Review: Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved
By Sean Booker
November 11, 2014 - 23:50
Platform: Xbox One, Xbox 360
Players: 1 - 2
Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved is a dull and slow paced rhythm game that doesn’t have enough exciting moments to keep you playing. The Kinect is mostly able to pick up your hand dancing but tends to lose the player far too often. Remixing songs is where the game truly shines but the length of time required to reach those good moments is long. It’s a slow trek through a campaign filled with uninteresting minigames and lots of repetition before Disney Fantasia gets really fun.
As the Wizard’s apprentice you find yourself tasked with removing The Noise from the various realms in which you play through the game’s songs. These realms range from gorgeous looking stylized forests all the way to space shuttles. The Noise is some entity that makes the areas look weird and you have to stop it or something; the story is pretty shallow and easily forgettable. You play each song by swinging your arms in the direction of the corresponding arrows that fly by. Other notes will include having you punch forward or holding your arm in one spot for a set length. That’s the basic concept of the dancing or composing mechanic to Music Evolved.
The game teaches you these moves in a simple tutorial at the beginning. It then proceeds to make you play through a different song for each different type of move. This really, really hammers home how to play the game and is just annoying since it acts as a second, longer and more tedious tutorial. Completing these will then open the various realms up to you, allowing you to explore more songs. All of the tutorial songs will be here and you will have to play through them again. It’s a repetitious annoyance that Disney Fantasy seems to constantly push on you. This causes the progression in the game to move extremely slowly when you start out and doesn’t give a good first impression.
The game picks up as the songs get more complex and varied. The most interesting part comes from the “Music Evolved” aspect where you fluidly work remixes into each song. There will be points where you can wave different instruments or sound filters into play. For example, adding a techno or metal vibe to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. These don’t have to be a complete change as well since you can incorporate components from three different genres all at the same time. If you like the main vocals, the synth aspect and the metal drums you can easily wave those into the song while playing. The music all works off one another and it becomes quite fun and rhythmic when you totally get into a groove. When the ease of the remixing and the speed of the song really line up with you the game becomes quite fun.
In order to progress you need to complete songs or various minigames in each realm. These smaller games are simple Kinect waving moments that are more tedious than anything. It would have been more fun to play additional songs than to focus on these two minute long activities. They feel like padding considering the game only has forty-one songs and only about three quarters of them appear in the campaign. This doesn’t help the game’s pacing.
You wont have any of the songs unlocked from the get-go. You must play through the story in order to gain access to more and more music. Some songs are even held until a bit after the story mode concludes. This causes any party-game aspect to be further pushed back while you slowly work your way through unlocking all the fun. A few times you will even have to replay songs you’ve completed in order to progress. There are two remixes for each song (in addition to the original recording) and you unlock one each time you to play it. Every song must be played twice to fully complete everything and sometimes you need to backtrack in order to continue the story. Playing songs multiple time is another aspect to the repetition and slow nature of this game. The remixes can definitely breath new life into the song but playing them back to back is never fun.
It doesn’t help that the Kinect constantly lost track of my body completely (I played the Xbox One version). There were many times I had to get too close to the sensor (it said Move Back) in order for it to find me again. I even found that some of the hold notes would register for me even if I wasn’t holding the position. More than once I would start the note then lower my hand and still see it tracking and awarding me points (not a huge deal since you can’t lose at any song anyway). For the most part it tracked my waving pretty well on the standard notes and moving around the realms and the overall user interface worked. It is hard to say if this is a problem on the game’s end or the hardware but it was there and annoyed me regardless.
Music Evolved is best when you finally get to remix any song as much as you want. Unlocking each remix and fluidly mixing everything together can be a enjoyable time. It’s a shame that these moments are so rare and take far too long to reach. The tutorial is long, the story progression is slow and backtracking to repeat songs is never a good time. Despite the remixes bringing fun new elements to these songs, Disney Fantasia just takes far too long to get good for anyone to simply jump into.
Review: Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved