Disney makes its first appearance to Kinect and what a game they have created. If you’re not a Disney fan or haven’t heard anything about this one, it states:

Kinect is your ticket to a magical Disneyland Adventure that’s part virtual park visit and part living fairy tale! Experience your favorite rides and attractions on an interactive journey filled with whimsical quests and encounters with your favorite characters. You’ll meet and interact with over 40 Disney icons who will offer you their autographs and the chance to go on challenging quests. See what lies down the rabbit hole, swordfight with Captain Hook, and more in mini-games inspired by Disney stories. Star in your own Disneyland parade, take pictures of your experience and send them to friends right from the game, and more.

Overview

Most Disney fans will not want to spoil the game so I’ll put this in here real quick so you don’t have to read the rest of the review. If you love Classic Disney and want to experience the park in a magical way, then get this game. You will absolutely love it. If you are unsure about this game, I’ll give it to you straight up. It’s a very authentic, collection type game with some side games to entertain you when your bored and it is geared towards kids, so you may or may not want it. It is 90% classic Disney, meaning Snow White, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, etc. The only newer Disney in it is Toy Story (only Buzz is the most interactive character), a Finding Nemo side game and The Princess and The Frog collection quests, so if you are looking to get this for your kids, make sure they appreciate Classic Disney, as mine don’t and if it’s not Cars, Bolt, Wall-E, etc. they may not like it. Check out the rest of the review to help you decide.

The Menu

Typically I go through the menu items, but there really isn’t much to it. It has both a hover and lock method and voice navigation. The voice navigation is a little faster but both are there depending upon your preference. Once you start, you can choose a new game or continue a previous game, hit the options or use a fast pass. Fast pass is just a quick method to get right to the side games. There are quite a few options though while you are in the game which are; Adventure Journal (keeps track of your current adventures), Park Map (see below), Game Progress, Photo albums, Autograph Books and Pin Badges. Your regular options are accessed via the normal Kinect gesture method such as brightness, volume, subtitles, etc.

The Park

Unfortunately I can’t compare the in-game park to the real life park as I haven’t been there, but from what I’ve been told by some fellow members of 123Kinect (thanks guys!), is that this is a very accurate representation of the park and very detailed at that. If you have been to the park, you will most likely recognize a lot of the places. I did take a snapshot of the map in the game, so you can compare for yourself if you haven’t played it, but the game does break it down in more detail as you dig deeper into each section. I did notice some parts are closed off but they are there, so more than likely we will see DLC for this title in the upcoming months.

The Park Map is quite detailed!

In The Park

While you are in the park, you are free to go where you want. Basically, a majority of characters are all over the park and they all have something that they need you to collect to help them out. It is VERY repetitive, as long as you don’t mind doing the same objective over and over, then you will like this, otherwise after about the 100th thing you collect for someone, it gets boring. The good thing though is it will take you awhile to fully complete this game, and it does keep track of your progress. Each area is broken up and has a completion percentage as well so this will probably be a nice feature for those completionists.

You do have several items to assist you with collecting, these range from a digital camera to take pictures, a magic wand, a blaster gun, a squirt gun, etc. You will probably be overwhelmed with how much stuff there is to collect. There are also coins all over the park, these are used as your actual spending money in the game. Luckily, all of the side games include coin collecting so they accumulate to your total. You do get to use the coins to purchase new things, as there is a ton of stuff to buy as well, with autograph books, photo albums, new clothes and accessories.

There is also an experience/leveling system, although I really didn’t notice any difference with leveling up. Some people have mentioned you see things easier as you level up, but I didn’t really notice, could just be me though.

Surprisingly enough, there are actual park rides you go on. They are just a watching thing and probably won’t give you much excitement but its a nice touch to actually add the real rides in there. The rides are not labelled and you can’t quick travel to them, so you do actually look for them as they are all over the place. To give you an idea of them, I made a quick video of the Gadget Go rollercoaster ride in Toontown.

There’s a couple of other side shows that you can interact with as well, it’s a collection item again, but one is to conduct music using a baton and another has a fortune-telling machine. There’s all kind of unique things around the park, so you really do have to do some exploring to experience it all. There is an actual objective within the park though, as you progress through helping out everyone with their laundry lists, you eventually get to the end of the main quests, I’ll call them. You eventually want to get to a parade and then the fireworks show at the end of the day. Mostly everything wraps up in Toontown and doing the major quests are only about 25% of what the game offers. The side games are another 25% and the remaining 50% is collecting everything in the park so you will definitely have a lot to do. Unfortunately the main quests aren’t a very deep story or plot as I found the side games offer more of a story than the main game which is unfortunate.

One last note, there are NIC’s I’ll call them, as Non-Interactive Characters but I didn’t go about trying to find them all, Chesire Cat is one of them where you can see him, but can’t interact with him. There were a couple of others if I recall (magic carpet was one as well) but just wanted to note characters are not limited to just what I pointed out in the attractions list.

The Attractions

The attractions are the actual side games, I wouldn’t call them mini-games as even though some are short, some are long being 10-15 minutes on average with all of the story telling which is much appreciated. All of them have their own story as I mentioned and all of them are quite mixed up so it does offer some relief as you aren’t just walking around.  The side games are all over the place, but you can quick travel to them so you don’t have to walk there if you don’t want to. Some are only 1 chapter, some have 4. What I did is go around the park in a circle starting with Main Street USA, and broken down each attraction for you. I did remove the story out of the videos as I didn’t want to ruin it for you, but the gameplay may give some of it away, so proceed with caution if you watch these videos.

Main Street USA

I know I kind of went backwards as in the beginning, Main Street doesn’t offer any attractions. Also in the beginning, Main Street has the original 6 characters in it which are Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Pluto and Daisy. After you finish up the main quests, then it offers 2 attractions and the majority of characters relocate to Toon Town, however Duffy Bear appears. The first one is a float parade where you have to conduct the band, then dance and wave to the crowd to unlock the magic with the float. I did do this a couple of times and it is actually pretty cool that it’s not the same thing over and over. Each time you play it, different floats will show up. Anyhow, here’s a video of how the parade works:

The other attraction is the fireworks display. This one is ok, you can upgrade your fireworks twice. The first upgrade look to be the most realistic firework to me. The one issue I had with this, is most games will mirror you such as when you use your right hand, something on the right will move and left will move left. Well, it’s reversed in this. Your right hand controls the left firework, and the left hand controls the right firework. It can get confusing and may lead to frustration. Here’s the video of it:

Adventureland

Adventureland is your Jungle Book and Aladdin area. It has Baloo and Mowgli, and then on the other side, Aladdin, Genie and Jasmine. It only offers one side game, called the Jungle Cruise. I prefer Aladdin over Jungle Book so I was somewhat disappointed there wasn’t an Aladdin side game. Anyhow, it’s split up into 3 chapters. It’s more or less a Jungle book deal, but it’s cool. The first chapter is labelled as River Cruise. Basically, you are in a boat with water cannons. You use both hands to aim the water cannon and hose down everything. You can also jump to collect items. It’s fairly straight forward, but I really think a reticule that moved around would have worked better as you have to judge where you are aiming and the boat turns so you really have to figure out where you want to aim. The video may make more sense:

Chapter 2 is called Native Village. In this one you get to throw banana’s at gorilla’s and knock them down. Your objective is to get the 2 huge gorillas to get rid of their artifacts they are wearing. To do so, you have to match their poses and do some gestures. For whatever reason, I couldn’t get spinning to work no matter what, not sure if it’s a bug or just me, but in the video you can see for yourself:

Chapter 3 is Kayaking, although it’s more canoeing than kayaking. The controls are really sensitive in this one and if you raise your hands too high, you will smack the water. You also use this gesture to hit fruit back at the gorillas throwing them at you. It’s ok, just kind of slow. Here’s the video of it:

New Orleans Square

New Orleans Square has a mixture of characters. You will immediately notice Princess Tiana in her bright green dress. Across from her is Prince Naveen, however he’s one of the non-selfish characters as he wants to give you an item with nothing in return, about time! 🙂 The other characters didn’t show up right away so you may have to progress somewhere to have them show up, but Br’er Bear is here, and Black Barty shows up as well as the Fortune Red machine, which if I’m not mistaken, is a real thing at the park. There are 2 attractions in this one, Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean, but I’ve broken up both for you.

Haunted Mansion offers 2 chapters of play. The first chapter, named Stretching Room, is a leaning/floating deal (there are quite a few of these) where you just have to avoid objects and match certain poses to go through picture frames. There’s really not much to it, but you can see the video here:

The second chapter, Escape The Mansion, is actually quite interactive and it wasn’t too bad. You are armed with a flashlight and you make your character move around. You can hide or point the flashlight at haunted items to make them vanish. It is sometimes hard to aim the light but overall, it’s not bad, here’s the video of it, I was hiding at first as for whatever reason, my flashlight wasn’t working right away:

The other side game is Pirates of the Caribbean, which has 4 chapters in it. Chapter 1, Down The Bayou, introduces you to Black Barty as you help each other through the bayou. You are in a rowboat and you have to row. I thought this was one kind of cool. There is no time limit thankfully as it’s you need to row somewhat precisely to get the boat where you want it. The only issue I had with this is rowing too realistic, ie. rowing normal height as you would, triggers you to smack the oar in the water, so you have to baby row, but I guess it makes sense since this is for kids anyway. Here’s the video of it:

Chapter 2, Dead Man’s Cove, turns more into a surfing level which is pretty cool. You use the oar to change direction faster, otherwise leaning works fine. You can also use the oar to smack things back at the skeletons. Check out the video:

Chapter 3, Pirate Ship, was another cool one. It is sword fighting, but it is quite mediocre. Puss In Boots kind of set the standard for sword fighting unfortunately. There’s really not much to it, you can swing high to low or side to side, and it seems to be all random, so no skill necessary. You also have to randomly jump and duck at times as well. Here’s the video:

Chapter 4, Puerto Dorado, is a longer one but its interesting as it different things mixed in. You start by sneaking around in a barrel and then hide when you are almost spotted. Then it turns into a quick pose game, and then you get to throw things at the pirates. The end has you whacking cannonballs back which highly reminded me of Zelda with playing a version of ping-pong. Here’s the video of it:

Critter Country

The next section we visit is Critter Country. In here, we have several well-known characters from Winnie The Pooh, Pooh himself, Eeyore and Piglet. Also Br’er Fox is in here as well. This section offers 2 attractions so I’ll break them down again. The first attraction is Splash Mountain, which offers 2 chapters and puts you in a Br’er Bear/Fox episode. This is one of the cel-shaded games and honestly, more cartoon type games need to use cel-shading, it just looks so much more proper in my opinion than some fake 3-D graphics of a cartoon character. Anyhow, your objective in Chapter 1, Briar Patch and River, is to first follow Br’er Rabbit. It’s pretty much another leaning type game except you get duck and jump as well. Once you make it to your destination, it then turns into a river boat game, where you get to paddle again. Here’s the video so you can judge yourself, but check out the cel-shading, it’s nice 🙂

Chapter 2, Laughing Place, is not really much different, except you’re in a barrel with an oar this time. Here’s the video of it:

The Winnie The Pooh attraction is another cel-shaded one, after you play a few of them, if you aren’t used to it, they really start looking awesome compared to regular graphics. Anyhow, Pooh consists of 3 chapters. The first, A Very Blustery Day, has you helping Pooh get honey using balloons to float around. It is another leaning game so don’t expect anything to be drastic. Here’s the video of it:

The second chapter, Bouncing With Tigger, does change it up. You still lean, but you have to do a pogo stick motion with your hands to stay bouncing. You jump to bounce real high. This one was a nice change-up to the normal ones. Check out the video:

The third chapter, Finding Presents, is one of the better ones in the game I think. It highly resembles the Kinect Sports Soccer blocking game, or volleyball game. They throw presents at you and you have to touch them with the specified body part (hands, feet or head) but avoid beehives. This one is pretty much 1:1 like it is in Kinect Sports and you have full avatar control, so it makes a nice game. Here’s the video:

Frontierland

This area only has your western Toy Story characters in it and unfortunately it’s limited to Woody, Stinky Pete and Jessie. There’s also only one attraction in it, Big Thunder Mountain which offers you 2 chapters. Chapter 1, Riding The Mine Cart, is an interesting one. You are on a mine cart, and you pump it to make it go, but also need to jump, duck and reach out side to side to change tracks. It’s actually quite hard probably due to it being more energetic and I didn’t adjust the brightness so I couldn’t see a lot as it is one of the darker levels. Check out the video:

Chapter 2, Runaway Train, is another challenging one, all of the same motions except you are on top of a train and its dark as well. It was also 4am when I was playing these so it could have just been me sucking because I was tired 🙂 Anyway, here’s the video:

Mickey’s ToonTown

ToonTown doesn’t offer any attractions, but eventually all of the original 6 characters move here and you’ll also be able to meet up with Chip & Dale.

Fantasyland

This is the largest area in the park and it has a lot of side games and characters. It’s just large overall and actually broken up into 4 sections in the map itself. You will find Pinocchio, Mad Hatter, Cinderella, Peter Pan, Captain Hook, Aurora, Beast, Snow White, Alice, Queen of Hearts, Ariel, Belle and White Rabbit. As for the side games, it offers Alice In Wonderland, Pixie Hollow, Matterhorn, Peter Pan’s Flight, Princess Faire, and “small world”. Since there are a lot, I’ll break up each one into its own section:

Alice In Wonderland
This one offers you 3 chapters and is another cel-shaded one, it looks better in here to me. The first chapter, Down The Rabbit Hole, is another leaning game, not much to it. Here’s the video:

Chapter 2, Queen’s Croquet, is a different one, it is a leaning game, but you are in a bubble making you the croquet ball. It’s more exciting than the first:

Chapter 3, The Unbirthday Party, is more of a red light/green light game where you dance and move around and then they’ll stop and you have to match one of their poses in a given time limit. Here’s the video:

Pixie Hollow
Pixie Hollow is one of the more “magical” experiences even though it’s just a posing game and it’s only 1 chapter. It’s a Tinkerbell scene and the fairies are telling a story, you just have to match the gestures but you can watch the video if you want, it just has a real Disney feel to it, whereas some of the games don’t, even though they have Disney characters in it. A warning though, this is basically the whole story so I would consider it a spoiler:

Matterhorn
Matterhorn is a snow setting with 3 chapters as well. You are with Goofy on all 3 of them though, so it’s not really themed after any movies like the others. The first chapter, Bobsleds, is a leaning game again, but in a Disney style bobsled. You also can pick up snow and throw snowballs at the Yeti’s, which is done by just making a throwing motion. It works for what it is, here’s the video:

Chapter 2, Snowball Fight, is one of the throwing ones. You get to throw snowballs and duck. The change-up is appreciated, here’s the video:

Chapter 3, Skiing, is like the bobsled except you can jump higher, not much of a difference. Check it out for yourself:

Peter Pan’s Flight
The last cel-shaded attraction, kind of disappointed there weren’t more that were cel-shaded, but anyhow, this one offers you 4 chapters. Chapter 1, The Skies of London, is another leaning one, except you flap your arms to go up and crouch to go down. It’s just a flying board but looks great, see for yourself:

Chapter 2, Battle With The Jolly Roger, is another whack it back mode, except you get a paddle in each hand, so you can use either one. Here’s the video:

Chapter 3, Flight Through Neverland, is just like Chapter 1 except in Neverland. Nothing too much different, here’s the video:

Chapter 4, Swordfight with Hook, is the other sword fighting one, but it’s just with Hook for a few times as you can see below:

Princess Faire
The Princess Faire is one of the other “magical” ones. After you help out all 5 princesses in the game, you unlock them in this mode. This is every little girls dream to be honest. You get to dance with a princess of your choice to the real song and I’m assuming, the real choreography. It’s not dance central quality, but hey it’s a kids game and to bring this magic to kids is just great. Jasmine is my favorite, but she’s not in here 🙁 So I went with Ariel instead, here’s the video:

Small World
This is the last magical one in my opinion. It plays the song over and over (thankfully it doesn’t sing it but with different styles) but it teaches kids fundamentals about other locations/continents and how music/dancing is different everywhere in the world. You basically turn this handle like a jack in the box to get you going, and then you just mimic the dance moves. Each time you play its different as well. Here’s the video of one I did:

Tomorrowland

This is the last area in the park and only offers Buzz Lightyear, the Aliens and Stitch. It also offers 3 attractions, Astro Blasters with Buzz, Finding Nemo and Space Mountain which is probably the best leaning game out of them all, although you lean with your hands, not with your body. Astro Blasters has 4 chapters. The first chapter, Planet Surface, has you flying around with Buzz, but you get to shoot in it so I really didn’t mind the leaning in it. Check out the video for yourself:

Chapter 2, Tunnels, is a straight up shooting one, and you get to duck behind cover. This one was more enjoyable than others, but check out the video anyway:

Chapter 3, Zurg Chamber Battle, has you fight against Zurg, it’s good fun as well. Here’s the video, probably a spoiler 🙂

Chapter 4, Escape, is another leaning/shooting combo, but overall it’s still not bad. Here’s the video:

Space Mountain offers 2 chapters, but its set with a futuristic deal, maybe I just like futuristic games or you’re using your hands to move around instead of your body, but I found this one to be the most enjoyable out of all the leaning games. Chapter 1, Journey Through Space, has you flying around on this space jet ski thing using a handlebar motion. You also get to fire some lasers by using a reticule. It just looks cool and is probably the best looking one in the game and has a halo look like object that assists you. See for yourself:

Chapter 2, Space Junk Yard, is kind of the same deal, except you get to throw stuff in this one. Here’s the video of it:

The last attraction, Finding Nemo, consists of 3 chapters. Chapter 1, Coral Reef, is another leaning game, but its like hide and seek, except I don’t get it. I think I was playing it right with hiding behind the objects but you always get spotted, unless it’s supposed to be that way. Anyhow, here’s the video of it, it is slow so don’t expect excitement:

Chapter 2, Bruce and the Sunken Ships, is another leaning game, but it more exciting. You have to flap again to go up and crouch to go down, but you have to run from Bruce. Here’s the video of it:

Chapter 3, East Australian Current, is another leaning one, kind of, except you don’t move like you want to because of the current, and I found a second player really helps on this one as long as you do the same movements together. You jump to go up and crouch to go down, with leaning side to side. Here’s the video of it:

Those are all of the attractions, I explored everything in this game and did not see any others nor anything else that was hidden related to the side games, so all in all, there are 40 side games to play, it took me about 6 hours watching stories and all to go through all of them and this is the most amount of side/mini-games I’ve seen in a Kinect title. Once again, a developer shows other developers that these Kinect games they keep making are lacking content. I also am not including the rides in this so those are additional minutes needed as well to go on all of them. There really is a lot of content in this game, it just may not be as immersive as other titles but will probably please most.

The Controls

For the side game controls, I really didn’t have any issues except what I pointed out. All of the games worked fine for the most part, some were more sensitive than others but nothing you can’t adjust to. The main problem I had with this game were the actual park controls. You use one of your hands to move, basically to guide your character. The problems start arising when you are trying to collect things, such as taking photographs. The camera has to be in your hand in order to see the spot on where you have to go, so your now relying on how long you can hold your one arm up and this type of game, takes hours, not minutes so your arm will become fatigued. I tried propping up my arm up with my other one, and sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t.

The other problem, as I mentioned with the photographs, is that you have to be in a certain spot, so you have move your arm to the side and turn while not moving the other arm, and it’s a pain to get in these spots, and once you are in the spot and start to turn, as there is a direction arrow on where to face, you start moving forward. It leads to more frustration than anything.

The last thing is the standing, I can stand for a while, but I put in 12 hours straight last night so I could get this review done. I ended up finding out you can sit thankfully while navigating, but anyone that plays this game for hours upon hours, isn’t going to be able to stand for that long. What didn’t make sense to me, is it seems the game does shoulder detection, as if you turn your shoulders, your avatar will as well. Why in the world was a walk in place system with shoulder turning, and even head tracking so you could look up and down, not put in place is anyone’s guess. It would have made the quest part of the game much more enjoyable.

Graphics and Music

As I pointed out, some sections have cel-shading. I really do like the cel-shading graphics much better than the cartoony 3D graphics, but it’s just personal opinion. I would think more cartoon character games would use cel-shading, not sure why they don’t. A note about the music, all of it is authentic and Disney style, even in the side games. A very good job with the music, but it still could have used more as most of us are familiar with all Disney songs from the movies.

Multiplayer

All of the games offer 2 player simultaneous local play, however there isn’t any online multiplayer which I don’t think was really necessary but wanted to mention it. The only bad thing about it, is it’s 2 player in the park as well, and Player 2 barely gets to do anything, as Player 1 does all of the navigating, so this could cause some issues with kids, not sure why this wasn’t thought of. Player 2 gets to initiate the autographs and photos, but that’s really it. It was even kind of rude when one Disney character danced with me and made Player 2 watch on the sidelines.

Conclusion

Like I stated earlier, if you are an ultimate Disney fan, you will want this game. It really is geared for kids though as some things are really kiddish. If you or your kids aren’t Disney fanatics, but enjoy the Disney movies and characters, as long as you like classic Disney, you will probably like this game, however for adults, it can become quite boring unless you really like doing the same thing over and over (ie. collecting). It would also help as Disney has always had the ability to make their films and experiences enjoyable for both kids and adults which I was hoping this game would cover both as well, but unfortunately kids were the primary concern with this one.

Content wise, it probably has the most out of any Kinect game, but as for gameplay, it’s pretty standard so as long as you don’t expect extravagant things out of it, it’s a good game. It’s good and different for a first Kinect Disney title, so hopefully they can expand off of this as I think the games that feature oodles of Disney stuff are much more enjoyable than just a game that features one Disney movie/theme.


This review is based on a retail copy of the Xbox 360 version of Kinect Disneyland Adventures
Scoring policy: What do these game review scores actually mean?