Disneyland Adventures

Platform(s): Xbox 360, Xbox One
Genre: Casual
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Developer: Asobo
Release Date: Oct. 31, 2017


Xbox One Review - 'Disneyland Adventures'

by Cody Medellin on Dec. 4, 2017 @ 12:00 a.m. PST

Disneyland Adventures allows children, families and Disney fans of all ages to explore Disneyland park, step into adventures based on attractions, engage in challenging quests and interact with beloved Disney characters.

Buy Disneyland Adventures

Six years ago, Microsoft released Disneyland Adventures for the Xbox 360. As a Kinect-only title, it followed the path of many other games that used the peripheral in that it was mainly a minigame collection, though it featured one of the most popular theme parks in the world. You could freely explore a close representation of the park, and since it offered many side activities, it was praised as being one of the few kid-oriented titles with a lot of depth. As a result of that park exploration aspect, it was considered to be more of an adventure game than a minigame collection. Microsoft decided to bring back the game, and it's been remastered to take advantage of the 4K capabilities of the Xbox One X console and Windows 10. It also added something to compensate for the Kinect's current lack of relevance: full controller support.

Things start off with a character creation system that only offers a few choices for faces, hairstyles, and skin tones. The number of options grows significantly when it comes to the clothes, so the system doesn't feel too limiting. From there, you're given an initial task, but you're otherwise on your own as far as what you can do in the park.

For Disney aficionados, the park that's depicted in the game is a triumph since it is pretty accurate. The layout is authentic enough that you can plan a future trip to Disneyland using this game or re-create a trip based on memory since everything is exactly it should be. While most stores aren't open to show off their wares, their signs and names are accurate, and the placement of the pretzel and churro carts is correct. Pass by any one of the major attractions, and the audio matches, whether it's the safety guidelines from the Matterhorn or the earworm that is "It's A Small World." Aside from seeing long lines for the attractions, this is an accurate depiction of the park.

The park serves as a reminder that this game isn't a remastering of the Xbox 360 original but a port. Considering that the original title was released in 2011, the latest film to be represented would be "The Princess and the Frog." That can seem jarring, since the studio has had several large hits since that time, including the juggernaut that is "Frozen." That absence can throw off some players, especially kids who may not have been born in 2011 but are playing this for the first time in hopes of seeing Olaf and Anna. Then again, recent visitors to the park will note that California Adventure seems to be the home for the newer characters, so it makes sense that they're excluded.

The time period between the game's first release and the present day also makes this an interactive time capsule of sorts. The most immediate change is the lack of any construction of the new Star Wars-related area that's scheduled to open in 2019. As such, the back half of Frontierland with Big Thunder Ranch resided is still present, while the Rivers of America has the multi-person canoes and fully encompasses Tom Sawyer's Island. Go to the front of the park, and you'll see the front of California Adventure and no sign of the old Tower of Terror, which has been converted to the Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission - Breakout ride. Also, the Pirates of the Caribbean ride doesn't prominently feature anyone from the movie series. The theater in Tomorrowland advertises a Captain Eo tribute instead of being related to Star Wars. Speaking of which, the exclusion of any Star Wars-related signage is odd. It may have been understandable in the past due to licensing, but it's a moot point now since Disney owns Lucasfilm and its related properties. It's even more perplexing since you see a sign for the Indiana Jones Adventure, another Lucasfilm property. The same goes for things like Roger Rabbit's Car-Toon Spin and Gadget's Go-Coaster in Toontown, where the rides and facades are there but not the names.

There's an almost overwhelming number of things to do in the park. You can pick up coins around the park to get you some of the cheaper clothes and pins in the shop, since coins are rather plentiful. Complete a few tasks, and you'll gain access to a camera so you can take pictures of yourself, significant spots, and the hidden Mickeys throughout the park. There's also a water gun so you can interact with the plant life, and there are also other items, including blasters and fishing poles. Perhaps the tool that'll be used almost constantly is the magic wand, which can interact with almost anything in the park. You'll use it to snag out-of-reach items and zap things, including lamp posts, manhole covers, parasols and trash cans. They'll generate coins, and they count as secret things to do in the park. You can't help but spam the button to activate a wand blast when you see the quest counters appear.

Of course, one thing to look forward to is meeting and interacting with the characters. While they'll be your source of quests and items, you can also talk to them and perform different actions, such as high-fiving them, hugging them, and even dancing with them. If you have the appropriate autograph book, you can have them sign it, and if you have your camera and the right photo album, you can take pictures with them. Since this is the best part of Disneyland for some kids, it's awesome to see it re-created here. Almost all of the quests are of the fetch variety, so most of your time is spent running around the park and looking for the right person or the right items. The quests are mundane but are helped out greatly by the characters and the environment. For grown-ups or trivia buffs, Keren the Guide spouts a ton of trivia related to the land's 50+ years of history.

If you're still sporting a Kinect, the controls remain unchanged from the Xbox 360 version. Moving around the park is quaint since you point to where you want to go and the game automatically moves you in that direction. It may feel strange to interact with characters by hugging air, but it makes sense in context and is quite charming. Otherwise, the controller feels like the best option since it's more intuitive for those who are familiar with 3D games, and PC players who favor the keyboard and mouse will find that it works just as well.

There are segments that seem odd. There were times when store navigation was broken since you would enter a store, immediately back out, and have to get into the store again before being able to buy something. Also, there's no explanation for the ticket man who gives advice and guides your path. He's there, but it feels odd for a Disney game to provide a new character without any personalization or context.

The attractions comprise the other half of the game, and a few are simulations of the simpler rides. Get on the King Arthur Carousel or the Astro Orbitor, and you'll get a first-person perspective of yourself on the ride. A majority of the attractions have been turned into full minigame adventures. The Fantasyland Theater lets you dance with five of the princesses. The Matterhorn is split into several sections of various minigames, while the same happens to some of the bigger rides, like Splash Mountain and the Jungle Cruise.

Despite their different approaches, the minigames have one thing in common: They're very easy to play. Unless this is your first game, you'll easily be able to gather a five-star rating on any activity. The challenge comes into play when you're trying for high scores and getting different pins for each attraction, all of which are judged by the amount of secrets you uncover, but nothing should give you a tough time.

However, the controls will be your biggest challenge. Using the Kinect, the tracking isn't completely accurate, but there's some compensation for the lack of accuracy. It can be a little frustrating but not as much as using the regular controller, which can be a nightmare in some games due to an increased sensitivity and lack of fine-tuning options. It's fine in the Fireworks section, but it isn't intuitive for the horizontal aiming axis be inverted for things like the Jungle Cruise. That makes the PC's keyboard/mouse combination better, since you can easily correct the aiming sections with the mouse and the functionality of button presses works just as well as the controller.

For the most part, the audio remains one of its stronger elements in the game. Beyond a few areas where the sound can be a bit hollow, the voice acting is almost perfect since most of the original actors reprise their roles, and the few sound-alikes are practically indistinguishable from the real thing. The music is the best part since it comes from the park and will please any Disneyland fanatic.

Graphically, you're once again reminded that this is merely a port and not a remastering. The opening movies are in very low resolution, and the title screen looks a little worse for wear. The character designs, animations and art style are fine, but there's some level of detail pop-in and flickering textures that weren't present in the Xbox 360 original. The camera can also be problematic since it has a tendency to zoom in and out almost uncontrollably when traversing the closer sections of the park. The higher resolutions can't hide the low textures in some places, and the game can't hit a solid 60fps on the original Xbox One. The frame rate might be better on the Xbox One X, but play on a mid-range PC, and you'll easily get 60fps.

Disneyland Adventures walks a fine line between triumph and disappointment. The park section is awesome, and even though the target audience means that the quests are easy, you'll still be fascinated at how much there is to do and how the park's magic translates quite well digitally. The minigames are more disappointing, since the regular controller makes some of them more difficult to play, while the appearance of bugs that weren't in the original title is equally disappointing. For a Disney aficionado, this title is still worth checking out if you can get it for cheap.

Score: 6.5/10

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