juicer ran and how easy it was to feed these items into it.

The spinach was the only thing that did not, perhaps, all get blended in, but I think it is more of a trial and error user error, because it is recommended to chase these greens down with a juicier fruit or veggie to help the greens really juice well into your juices.

The booklet that comes with the juicer really helps to break down what order to place these items in as well as what is recommended for leaving the skin on or what you should cut before placing it into the juicer.

What About the Pulp?

After juicing all of my fruits and veggies, this is what was in the back of my juicer. For the frugal chef looking to really maximize her grocery budget, you can use the juice pulp to incorporate into other recipes. As someone who is always looking for ways to make her grocery dollars stretch, I love that you can use this pulp in a variety of other recipes.

How Does the Juice Taste?

I was able to get these two glasses of juice from my recipe (coming soon over on The MotherLoad) and the juice was perfectly blended and delicious. Overall, the most impressive features about this was how easy it was to clean up, the simple assembly process of the juicer, as well as the quietness of it. I can’t speak to the longevity factor, but as a first-time juicer, this was so easy to use and created impressive results for the price!

Suggested Retail Price: $119.00

Available At: Walmart

Review: BISSELL DeepClean Premier Carpet Cleaner

I have always been a huge fan of BISSELL products and I am excited to share my review of the new BISSELL DeepClean Premier Carpet Cleaner. The BISSELL DeepClean Premier is one of the newest additions to the BISSELL cleaning tool lines and, as all the other products I have purchased from the company, I have to say that this is one of my new all-time favorites. When I show you the results from my cleaning adventure, you will see why.

This carpet cleaner is of a moderate size (roughly 25 pounds) and comes with smart attachments for deep cleaning spots or for cleaning your upholstery in your home. The front offers a simple and straight-forward bucket design that has a small spout where you pour 5 ounces of your carpet cleaning solution and then you simply fill the generously sized bladder (1.25 gallons)  of the unit to the fill line with water.

The on button is in the middle of the front of the unit and once you start it, you can begin cleaning your carpet with the dual powerbrushes that offer ten cleaning rows that can help loosen and remove the dirt in your carpet. Push the trigger button on the back of the handle and it releases the cleaning solution, then go back and forth over the carpet to suction up the solution where the dirty solution from your carpets will reside in a different compartment in the reservoir of the unit.

I tested the unit in our front room which adjoins the entry of our home. It is where no matter how many times I tell people not to walk through with their shoes on, someone inadvertently forgets something and treks through with shoes on through this room.

I could see immediate results, both on my carpet itself, and in the top of the unit as the dirty water was suctioned in. I had to hold back on my impulse to soak the carpets in cleaning solution once I started seeing all of the dirty solution pull in. The brushes did a great job of loosening dirt.

It has been many months since I have cleaned these carpets, I am embarrassed to admit, but our own carpet cleaner broke and so we haven’t made carpet cleaning a priority. Experts recommend though that you deep clean your carpets twice a year (or more!). Let’s say it has been (ahem) awhile.

My favorite thing on the unit is the small hand tool that you can use to clean other areas in your home like your upholstered furniture, car interiors, or to freshen up your mattresses. I am going to be a cleaning fool with that handy tool.

After cleaning my front room, this was the sludge that had been on our carpet.

Yes, we have been living in absolute filth. No, we are not squatters.

I feel like we have fresh new carpets in our home and an investment in this tool would cost a fraction of having the professionals out twice a year to freshen up the floors.

Overall, I can find nothing that I did not truly love about this carpet cleaner. Once you get the hang of where all of the buttons and triggers are, it is easy and simple to freshen up the floors in any room of your home.

Thanks to BISSELL & Walmart for giving me the chance to review yet another vacuum. You can find a few other BISSELL reviews here like the BISSELL Versus Cordless Vac and the BISSELL Steam & Sweep Hard Floor Cleaner for a couple of other great examples of two more of my favorite BISSELL products.

Available At: Walmart

Suggested Retail Price: $188.88


Review: Garden Lites Souffles

Eating healthy can truly be a challenge, especially when you are a busy mom. To add to the dilemma of healthy eating, factoring in allergies and food sensitivities can make convenience food eating nearly impossible. As someone who has recently had to give up dairy and watch my carbs, I was so excited to give the new Garden Lites Souffles a try. If you haven’t seen these yet, they are available in the freezer aisle of your local Walmart, and offer a fresh approach to adding vegetables back into your diet.

These all-natural souffles are low in calories, include two full servings of veggies, and offer the quick convenience of having a healthy breakfast ready for you in mere minutes. More importantly, for our family, these are celiac-friendly, diabetic-friendly, heart healthy, and are vegetarian, lactose free, casein free, soy free, and are produced in a nut free facility. What more could you ask for when your family constantly is battling dietary restrictions.

The best part is that they come in loads of fun flavors that even the pickiest eater can embrace like a roasted vegetable, zucchini, and even a butternut squash souffle. When you are dairy and gluten-free, it can be hard to find filling options for breakfast. Lucky for me, these have been perfect and with a hot cup of coffee topped with almond milk, I am able to leave for  my day full and fueled with options that are not only healthy, but delicious.

Website for More Information: Garden Lites


Review: Cuties Juice

Am I the only one who is completely addicted to Cuties California Clementines  We buy a crate a week and I could eat them by the handfuls. I couldn’t wait to review the new Cuties Juice that has hit grocery store shelves and see if this Cuties Juice could be another fruit resource for my kids.

These little bottles of juice pack a healthy punch for kids. They have no added sugar, no artificial colors, no artificial colors, and no preservatives  Cuties Juices and Smoothies are all natural, and the 8 oz bottle is great for kids, with a 48 oz multiserve option that is perfect for the whole family.

Due to their petite size, they would be a perfect addition to a lunchbox or a nice snack option to take with you when you are out and about. Our family is always looking for healthy options that we can enjoy on the go. Although I love to offer my family homemade green smoothies for our morning breakfast option, some mornings are far too chaotic to get the blender out. I love that these come in a variety of flavors which include juices like Tangerine-Orange-Mango, Tangerine-Orange-Pineapple, and fun smoothie flavors like Rockin’ Red, Island Cuties, Monkey Madness, GoGo Green, Protein Power, Blue Blaster, & Dreamsicle. It is a nutritious convenience food option that I can get behind!

Sometimes when you offer nutritious options like these to your children, they don’t end up being their favorite thing to eat or drink. It can often become a chore to get kids to truly appreciate items that are packed nutritionally. Cuties Juice & Smoothies, however, left my kids begging for more. They got the chance to try all of the flavors and they loved every single one. They are already hounding me to get them more because they enjoyed all the flavors so much!

I guarantee your family will love these just as much as we did! You can find these little cuties, no pun intended, at your local Walmart store!

Suggested Retail Price: $1.89 (8 oz countainer)

Website With More Information: Cuties Juice

This is a sponsored post. I’m a participant in the Walmart Moms Program. Walmart has provided me with a product sample and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. Participation in this program is voluntary and the opinions stated above are entirely my own.


Priceless Chicago: Rock Your Palate Event

It has been a long time since I have updated The Motherloot blog, but I couldn’t wait to share with you our experience this past month getting to be a part of the Priceless Chicago Rock Your Palate series that is being sponsored by Mastercard. My husband and I were invited to attend one of their priceless experiences for a fun date night and to see what these fun experiences were all about.

The Rock Your Palate series is an event that brings together Chicago’s finest chefs, artists, musicians, and tastemakers for a culinary collaboration that is inspired by the city’s musical heritage.

The September kickoff event that we attended was held at the Floating World Gallery in Lincoln Park and featured the works of music photographer Michael Weintraub and  a pop-up dinner by by Spiaggia’s Executive Chef Sarah Grueneberg and Dirk Flanigan, James Beard “Rising Star” 2011 and Chef at Henri and The Gage. The menu included appetizers like veal tartar with truffles and pecorino and even a charred octopus with Santa Claus Melon,  black pepper cream, & Coco Nib.

Among our favorite dishes was Flannigan’s loin of venison with mustard greens, hen of the woods mushrooms, and huckleberries and Gruenberg’s tie die pasta that was served with baby beets, mint pesto, crescenza cheese, and poppy seeds. All of the food was so delicious and it was such an amazing way to experience foods that we would never have the opportunity to experience otherwise.

Mixologist Bobby G. Gleason prepared unique cocktail pairings with each course and drinks were served to the guests as they entered. Among our favorites were the Effen Cucumber Cup with cucumber vodka, lemon sour, and lemon lime soda and the delicious Devil’s Tangerine Julep prepared with Devil’s Cut Bourbun, tangerines, and fresh mint. Wine was also offered to the guests which makes it very difficult for a girl to review an experience when she has been enjoying so many delicious cocktails throughout the night. They were all delightful though and the sheer amount of food and beverages that was offered for this event made it a great value for your money.

Music completed the evening with a DJ that spun amazing tunes from electronica to jazz to blues, that created a fun atmopshere while enjoying all the food. Michael Weintrob’s photography of local musicians surrounded the tables and gave you a chance to mingle and really enjoy the art while enjoying one of the evening’s yummy drinks. We happened to snag a seat by the percussionist, Ricardo Gonzalez (Ricky G.) who kept our table highly entertained throughout the evening and we all agreed, really knew how to work a room!

A photo booth was even set up with instruments to create a fun photo memento of such a memorable night.  My husband and I loved getting to do that when we came in and immediately loosened up for a fun evening together.

Of course the highlight for me was getting to sit down and talk to the chefs about their experience doing an event like this and hearing about their story and their family’s stories in the kitchen.  There is truly nothing I admire more than workmanship of great chefs and I can’t imagine how much orchestration it would take to do a pop-up event like this in a gallery. We were in total admiration of these chefs and how they seemed completely unruffled pulling an event like this together. It was amazing night that we will always remember.

Tickets for these events are $90. If you missed it, you can still check out “Rock Your Palate” in either November or December. According to the Chicagoist, the  November program will feature three evenings of fun and food from the minds of Chef Chris Pandel from Bristol and Belena and mixologist Ravae Scheinder.

Stay tuned for more information on the Mastercard Priceless Chicago page and visit the site for more details on other fun experiences happening in the Chicago area!

Review: Kinect Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure

We were recently given the chance to try out “Kinect Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure”, a new game for the Xbox 360 Kinect. As we are big fans of the movies (oh, and our kids too), we were really looking forward to trying it out.

You first start by using the Kinect to create an avatar for each player. Instead of selecting your likeness like most other games, the game leverages the Kinect to scan you instead. What we thought was going to be an innovative and fun way to create a character, quickly turned into a long and frustrating experience. After patiently going through the multi-step process, we ended up with rather generic looking characters that had no obvious resemblance. Worse, the system struggled to “scan” our daughter at all. After 5 agonizing minutes of holding still, she had enough of the game and quit. Not the best first impression for a game aimed at her.

Once you survive the avatar creation process though, things pick up. You arrive at a Pixar-themed park where you roam about by jogging in place. The park is split into distinct areas based on the movies Up!, The Incredibles, Cars 2, Ratatouille, and Toy Story 3. The park itself doesn’t have anything in the way of activities or interactive features. It’s just a way to select the mission or challenge you’d like to play. Once you maneuver your avatar to the right location, a cutscene starts where another kid from the park starts a dialog with you and your imagination takes you into one of the Pixar movies. This is where the real action begins.

In each challenge, you take on the likeness of a character from the movie and team up with some of the more well-known personalities from the flicks. Most missions have the same basic premise and gameplay: You and your digital (or real-life) partner must rush through the environment and make it through numerous obstacles along the way. The visuals are undoubtedly the best part of the game. They are absolutely gorgeous and faithful to each film. You truly feel as if you are in a new scene from the movie, interacting with their unique characters and environment.

Unfortunately, the game is called Kinect Rush. Each challenge is a race to get through these beautiful surrounding as fast as you can. With this pressure, you don’t feel like you have any time to enjoy or appreciate what’s going on around you.

That leads us to the controls. This is a Kinect-only game so you are the controller. At times, this can be a real joy. Jumping, climbing, and holding on a wire as you slide down its length is fun and intuitive. Walking or running about, which you are doing the majority of the time, is another matter.

Getting momentum is easy enough, just swing your arms. Unfortunately, it’s getting your character to go where you want them to that’s the problem. To turn your character, you rotate your body just as you would change direction in real life. However, this does not translate when you’re in front of your TV, where you instinctively want to always face the action. I observed every member of the family trying to lean in the direction they wanted to go, which doesn’t work. At a recent family get-together we invited other members to give the game a try and, despite the on-screen instructions, they leaned instead of turned as well. Even when you do it right, the characters often turn at a snail’s pace. This really damages the experience.

The notable exception is the challenges for Cars. For these, you hold an imaginary steering wheel to drive through these fast-paced missions. Controlling the vehicles is natural and a blast. It’s just too bad that the rest of the game isn’t like this.

Despite these challenges with the game, your character never dies which definitely can help with the crying and tantrums that can ensue when your character is gone. If you are met with a particular challenge that you can’t complete, your character simply disappears and then reappears. For small kids, this is definitely a bonus feature.

Overall, Kinect Rush captures the mood of Pixar’s films through rich and beautifully detailed levels. However, with some exceptions, is hindered by frustrating controls.

Suggested Retail Price: $49.96

Website With More Information: Disney Pixar Adventure (Kinect Rush)


I am a part of the Walmart Moms program, and Walmart has provided me with compensation for these posts. My participation is voluntary and opinions are always my own.