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Hands-on with Kinect Disneyland Adventures

3:00 PM on 10.17.2011 // John Speerbrecker

As we all know, there are dozens of new games coming out this year. I'm not just talking about the big blockbusters for us grown ups. There is also a large group of gamers that happens to be a bit younger and some of you might have one of these growing in your house. Yep, children.

In Kinect Disneyland Adventures, you get to live or re-live your your own experience within the realm of Disneyland. You get to travel around the entire park and see all of the attractions, rides and stores that the actual park has to offer. The team at Frontier paid such great attention to the detail of the park. In fact, Disney opened their archives that they could recreate the park in the best way possible.

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Kinect Disneyland Adventures (Xbox 360)
Developer: Frontier Developments
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Release date: November 15, 2011

Along with the authenticity of the park, you will be able to treat the collectibles the same way you would in real life. One item that I remember when I visited Disney World as a child was the autograph book. Every character that I met was able to sign my book and 20 years later, I still have it. Your character in the game will have his/her own book to have each character sign. Another very popular item in the parks today are the pins that people are collecting around the world. You will be able to go around the park to try to get all of them to wear on your special lanyard.

The entire environment is interactive. You will have a set of tools that your character will be able to use in such as a megaphone and a magic wand. You can use the megaphone by putting your hands to your face and yelling at the people and objects that you come across. Using the wand will let your character cause some of the little statues to dance and while this happens, they will also drop coins. There are dozens of items that you can zap and animate. The wand pays homage to one of my favorite non-cartoon Disney movies, Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

While you are traversing the park you will come across many of the Disney characters that we have come to know and love. Each member of this vibrant cast will have a series of quests for you to complete in order to earn more money and obtain new items to use.

We first bumped into Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story where he helped us become a space ranger. This is the biggest yet most welcome difference between the game and reality. Instead of just going on the virtual ride and coasting along, they have made it into an interactive adventure. A adventure that will essentially give you a work out and also give you a great chance to dance around in some instances.

Later I was dropped in with a developer on Disneyland Adventures and we were transported into the world of Toy Story and dressed in costumes that reflected that universe. In here was a simple shooting mechanic where. When it was all over, we were sent back to the park in our regular clothes and were now Space Rangers. One fun/embarrasing thing about each adventure is that Kinect will take your picture at the end that you will be able to upload via Kinect share or Facebook. 

From Toy Story, it was off to Splash Mountain. Here we were following the Brear Rabbit down the Briar patch. Along the way you will have to physically jump to have your character jump over the barbs. While you are running down the path, you will need to pick up money as you go along in order to get the highest score. After that we got to hop into the log boat and pantomime paddling in order to steer the boat downstream. I liked that how my arms paddled directly effected the direction of the boat and not just be a generic pathway to travel. For added effect, have a friend with a bucket of water on standby to dump on you at a moments notice.

It's a Small World was the last adventure that we took. I had no idea how they could make this into a game with the ride being a bunch of creepy anamatronic children. But they managed to do it and somehow, these kids are not haunting my dreams. In fact this adventure was the most exhausting of the three that we tried. First, we are in a boat that we will have to motion like we are turning a crank to make the boat go. Then, we come across three randomly selected countries that we will learn how the locals dance. In America, we line dance and did a rain dance. In Africa we did some traditional tribal choreography. Even though these dances seemed quite complicated the game was very forgiving.

There is so much to this vacation on a disc. Frontier Developments are touting that there is fifty hours of gameplay including twenty adventures to partake in with or without a friend. With such a true recreation of the park, my biggest question would be whether it could deter people from going to the park. I mean, it is kind of far.

Other than that, Its great to get to see a place that had such strong feelings from my childhood in a easy to access experience. Game wise, what it boils down to is a collection of mini-games that are based in Disneyland. Since there are a whole lotta people that love this place, it will be interesting to see how this will do for kids and us children in men's bodies later this year. 


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