Publisher: Disney Interactive Studios
Developer: Magenta Software
Release Date: November 7, 2008
Trivia games have been a popular niche genre since consoles began their rebirth in the early 1980s. From the Nintendo Entertainment System to the present, every console has been graced with the likes of Jeopardy!, Trivial Pursuit, or something along those lines. They've also been fun for families, since any type of question can come up and everyone has a shot at providing the right answer. The PlayStation 2 has had its fair share of trivia games, but none have been more popular than the Buzz! series, thanks to some of them being focused on specific age groups and subjects; the buzzers also make the Buzz! franchise more accessible to the casual gamer than any titles featuring standard controller. After observing the popularity of Buzz! in the United States, Disney and Magenta Software have thrown their own game into the ring with Disney Th!nk Fast, a solid trivia title for families and Disney buffs alike.
The premise for Disney Th!nk Fast is a simple one. You choose your Disney character and one of four locations at which to host your trivia game. Genie from Aladdin is your master of ceremonies as you go through as many as 15 rounds of questions. Answers are chosen via the hand buzzers supplied with the game, and by the end, whoever has the most points is the winner.
Like other recent trivia games such as Scene It! and Buzz!, Disney Th!nk Fast offers questions in different ways. Some rounds will have you picking a category type, such as World Locations or Quotes, before giving a small series of questions based on the chosen category. Other rounds have you looking at movie clips before giving you a series of question based on what you saw. Depending on the area you play in, a special guest may appear and ask you questions about a movie in which he or she has starred. The final round always has you trying to answer as many questions as possible in the given time frame. About the only thing they have in common is that they are all multiple choice questions with either two or four possible choices.
As one could figure out from the title, a good majority of the 5,000 available questions are Disney-related. Despite the many areas where Disney has been involved over the last 80-plus years, the questions here all relate to Disney animated features from "Snow White" onward, excluding the Pixar films. This alone gives the trivia amazing breadth and difficulty. Some of the questions will be easy enough for people to get, since they cover pretty big films such as "Sleeping Beauty" and "The Lion King." Other questions cover the smaller, less successful films like "The Rescuers Down Under" and "Robin Hood," making them a bit tougher for those who think they know everything about Disney. By including such a wide range of films, the game finds a medium level of difficulty that will please all players. Oddly enough, though, there are a few questions not related to Disney movies at all. Though they are only relegated to a small section of the game, these non-Disney questions are too easy to answer, making them challenging for only the youngest players and yawn-inducing for just about everyone else.
Disney Th!nk Fast consists of two modes: single-player and multiplayer. The single-player experience is pretty straightforward, with Genie asking questions in multiple categories. Even though you're just competing against yourself, ending the game with a high score gives you the opportunity to unlock three additional Disney characters for use in any mode. Multiplayer is a much more varied experience. Here, players can inform the game about how much Disney knowledge they have, helping to balance between Disney-based questions and general questions. Quick Game and Standard game only differ in whether or not you want the game to automatically choose your characters and sound, or whether you want to select that yourself. Custom game has you change as many of the game parameters as you want. During the game, you might have a few rounds that are just mini-games. Trivia buffs will hate these rounds, while those who are doing poorly will welcome the break. The winner of the game unlocks a costume piece for his or her character. With four costume pieces per character and nine characters to choose from, the multiplayer mode has legs and quickly becomes the reason you'll keep the disc in your console.
There is absolutely nothing to worry about when it comes to the controls for Disney Th!nk Fast. Instead of asking players to use the standard PS2 controller, the game provides four wired PS2 buzzers, which are the same ones used in the Buzz! series, so Buzz! fans will feel right at home with the controls. (The wireless buzzers from the PS3 version of Buzz! also work with Disney Th!nk Fast). For those unfamiliar with the buzzers, each consists of four colored buttons and a large red button near the top of the controller, which is used to confirm menu choices; the other colored buttons will get more use since they correspond to the multiple choice answers for each trivia question. The system is simple and it works, so you worry less about which button to hit and more about which answer is correct.
The graphics end up being very solid for a PlayStation 2 title. Despite the limited number of backgrounds in Disney Th!nk Fast, each stage is rendered very well and stays true to the art style for each film. This is especially true of the "101 Dalmatians" level, which has cars and background buildings that perfectly match those in the film. The pictures corresponding to the answers in each question are clean, as are the video clips. Genie and the contestants are rendered and animated well, matching the quality of these characters in the Kingdom Hearts series. As an added bonus, the game has the option to display in 16:9 widescreen, which isn't supported by most PS2 games.
The sound in the game is a bit surprising. There isn't really much to talk about when it comes to the music and sound effects. The music is appropriate for a quiz game, though forgettable, and the sound effects aren't anything special. There are several different buzzer sounds the player can choose from, and because it's a family game, none of them really set out to be offensive.
The voice actor for Genie does a good impression of Robin Williams, though the joke delivery falls flat most of the time. The announcer also does a good job as well, pronouncing everything loud and clear so that no mistakes are made. The same can be said for the special character voices in all four of the environments. The contestants don't have much to say, but because they are all voiced by the original voice actors, there's not much to complain about when they speak. The disappointment in the sound department comes from the fact that the game sounds empty almost all of the time. The applause clips are short and don't play when Genie speaks. Whenever this happens, there isn't even a musical background track to go along with Genie or the announcer, so an eerie sense of quiet sets in. Compared to games like Buzz!, where there is a sense that you're playing in a game show, Disney Th!nk Fast feels like a game show that's taped in an empty studio.
When it's all said and done, Disney Th!nk Fast ends up being a pretty good trivia game. The questions are of the right difficulty level and the presentation, while not perfect, is good enough so that fans won't feel like they were given a bare-bones effort. Trivia fans and Disney fans alike will find this title a good addition to their gaming libraries.