By John Saccheri (aka ChefBigFatPanda) @DisneyWorlds
Disneyland Adventures for the Xbox 360 Kinect is a solo or co-operative adventure game from Microsoft Studios.
The previews for this game, including the media that resulted from the D23 event was the main reason I purchased a Kinect. For those of you unfamiliar, the Kinect is a separate piece of hardware that works exclusively with the Microsoft Xbox 360 gaming console. I’ll spare you the boring technical specifications, but it is basically a series of cameras and infrared sensors that track your body movements. The motions and gestures you make are translated to what happens in the game. Not just this game, but a whole slew of games that have been released for the Kinect. For example, if you jump, your character on screen jumps as well. In this game for instance, if you gesture a hug (to the air in front of you), you will hug Mickey Mouse in game when facing him etc…
The Kinect hardware itself runs about $125 at the time of this writing. You can get it bundled with the Xbox 360 basic console for around $299. The price does not fluctuate much from retailer to retailer but you WILL find specials. For instance, Best Buy was offering a $50 credit towards games and later on I found that GameStop was offering 2 free games. These offers seem to come and go, so if you are in the market for one, as many will be this holiday season, I urge you to check on this before buying.
So, was I happy to take the plunge and invest in an Xbox 360 Kinect system? The answer is…
NOTE: Before considering any opinions, I think it is important to know a bit about the person giving said opinions. I have always been a videogame fan, but am no longer the youngest little tike at Gamestop! I just turned 40! I am a Disney fanatic, so that may sway my preferences somewhat. I am into fantasy games, love nostalgic games like Super Mario and despise war type combat games. So, take this review from that standpoint please.
The answer is a resounding YES! Not just for this game, but for all that the Kinect is.
If I am not walking around a Disney Theme Park, I am usually sitting on my rump. I know I am not the only one who is always looking for more motivation to exercise and the Kinect achieves this blissfully.
The games can be challenging and really get your heart racing. Punch, Kick, Sway, Jump! You do it all but don’t realize how fast the time goes by. Before you know it, you’ve been playing for 30 minutes and are out of breath. Even my fittest friends find the games a great cardio workout. If I don’t lose a few pounds from Kinect, I’d be very surprised.
Now, back to this Disneyland Adventures game.
It’s magical from the moment the game begins. The swell of the music, sounds of Main Street and bright vivid graphics are such a welcome change from the dark Epic Mickey game. You literally start out in front of the Magic Kingdom. I have never been to Disneyland but it’s similar enough to Walt DisneyWorld that I recognized everything. The game developers painstakingly recreated Disneyland in amazing detail. You literally point your finger to where you want to go and your character walks in that direction. When you see a Disney character that you want to interact with, you don’t have any lines to wait in. You simply wave at them and options of how you can interact are presented to you. You collect coins along the way, to be able to purchase things. Stop by the emporium when you can and buy an autograph book. You can use that book to get the characters autographs. Challenges include getting all the princesses or all the heroes’ signatures.
Now, I could be happy with just that as a game in and of itself, but we haven’t even begun. Many of the attractions are games within this game – heck, even some of the shows. One of the games involves you conducting the fireworks above the castle. Do it correctly and receive more coins. Want to ride Peter Pans Flight? Walk through Fantasyland and enter the attraction. You will fly high above London on to Neverland weaving around obstacles, trying to position yourself to catch the most coins. The graphics and flow are a delight. Then, maybe head on over to Big Thunder Mountain and ride the coaster – it’s great fun. Play with a friend! The Kinect (if you have space) allows 2 players to play side by side.
The Haunted Mansion game itself would be enough for me to love this title, but there is so much to do in this game. I have had Disneyland Adventures for a week and am still discovering hidden Mickeys and other secrets. It can keep young and old busy for hours.
Yes, there is a repetitive theme of grabbing coins – and if you’re not ducking and jumping, you will probably be swaying and tilting. But that’s the beauty of this game – no directions needed. Just play! The freedom is a nice feeling and the game has a polished ambiance that fits the kind of quality we have come to expect from Disney.
I could go on and on, but by now I would have hoped you stopped reading and ran out to get one to try for yourself. If you are a Disney Fan, you should love it. If you don’t live near Disney, this is JUST the ticket to help get you through the rough patches when you long to be “home”, until you can get there for real. For many ailments, Disneyland Adventures for the Xbox 360 Kinect will be just what the doctor ordered. Follow me on Twitter @DisneyWorlds and let me know what you think.