Despite the fact that they released high-profile games like Pure, Split/Second and Epic Mickey, The House of Mouse's console output's dwindled significantly. That makes their partnership with Microsoft an important one, because Xbox 360s sit in millions of living rooms across the world.
To make the joint venture work, they've tapped Frontier Developments, who created one of the better Kinect experiences with Kinectimals last year. Can they work their mojo in the Magic Kingdom, too? Get your mouse hats on, kids. Time for a Gut Check.
Evan Narcisse, a new parent who always liked Donald Duck more, thanks to Carl Barks' amazing comics art:
It might be easy to right this game off as just so much cashier-friendly Kinect kiddie twaddle. But think of it from a child's perspective: here's a game that takes you to Disneyland. And better yet, you get to dance and hug (among other things) with the characters that you love, a damn sight better than the mute mascot suits walking around the park. There's a surprising amount of game here too. It's not just high fives and picture-taking with Minnie; loads of active play await the kids and parents who travel around the game's virtual theme park. In fact, some of the levels run the risk of overstaying their welcomes. However, just enough gentle danger pops up to make these feel like adventures, which is, again, the game giving you more than the actual Disneyland does. Snowball fights with Yetis, for example. If that doesn't one-up reality, then it serves as a enticing complement. Yes.
Luke Plunkett, who has been to Disneyland. Tokyo Disneyland: I haven't played this game. Most of the people I know who have are pretty dismissive of it. But those people are neither Disney fans nor fathers of small children.
When I saw this being played by kids at GamesCom, there was genuine wonder in their faces that they could not just explore the famous theme park, but interact with it as well. When I describe this game to my wife and her friends, all of them Disney fanatics, their eyes light up, and I find myself explaining what a Kinect is and no they can't play it on their PS2, you'll need to buy an Xbox 360.
And as a father of a small child, already on her way to being indoctrinated into the world of Disney by her mother, all I can think of is how much she'll lose her shit playing this. So you know what? For the happiness this looks like it'll bring those closest to me, I'm giving this a Yes.
Stephen Totilo, whose favourite Kinect game was made by the people behind this one. Disneyland Kinect Adventures is no Kinectimals, the cute and surprisingly deep debut Kinect game also from Frontier Developments. Disneyland is, like Kinectimals, a mini-game collection framed with an addictive rewards-and-unlock structure typical to traditional video games. But the fantasy wrapper around this one — a visit to an unreal, antiseptic Disneyland in which the mascots are real — is just too strange for me. And it's not a fantasy I'd offer to kids, who I think can find better things to do with an Xbox than pretending to go to a real place while picking up the bouncing coins that fill its corners. I do like the art, and the basic hugging and dancing animation routines with the park mascots are charming, but the fantasy is unappealing. Worse, the mini-games often go too long and are diminished by programming that is so forgiving of your gestures that you — or a child — need do little more than intend to make a gesture in order to succeed. Should you buy it? Aside from the hilariousness of having the Queen of Hearts refuse to hug you? No.
Gut Check is an off-the-cuff impression of what we think of a game: what we'd tell a friend; how we'd respond on Twitter or Facebook or over a beer if someone asked us "Would you buy this game?" Our lead writer, who has played a lot of the game, decides. Other writers chime in for additional points of view. Stay tuned for our full review.