"Explore Disneyland, Virtually"
Kinect Disneyland Adventures is a game designed to immerse players into the world of Disneyland. You get to meet all kinds of Disney characters and interact with them in many different ways; you can go on rides which are in the actual park, help out the characters with missions, or just run around the park exploring.
Playing the game can be both frustrating and fun. You are given a basic tutorial for walking and interacting in the beginning, but some things are not explained very well, which can lead to frustration. In order to walk, you raise either hand in front of you, and your child character (yes, you play as a child) moves forward. To turn, you just turn your arm left or right depending on which way you want to go.
You can customize the child if you desire, picking a boy or a girl, and selecting from several hair styles, colors, skin pigment, and clothing. Once you have completed your playable character, you'll learn how to move and collect coins, which is how you purchase things around the park. Then, you are off on your first adventure.
All over the Kinect Disneyland Adventures park are characters from several movies. You wave to interact with each of them. There are five things you can do, but only three can be done initially. You can bow to the character, which causes the two of you to dance; hug the character (or try to do so, since some will rebuff the request); or "high five" the character, which leads to some very funny interactions, as some characters have no idea what you mean - you might get a handshake instead. The other two interactions involve getting autographs and pictures of the characters, but you have to have the right books for that.
To get the right books you must complete an adventure for Mickey to get the camera. Once you have the camera, you can take pictures of special areas which have a bouncing "photo" sign. To take pictures of the characters around the park, you have to purchase photo albums - each one stores specific characters in them. You also want to take pictures of the hidden Mickeys all over the park. Once you get the camera, you will only be able to walk using your left hand, since the camera works only in your right. The camera controls are actually simple, but getting your character to stop at just the right spot to take the picture sometimes caused me to have to circle around to get to the right spot again.
As the game progresses, you acquire other items which can be used during gameplay, such as Cinderella's Fairy Godmother's wand and Buzz Lightyear's blaster. These items are used all over the park to gain money, and help complete "special" tasks. Unfortunately, to get all the awards in the park, each item must be out when you go past a spot where you need to use it, so you have to keep switching to the various magic items while exploring the area multiple times to complete the "level".
The items, which Kinect Disneyland Adventures lists as magic items, are also used for adventures some characters give you. For example, when you receive the wand Cinderella tells you to find thread and material hidden in the park, and she will make you an outfit for the ball; later, you can find even more thread around the park as a bonus mission. However, some characters you interact with will not send you on an adventure until later, so you'll have to keep checking back.
The graphics in Kinect Disneyland Adventures are incredible, but the controls are a bit difficult at times. If I was in a corner and had a magic item in my hand, the camera did not always pickup on me trying to move right to get out of it. Also, when I was interacting with a character, I never could get it to understand that my hands were in front of me for an autograph. Choosing or switching magic items didn't work with the gestures either. Fortunately, after a short time into the game, I found out I could use voice commands, which was helpful.
The rides definitely leave something to be desired. You can ride just about everything in the park, with the exception of the rides that are games, but in most of them, you just watch the scenery. The music is varied and changes depending on which area of the park you are in, and the other patrons actually hold conversations, which is fun to hear.
Kinect Disneyland Adventures might not be a favorite of the older child market it's going for, due to the control issues. However, there is so much to see and explore they just might ignore it. Even adults can get into this game and revisit memories of the movies or even attending the park in their past.
GameDynamo's Score for Kinect Disneyland Adventures (X360)
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I have been gaming since I was in high school, before it was acceptable for a girl to do it. I have been a writer for even longer. It's only natural the two would combine. I prefer RPGs, action/adventure, and strategy games, but I also play dancing, sports titles, and shooters.
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