Parents, take your child or children aside and ask them what the happiest place on Earth is. If the answer isn’t a resounding and enthusiastic “Disneyland” then you’re not doing your job properly.
Those Disney DVDs are chocked full with adverts for their vast wonderland getaways aimed directly at an audience that’s begging and pleading with mummy and daddy to spend their next summer atop Space Mountain and getting hugs from Mickey and the gang. Luckily, Kinectimals team Frontier Developments has done some of the hard work and crafted a Disneyland that’s just a few loading screens away. It’s a holiday on a disc but is it worth the price of admission?
Upon entry to the park, you’re given the opportunity to customise your avatar before being let loose on its eight districts. A marionette guide will talk you through the basics and guide you from attraction to attraction if you’d rather follow a Fable-esque golden fairy dust trail around but there’s nothing here to stop you from taking a detour to explore the park as you see fit without parental supervision to navigate the bustling crowds.
You can wander through all of magical kingdom’s neighbours freely but doing so is an aching task that requires you to extend your right arm forward, swaying left to right. Voice commands will save you time and a sore arm. With just a few yelps you can jump around the park and straight onto your favourite ride without having to sit in any long queues.
Motion controls work considerably better in Disneyland’s 18 attractions that deeply immerse players in each ride’s history and iconography. A journey with Peter Pan will see you take flight over the night sky of London city as you move your body left to right before crossing swords with Captain Hook. Hop aboard Space Mountain and you’ll be flung into the cosmos swerving around comets and zipping through a battlefield that could have been plucked straight out of Star Wars. The park itself is a spectacle to explore but these surreal detours mix up the game’s visual palette: Peter Pan’s Flight decorates your airborne thrills with cel-shaded graphics and a fireworks display puts you in control of the action, using gestures to shoot colour over the park’s evening skyline.
Despite a few overlaps in mechanics – you can expect to do a lot of similar activities with just a change of scenery – they’re swift and enjoyable enough to keep their audience entertained, as are the 35 Disney icons scattered across the park. Heroes, villains, and princesses can be spotted all over the magic kingdom and, with just a wave, they’re more than happy to share some time with you, spouting catchphrases and posing for pictures. Holding out your hands will add their signature to your autograph book, bow to put on a spectacle or just spread your arms wide open to share a heart-warming hug.
It’s unlikely that you’ll find all of your favourites on your travels but it’s hard to argue with the selection. Befriending Buzz Lightyear grants you Space Ranger status and a laser pistol to blast away traces of Emperor Zurg in light gun segments spread around Tomorrowland. Chat with Cinderella and she’ll treat you to a magic wand that can manipulate the park’s fixtures and upturn manhole covers so that coins may spring out.
They’re also pretty keen on burdening you with their chores that will have you traipsing around the park following the golden dust trail to gather Cinderella’s sewing kit or picking toffee apples off the floor to feed Pinocchio’s sweet tooth.
You’ll amass quite a bit of cash to spend during your visit to spend at the nearest gift shop. We recommend investing in autograph and photo books early on to avoid disappointment when Stitch denies your request for his signature but there’s also hats and costumes, some necessary for completing character quests: don’t look like one of the lost boys? Don’t expect Peter Pan to welcome you to his exclusive club if you’re not dressed appropriately.
Even if you manage to make it on all the rides early, Disneyland Adventures is no short stay. In addition to the 100 character quests there’s plenty to collect, from pins awarded for five-star ratings on attractions to tracking down hidden Mickeys to be snapped around the park. There’s a level of depth and replayability here that’s mocking to its stable mates who would settle for just a few hours of fun.
A friend can join you in all aspects of Disneyland Adventures from wandering around the kingdom to participating in rides. Drop-in and drop-out co-op works well, although if your set-up isn’t perfect you can expect to suffer some accidental signing in and out of your profile.
Disneyland Adventures is a game that children will undeniably adore and, much like their favourite DVDs, will be played again and again. For those a little older, it’s easy to appreciate the level of work that’s gone into faithfully bringing the company’s rich history and roster of icons to life.
We could have predicted that Disneyland Adventures would have been a mini-game collection with a multi-million licence fronting the whole charade, but that description alone would discredit the extra miles taken to make the experience comparable to the magic of the real thing. Though not quite the same, there are definitely some memories to be had here.