MouSeekers Reviews: Disneyland Adventures
When we think of video games, Disney usually isn’t the top of our lists when we are searching for the newest game. There are actually a very few Disney named video games that have reached lists for the top ten games to play on the PC, handhelds, or console.
The games that players are usually most familiar with growing up are what I like to call “throw away” games. “Throw away” games are basically games made really fast for a certain event (a movie or show) or to compete against other popular platformers, so these games tend to lack in playability, story, and graphics.
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There is actually a very large library of Disney video games, many starring the big cheese himself, Mickey, and a handful that stars Donald. Then, of course, the huge group of games based on the animated films. Which was Disney’s way to capitalize on all forms of media?
Yet Disney has made some great games as well, with Kingdom Hearts and Epic Mickey coming to mind.
Even with all these Disney games out, not many have been actually based on the parks. Yes, there are a few games that have the park in them and have been rethemed into something different entirely like attraction-themed race tracks or building your own parks within boundary and object limits. Yet, it wasn’t until just recently we got an open-world game based on an actual Disney Park.
Why did it take so long, and why am I just now hearing about Disneyland Adventures?
Thinking it was a new game entirely, I bought the game and played for hours to explore everything about this game and I’m going to share with you my discoveries.
Disneyland Adventures Review
I just have to say before I get right into the review, Disneyland Adventures is actually not a new game at all. What was released on Halloween Day this year in 2017, is the remastered version of the game that was released back in 2011 to promote the Xbox 360 with the Kinect abilities.
Originally this was a game to be used only by the Xbox’s Kinect function. This gives the reason for the repetitive minigames that are accompanied with the game, that I will talk about later in the review.
MouSeekers Tip: For those who don’t know, the Kinect is an additional accessory for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One consoles that is essentially a camera that records your movements in real time and can be used to play certain games.
This remastered version lets PC and Xbox One users are able to play this open world Disneyland video game with the addition of the Xbox controller or keyboard, along with the option for the Kinect function. Also, the graphics have improved along with the support for 4k televisions.
As said by the title, this game is centered around Disneyland, in it that it is a replica of the Disneyland theme park circa 2011. Down to a tee, this game is the complete copy of the theme park layout back in 2011. The selling point for me, and probably others, you, the player, get to run, jump or walk around anywhere you please for as long as you please.
Disneyland frequenters would love that Thunder Ranch is still there, Hungry Bear hasn’t changed, Disneyland Railroad track is only turning left, and there aren’t any scrims, construction walls or cranes lining the horizon. It is Disneyland before the crowds took over.
Not only is the nostalgia take over by being able to wander the Happiest Place on Earth, but get to create your own avatar or character at the beginning of a game. Your character is a child, of course, and get limited options to change your appearance along with your clothes, with the option to “buy” other apparel later in the game.
You first meet your Mouse host, Mickey, as he welcomes you to the park and immediately you are put to work. I mean, you are given your first quest to find Donald.
After a series of running back and forth, doing unnecessary meet and greets while getting your workout, you realize you’ve just the met the Fab 4 (where is Daisy?), and you are free to roam. You actually free to roam whenever you want, you are never locked into a quest. When you do accept a quest, there is a glittery trail (pixie dust or Tinker Bell, if you believe) that will light your way to your objective, as sort of a cheat sheet.
From here you realize that this is the game premise, you are a kid exploring every aspect of Disneyland to your heart’s desire. That means finding and talking to all the characters, while they put you to work as they stand there and look pretty. The quests that all these characters give you will unlock certain items or other characters, along with nudging you to explore the attractions, so they do have a purpose to make you find their lost honeypots or books.
The characters are by far the stars of this game, as they are the main points to getting you to progress through the game. Like Disneyland, certain characters are placed in certain parts of the parks based on their story. So you are going to find Princess Aurora right by her castle in Fantasyland, and Buzz Lightyear next to his ride in Tomorrowland, Tiana in New Orleans Square, etc. etc.
And there are actually a lot more characters than I thought there would be. A fraction of the amount that Disneyland park has to offer, but more than what you would expect in a video game. Plus you might hear some of the original voice actors for certain characters, which was a real treat when I was going from character to character getting their autographs.
There was quite a group of characters that I really didn’t expect to see either, that may be interesting for those who are always searching for rare characters in the parks. Characters like Br’er Fox, Br’er Bear, and Br’er Rabbit, the Queen of Hearts, Prince Naveen, and Duffy Bear (what the…?).
Along with retrieving work papers quests from them, the characters can also pose for your pictures, sign your autograph books, and three different actions that you can prompt from your character when you approach them: high-five, hug, or dance.
The part of the game that doesn’t involve the characters, attractions, or the mini-games, there are the side quests. I mentioned this many times already in this article that the characters put you to work. It is all fun and games, but when you actually pay attention these side quests, you are left to wonder, “why am I doing this?”
Not that they are bad, just that they are mundane quests. Take for example a quest I retrieved from Winnie the Pooh. Surprise, surprise he is hungry for some honey. So, what does he ask you? To find his honey pots so he can feed his little belly. You go around Pooh Corner and find the honeypots and come back to hopefully win a reward for doing this. Instead, you are on another quest to talk to Piglet, who also has a quest to find things. Rinse and repeat. Eventually, the quests will unlock another character or an item for inventory, but the road to it is a little mundane.
Once you complete a quest line from a character or a group of characters, they will ask you find something again, but the quest line doesn’t show up in your Adventure Journal and “Tinker Bell” won’t show you the way. I haven’t tried to finish these extra quests, so who knows what will be rewarded for doing this extra credit. I did happen to find these extra items, from exploring around, like little hints to remind me that they are still there. Watching me…
So the whole reason why we go to Disneyland in the first place is to go on the rides, right? When I first started playing this game, I was curious as to how they were going to show the attractions. Were we just going to ride the attractions like in the park? Or were we going to walk through them finding items?
Let me tell you, I wasn’t anywhere close, because what they did…s actually something you would expect from a Disney game. They made the attractions into mini-game separated into different “chapters”. If that doesn’t help explain it, let me share some screenshots.
My first attraction/game was Splash Mountain because the game wanted me to go there. Since I do what I’m told, and followed the shining light to a different, crazy world of the Laughing Place.
The attractions are actually the world of the attraction, that usually look nothing like the attraction at all, but a fantasy world. You get a cutscene introducing the characters of the “world” or setting up the location and then you enter the “game”. This is where you have to remember that this game originally was made for the Kinect, in other words, you have to use your body to maneuver around. By knowing this, all the games have the same type of gameplay, your character is moving forward (or falling) and you have to move them out of the way of obstacles while collecting coins or Mickey icons.
All the attractions are the same, in this sense, so it becomes really repetitive. I can understand why they choose such a simple design for gameplay, not only is this game intended for young children but moving for the Kinect in these obstacles can be a bit challenging. The games can get very long, which I tended to avoid the attractions for a while for the side quests and extras.
The extra parts of the game are what I enjoyed the most. That includes taking pictures, find hidden Mickeys, exploring, getting everyone’s autographs, and collecting all the items that are available to your character. Basically, I loved the part of the game that I would do if I were really at Disneyland. Who knew, right?
There were so many extras that could literally keep me busy for hours, and I commend the developers for putting them into the game instead of trying to make a gimmicky game. It really adds to the magic of the park, by trying to push for the secret Mickey tokens by getting you to get everyone’s autograph, or trying to find the secrets of every land. The hidden Mickeys were just the cherry on top of all the little things.
I mentioned the items that can be obtained for your character. These are essentially unlocked the more side quests you do with characters. After the first initial set of questions from Mickey and the gang, you retrieve a camera so you can take pictures. Your camera can be used to capture the hidden Mickeys, photos for your photo book with characters, and even Photopass stations. Other items include the magic wand, megaphone, Astro blaster, spyglass, fishing rod, and a seventh item that I haven’t unlocked yet. All items that can make or break the game for you.
Pros and Cons
There are some cons to this game that future purchasers need to be aware of. Even though the graphics are remastered for XboxOne and PC, doesn’t mean that isn’t without its glitches. You can see the age in this game from the camera controls to the actual controls of the game. Maneuvering in the attraction/minigames proves to be difficult because of the over-sensitivity it provides. Half the time my character will run into obstacles without even touching them, or move to the other part of the screen by barely moving the joystick on the controller. The sensitivity was too heightened, without any way to tone it down within the game. Another downfall from changing a Kinect game to allow controllers?
Camera angles when wandering around would be all over the place in some areas, from the NPC guests getting in your view or showing some object during Character cutscenes. These are minor.
You will notice that Indiana Jones, Star Tours, Roger Rabbit’s Cartoon Spin and even Captain Jack Sparrow are absent from the game. With the attractions still in place, they are void of logos due to the fact that back in 2011 Disney did not have those rights to the companies to share in a video game. Or maybe it was royalties because the lack of Coca-Cola around the parks shows to that, as well. Jack Sparrow was completely replaced with a character known as Black Barty, a pirate that is a face character you can meet and helps you on the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction/game. Another loss because Disney didn’t want to share royalties with Johnny Depp.
Donald and Daisy Duck are downright disturbing to me. This could be only me seeing this, but their bottom lip is completely pulled back that they both have an unnerving quality about them.
For certain times there is a long loading wait, which can get annoying from time to time.
There are some highlights to this game that, I have touched up before. Definitely, I appreciate the fact that this is an open-world Disneyland game. I don’t know of any games that came out in the past that gave you the ability to wander one of the Disney parks like this one does. It really is a treat for the even the most common of Disney fan.
The soundtrack is great and really transforms you right into the park. Every time you change lands, or go near an attraction the soundtrack changes with it and makes you feel like you are there. When I spent time in Fantasyland I loved hearing the Beauty and the Beast song sung by Angela Landsbury. Or walking by It’s a Small World, and hearing that familiar tick-tock in my headset. Without this soundtrack, I think this game wouldn’t have been remastered and it would have been shelved long time ago.
The characters and NPCs (Non-playable characters ie the guests in this sense), as I said before, are the stars of this game. The is a number of characters you can meet and greet that help you see the park and explore. The NPCs, or the guests, also have their own charm. Not only are they there to make the park seem busy and full, but they also have their own scripts that you tend to pick up here and there. When I was idle in the middle of one of the lands, just hearing the guests interact with each other made me laugh.
Little girl: It’s my birthday!
Mom, presumably: Yes, I can’t believe you are Eight now!
Boy: Hurry we are going to be late for the parade!
Woman: Mmm…this is really delicious.
Husband: *Robot Voice* Time to recharge
Wife, digging in Husband’s backpack: Oh no, not again.
Husband: *Robot voice* Refueling
Wife: I almost found it, there it is!
Husband: *Robot voice* Refueling complete.
A little about my gaming experience, I am now a casual gamer who enjoys FPS (First person shooters like Call of Duty, Destiny, BattleFront), but I tend to branch out to other types of games like this one. I used to be a competitive gamer when the Halo series was out, but I quickly learned it brought out an angry competitiveness in me, I didn’t like. So now I dabble in a lot of games and take my time and enjoy them.
Disneyland Adventures is technically an open-world game, which I am no stranger to with Borderlands and the Fallout Series in the past, but it originally came out with the “gimmick” of Kinect abilities. So it is a game within a game and was made to show how fun the Kinect was, as you can see it through the mini-games/attractions. Obviously, it didn’t do too well, due to this remastered version and essentially pushing out a “redo” with this one. It is a beautiful game, and albeit very clever and addicting if you are a Disneyland fan. I mean, who wouldn’t want to run around and explore an exact copy of the Disneyland resort? It definitely brought the nostalgia out in me, and can only imagine the joy it will bring to other Disneyland fans or younger players.
The more I played this game (and yes I kept going back and playing) the more it dawned on me that this is for a specific age group. You can see this pushed through the fact that the player you are controlling is a kid. Also through the games and quests, and how incredibly simple they are. Although the simplicity goes back to the fact that this game used to be only for the Kinect back when it was first released. Despite this, I see that it may have been directed towards a younger audience, possibly 13 years and below. That didn’t really stop me from playing though.
I rate this game a 3 out 5, an average game, average buy. It’s average to someone like me because of the fact that it is an old game being 6 years old and you can see the game mechanics suffer for this. Yes, it’s remastered but it doesn’t hide its age. Plus, I could’ve seen the potential of an updated version of this game. With Disneyland changing every day, the possibility for a game updating with the park could resonate with fans in a positive sense.
Taking out the Kinect abilities altogether and adding different game styles would improve this, but right now in its current state, it is a dressed up game. There is no denying that.
For the younger gamers or new gamers, I’m sure they won’t see these as problems at all, so my reviews may be picky in that sense.
If you love Disney, Disneyland, the parks or know someone who does this would be a great purchase for Christmas or a birthday. I definitely recommend this game for an activity to chase away the Disneyland blues when they start to sneak up on you. But if you are an actual gamer who prefers challenge or want goals in a video game, I would steer clear and look for something more your style.
Currently, Disneyland Adventures is available for the XboxOne or PC and is only $30, much lower than the current new game price for consoles at a price of $59.99.
If you have played this game, let me know what you think? What do you like or don’t like?
Kasi the MouSeeker
This post isn’t sponsored, the game was bought and played on my own time.
Disneyland Adventures is property of Disney, Frontier Developments, and Asobo Studios