Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Kinect: Disneyland Adventures

Kinect: Disneyland Adventures

Spring 2012 Video Games
Ages: 10 & Up
Price: $49.99
Gaming System: Xbox 360

Disney fans will be "walking" into this virtual Magic Kingdom with wide eyes and big smiles. It's a great concept: Recreate in amazing detail and spirit the experience of visiting Disney Land, then turn it into a video game.

Stroll from the Train Station into this colorful and exacting digital version of Main Street USA as if you were dropped into Anaheim, California on a sunny morning and are psyched about visiting the Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, Jungle Cruise, Buzz Astro Blasters and your other favorite attractions. Sure, you can go to It's a Small World too-there's no standing in line, anyway.

As you roam around the park, you will bump into Mickey Mouse (who gives you a hug and an autograph book and camera), and interact with Donald Duck, Goofy, Cinderella, and other Disney characters just like at the real park-except that, instead of humans inside character outfits, these are the actual animated Disney characters themselves! And you're animated, too, because you've created an avatar of yourself reflecting your gender, race, hair, eye color, and clothes.

When on rides, you can choose a first-person point-of-view, which is cool. What's unlike the real Disneyland is that instead of being just a spectator on rides, you become an active participant. Fly over London and into Neverland, and find yourself grasping a sword and standing with Peter Pan as he battles Captain Hook. In Space Mountain, you'll zoom through space while trying to avoid asteroids and debris. Instead of just a spooky ride, the Haunted Mansion becomes a desperate escape mission. The rides are like mini-games, and they become progressively harder to match player skills.

Throughout the park, you'll find coins everywhere, be given quests (characters will ask you to find things), and locate magic items-all of which will tally buying power for virtual souvenirs (hey, it's Disney, so there's shopping). While other families are around, it's never crowded. Here, Fast Pass means instantaneously flying from one attraction to another.

While the graphics and animation are spectacular, the Kinect controls prove to be a bit difficult to master. The Kinect Sensor box reads your body movements and must adjust to body size. In this game, point your arm straight ahead to walk, or to the left or right to turn. It also responds to some voice commands. How well everything works depends on proper set up and practice. Once they got the hang of playing, though, testers found the controllers worked just fine.

Like Disney Land, this game plays best with some friends or family, and this one accommodates one or two players. Games like this open the door to realistic virtual travel videogames. Just imagine!

Don Oldenburg   ©2012 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

Look for this product at:
Microsoft Game Studios

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