Cheaper than visiting the real park, and probably more fun for children.
Kinect: Disneyland Adventures is a new virtual interactive experience that brings the Disneyland park right into your living room without even needing to jump on a plane and travel overseas. Everything you need from the world famous amusement park is completely at your disposal.
I’ve visited Disneyland myself and it was interesting to see how well the virtual world measures up to the real world. The park is divided up into the Disney character lands, which are filled with attractions and you’re greeted by a Disney character on each one. Each Disneyland character welcomes you, and you’re invited to wave back with your hand to acknowledge their existence. The characters invite you to explore the park more with a series of find and retrieve quests, which send you wandering around the park on your first adventure. This is where you’ll need to retrieve items, get a selection of autographs and find some hidden items.
As your journey begins, you’ll take in the visually stunning rides and attractions, and even collect coins that have been scattered around the park. These coins can then be used to purchase a selection of themed Disney clothing and costumes. Walking around the streets does give you a feel of realism as it’s filled with parents and children briefly brushing past you and you can take part in conversations with any of the passer-bys.
The Disneyland rides and shows are transformed into a series of kinect controlled mini games such as bobsledding down a hill with Goofy and trying to evade being attacked by a yeti. There are a vast amount of mini games to unlock within the park and it’s quite enjoyable and entertaining to play. Even the Disneyland rides and attractions are interactive, which allow you to sit on a ride and enjoy the experience from a first person perspective.
Walking around Disneyland is a very slow task, a reminder that the experience can be long winded at times. Holding your hand up allows your avatar to move forward and moving your arm left or right steers you in your chosen direction. Stopping happens when you place your arms beside you, although even the slightest movement or gesture can see your avatar moving off again, often sending them in completely the wrong direction.
Interacting with some of your favourite Disneyland characters is a delightful experience and gives you the choice of talking to them or even taking their photo. Disneyland Adventures enables you to grab a camera from the pop up menu and take a photo of anything you wish. Despite a few technical upheavals with the Kinect, the game allows you to feel part of the whole amusement experience.
Taking a journey with Peter Pan will enable you to take to the skies and fly over London by simply moving your body left and right, or take a journey aboard Space Mountain, where you’ll be swerving around planets and whizzing past comets. The great thing about a virtual interactive world compared to a real one is that you don’t have to spend hours queueing for one ride with your fast track ticket, you simply get to choose where you go at your leisure. The open world environment means you can explore and take everything in at a relaxing rate.
Most of the mini games are based around the same dynamics of catching, avoiding or moving something, so there isn’t a great element of surprise there, but the game does cater for the younger audience very well. The graphics are simply stunning and its inviting charm instantly rekindles that childhood feeling you may remember when you saw the Disneyland characters for the very first time. With eight beautifully themed worlds to explore, it’s easy to see why this game can be so entertaining. Riding on the attractions, listening to beautiful wonderland stories and being able to fully interact with Disneyland characters is simply magical and will give no end of enjoyment to small children.
However, the game is purely aimed for the younger generation and casual gamers, and there is no doubt in my mind that a more experienced gamer will get a little bit bored at times. The mini games are good and will put you through an average workout of jumping and moving, without getting too physical. Disneyland Adventures is about feeling close to the characters and working your way around the park and attraction rides. Often, the more grown up of you may feel a little silly at times as you frantically wave your hand back and forth to greet new characters and you’re often invited to go up to a character and give them a hug. But this is something that will give the younger players no end of joy.
I leave you with two choices for this particular game. Disney fans and those with young children are going to love it and want to play it for endless hours, and enjoy the whole interactive experience. However, every one else will simply run in the other direction and hide, hoping Mickey Mouse doesn’t find them.