Pay no attention to the silly kids that jumped around on the stage at Microsoft’s E3 press conference. They might have left a bad taste in your mouth. That was definitely the case for me. The on-stage presentation for Kinect Disneyland Adventure did not look good. It looked pretty janky, actually. But seeing Kinect Disneyland Adventure in person changed my mind. It’s cute! It’s also one of the first Kinect games that allows free roaming. And it really works!
Kinect Disneyland Adventure isn’t a killer app for Microsoft, but Disney fans and most young kids are going to freak out when they get their hands on this. This is a very polished experience that seems to work the Disney magic into a virtual experience. Look, you can hug Mickey. How could you not like a game where you can hug Mickey Mouse?
Imagine an experience where you can walk around the entire Disneyland property. All the lands, attractions and even characters are included. You’ll create your own character (full customization, down to Mickey ears hats!) and walk around freely. Movement is as simple as pointing your finger to where you want to go. Keep your hand extended and you’ll continue to walk in that direction. We were told that voice recognition will also be supported in the final version. You’ll only need to say where you’d like to go to teleport.
The eight lands of Disneyland are represented in the game. In our demo there were 12 attractions that could be visited, but more will be in the final. When it’s all said and done there will be 110 meet-and-greet characters and over 100 quests for park visitors to complete. They’ve managed to pack in 80 years worth of Disney animation into this virtual park visit. They’ve also managed to squeeze in all of the little key moments you’ll experience in the real parks, meaning you’ll see key landmarks from the worlds and rides in your journeys. Park frequenters will definitely see that the development team worked to put in all the iconic park moments.
Kinect Disneyland Adventure is less of a game and more of a virtual experience — it’s like getting to explore the Disney park without the lines or $8 lemonade. There are challenges at each of the attractions to award you for your park exploration. These feel more like rides and less like missions. Attractions have you doing things like flying around the skies with Peter Pan, or riding minecarts through mines. Players will be awarded up to five stars for their efforts, but all attraction challenges are set so that failing is impossible.
If you want a good idea of what kind of experience this is, know that you can march through Downtown U.S.A. leading a parade through the park. And the fireworks at night? You’ll be conducting the show. It’s a virtual Disneyland, and it’s not trying to anything but that. You’re free to explore a virtual version of the happiest place in the world at your own pace, no controller needed. Kids are going to lose their shit. Disney fans will too.