Disney has been ingrained in humankind’s psyche for a very long time. Kids of all ages have grown up with Mickey, Donald, Goofy and the rest of the gang with cartoons, books, toys, and the theme parks. Video games are now enjoying full acceptance as a mainstream form of entertainment, and where there’s mainstream entertainment, there’s Disney. So, with the Kinect being geared towards the family demographic, it is only natural that Microsoft Studios jumps in with Kinect Disneyland Adventures for the Xbox 360.
As the title indicates, Disneyland Adventures takes place in the famous theme park. At the outset of the game, you can choose to be a customizable boy or a girl, and the adventure begins. The entire park can be explored while you complete over one hundred quests for the dozens of Disney characters that you meet in your travels. One can experience character-specific activities that take place in their respective fantasy locals, like swordplay with Captain Hook, flying through the air with Peter Pan, travelling through space with Buzz Lightyear... you get the picture. Most characters that you meet throughout the park have tasks and quests to complete. Some of them are easy, such as finding three forks in the park for Ariel, and some are stumbled upon by mistake, like finding Donald Duck’s hat while skiing with Goofy. All completed quests get a reward, whether it be unlockables in the many Disney stores around the park, or coins to spend in said stores. As quests are completed, more of the park opens up for exploration. As it turns out, Disneyland is full of surprises.
Controlling your character takes some getting used to, and it’s not always easy. To move throughout the park (in third-person view), you must hold your arm straight out in front of you. By fully extending your arm forward, your character runs. In order to slow the character down, you move your arm in towards your body. To move left, you move your arm left, and the opposite for moving right. This is a gangly, and tiring, process. Being a young man of 34, I found it somewhat easy to hold my arm out for extended periods of time, but my seven-year-old did not. It’s not a good sign that Disney’s target demographic gets physically tired of playing the game after only a few minutes. Controlling your character does get fun, though. In order to interact with the different characters around the park, you need to physically wave your hand to get their attention. After that, you can perform numerous activities, such as dancing with them, hugging them, and giving them high-fives. A cool side quest is collecting autographs from every character, achieved by holding out both hands in front of you to “give” them your autograph book. You are also given a camera very early on in the game, with which you can take pictures with each Disney character to put in your photo album.
Disneyland Adventures is a fun romp through the park.
Coins are earned by completing quests, and is dependant on how well you do in each one. Coins are also found around the park, and can be spent in one of the many Disney stores. Items available for purchase include autograph books, clothing for your character (including character costumes), photo albums, collectible pins... even in a virtual world, Disney still gets your money! There are also hidden Mickey heads scattered about,of which pictures can be taken to earn rewards.
Disneyland Adventures does provide a tutorial at the beginning of the game, and it is very helpful. Without one, this is the type of game that you’d become lost in very quickly. DA supports two players locally, but only one player can control the movement around the park. The second character runs alongside automatically. However, when interacting with the Disney characters, player two can do the same gestures as player one, and there are even some achievements tied with the two-player experience.
Visually, everything looks really good. There is no Unreal Engine here, but it is realistic enough that you feel that you’re actually going through the real park. The vocal characterizations of the Disney folk are spot on, giving the game an added bit of authenticity.
All in all, Disneyland Adventures is a fun romp through the park. My daughter and I had some control issues while moving the character around tight spaces, and if this weren’t an issue, I could give the game a much higher score. It is very deep, with over 100 quests and activities, and that’s not to mention all of the unlockables and surprises that can be found around the park. Disneyland Adventures is a game of discovery, and for kids (and kids-at-heart), it’s well worth the recently discounted price... if you can keep your arm up that long.
Release date : 2011-11-15
Publisher : Microsoft Game Studios
Developer : Frontier Developments
Gameplay : Family
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