Another Disney/Pixar title comes to Kinect, but this time it’s only Better with Kinect. If you haven’t heard anything about this one, here you go:

Get ready for all the fun of a theme park attraction, right at home! Disney has packed the thrills and wonder of the Toy Story amusement park ride into this collection of interactive shooting gallery mini-games! Use Kinect motion controls in carnival-style play where you’ll take aim at targets inspired by the scenes from the ride, plus new settings created for this game. Team up to unlock hidden easter egg bonuses and fun collectibles. Earn in-game tickets and trade them for character Sticker Books that shape the themes you’ll experience during the game.

Overview

I didn’t know what to expect with this one, it definitely caught me off guard. It’s a little kid game, I’d recommend ages 5 and under. It’s very repetitive, the controls are so-so and it’s very boring to anyone older than 5. If you have the 5 and under kid(s) that have everything, then you’ll probably want it for something to do, although they may not play it more than once.

The Menu

The menu can be controlled with either the controller or Kinect. Kinect uses the hover and lock method. It’s pretty simple, since it is geared for the little ones. It consists of Adventure Mode, Party, Options, Free Play and Rewards. You can also return to the title screen as that’s your initial start to play either with a controller or with Kinect. As usual, I’ll break each one down.

Adventure Mode

I guess this is the story mode of the game, but all it does is go in order. You choose a gallery and away you go. The first game per gallery is a Pie Training mode. You just throw pies at Buzz or Woody. With the controller, you just move the reticule around with the left stick and use the right trigger to fire. If you hold it down, it auto-fires. With Kinect, you hold your hands like you are holding a steering wheel and move it around (up/down/left/right) and it auto-fires for you. After the training mode, you have 2 shooting galleries, one of the variation games (each one has something different which I break down in Free Play mode), another 2 shooting galleries, another variation game and then 2 more shooting games and your “adventure” ends. The only objective I’ve seen for this whole adventure mode is to get a high score.

Some of the shooting galleries are interactive, meaning you shoot something and then some additional event occurs with more targets to shoot. The only variation between all of the shooting galleries are your ammo types, types of targets you shoot and the environments. Other than those, it’s all wash, rinse, repeat. After completing a gallery, you do win a sticker to add to your collection. I did make a video of it so you can be the judge:

Party

Party mode isn’t really a party, it just spins up random levels for you to play, one after another, I couldn’t last through the entire thing so I have no idea how long it is. That’s all there really is to it.

Options

The options are fairly simple. You have Audio options to adjust the music, sound effects and voice volume. You also have controller options allowing you to adjust the sensitivity and invert the Y-axis when using the controller. Last are the credits.

Free Play

In here, there’s some objectives I suppose. Only 1 shooting gallery and both of the variation games are unlocked. In order to unlock the other shooting galleries, you have to complete each one in order. Each gallery/game has 5 bonus objectives that allow you to earn 3 gold ribbons. I didn’t attempt it, but I’m assuming earning all gold ribbons on an entire gallery unlocks more stickers. The galleries are broken up into 5 different characters and themes. I’ll list them in order, the last 2 are the variant game.

Wild West

This has Woody, Jessie and the Miner in the Wild West theme. Targets are normal bull’s-eyes using the sticky darts as ammo. Here’s the list of galleries:

  • Rootin’ Tootin’ Shootin’
  • Rootin’ Tootin’ Targetin’
  • Sarsaparilla Slide
  • Mine Cart Spelunk
  • Western Showdown
  • Please Do Feed the Animals
  • Wild West Alley Ball Challenge
  • Creaky Canyon Alley Ball Challenge

The variant game is kind of like ski-ball/alley ball. I found the controller was easier to use in this one, although using Kinect allows you to throw balls with both hands. All you do is reach backward and throw forward underhand. Aiming is awful with Kinect which is why I preferred the controller. Here’s a video of it:

Space Frontier

This one is Buzz Lightyear’s domain, but only him and the aliens are in this one. Targets are all kinds of things that you have to shoot rings on. Here’s the galleries:

  • Launched in Space
  • Launched in Deep Space
  • Flying Disc… in Space
  • Terraformal Event
  • Invasion of the Space Raiders
  • Space Rescue
  • Planetary Slash n’ Defense
  • Cosmic Slash n’ Defense

The variant game is kind of like Fruit Ninja, but on a more basic level. It works for what it is. This one I found Kinect much easier than the controller. Here’s a video of it:

Balloon Garden

This is Bo Peep’s area. It’s more geared towards the girls definitely. Targets are balloons if you couldn’t guess. The list of galleries are:

  • Baaa-Loon Pop
  • Pop Party
  • Hot Air Balloon Show
  • Flight of the Balloons
  • Garden Grow
  • Balloon Blast
  • Flock of Speed to Rescue
  • Rescuing Fields of Sheep

The variant game is some weird sheep herding game. You have to lunge forward to collect sheep. I found the controller easier on this one as well, Kinect works somewhat, but you really have to lean to the left or right and you still can’t get to the edge. Here’s a video of it:

Animals and Friends

This one has Hamm and Rex in it, a few galleries belong to Hamm and a few belong to Rex and one belongs to the penguin, although both of the variant games belong to Hamm. Ammo is eggs, I don’t recall what the targets are. Here’s the list:

  • Hamm and Eggs
  • Bacon and Eggs
  • Dino-Rama
  • The Jurassic Shore
  • Farm Raising Fury
  • Ice Berrrger and Fries
  • It’s an Egg Drop Spring
  • Fall-ing Eggs

The variant game is some basket egg catching game. You just move the basket left or right, it moves up and down by itself. I think the controller and Kinect are equal on this one. Eggs roll off the roof and you just have to catch them. Here’s the video of it:

Army Men Challenges

This one is all of the little plastic green guys that we all grew up with. Targets are plates and a lot of the vehicles are in here. The list of galleries are:

  • Shoot Camp
  • Plate Break
  • Skeet Shoot
  • Wayward Whirlybirds of Wonderment
  • Moving Target Madness
  • Paratrooper Scooper
  • Block Breakout Assault
  • Midnight Breakout

The variant is some paddle rebound game. It’s another strange one. All you do is ricochet balls back and they auto aim themselves. This one works the same for both Kinect and the controller. Check the video below:

Rewards

Rewards keep track of your progress I suppose. They are broken up into 3 categories. The first are your Free Play High Scores. These are local only, so there’s no online competition. Next are your stickers that you have unlocked, I think there’s a total of 15. Last are your Adventure High Scores, which again isn’t linked to Xbox Live.

Multiplayer

Multiplayer allows 2 simultaneous players to play. The second player can jump in any time. I imagine it can get a little competitive, my 8-year-old thought it was cool to beat dad in a few games, so for family fun it’s not too bad.

Conclusion

As long as you keep in mind that is geared for the real young ones, it’s an ok game for them. It’s very basic, they will probably have a blast playing it and it will probably keep them entertained for a few. For the older ones, this isn’t a good game at all. For us adults, we were only considered to play with the little ones. The graphics for the characters are wonderful and their voices are spot on but this is one of those take it for what it is titles and that’s basically it.


This review is based on a retail copy of the Xbox 360 version of Toy Story Mania!
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