Posted on June 11, 2013 AT 03:30pm
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This Kinect-based rhythm game takes its inspiration from the iconic 1940 Disney film of the same name—though it’s far from a straight-up movie-to-game conversion. The classical music has been replaced by a more contemporary setlist, including Queen, fun., and Bruno Mars, and the animated vignettes are now interactive vistas that allow you to explore, solve puzzles, and play with new soundscapes. Once you uncover and select a song, the core gameplay has you taking over for Mickey as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, waving, punching, and dragging your arms around in response to onscreen cues. At certain predetermined points throughout songs, you can also select between a few different remix options, changing the genre or layering on new instrumentation.
Fantasia‘s panoramic hub worlds kind of baffle me. They’re not quite menus, they’re not quite soundboards, they’re not quite point-and-click adventures, but they’re a little bit of all those things. They were visually lush enough to be worthy of the Disney brand and fun to tinker around with, but I’m just not sure I get the point. Maybe a bit more hands-on time would remedy that, but I suspect they’re not going to prove very substantial.
That being said, the rhythm gameplay is an entirely different story. I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun waggling around in front of a Kinect. (Knowing my history with Kinect, it’s probably never.) The motion prompts are minimalist but instantly readable, and the gestures themselves are inexplicably fun to perform. I was reminded a lot of the first time I played Dance Dance Revolution: diving in with no idea what I was doing, quickly picking up on the basics, and then having a blast as I found my groove. And while the remixed arrangements were pretty nifty to listen to, the coolest moments, by far, were the segments when the game allowed me to more directly influence the music—expanding or squashing the waveform to create a wah-wah effect, drawing a pattern with my finger to make a new melody line. While I can’t honestly say that I understand everything Fantasia is trying to accomplish, when it focuses on just being a rhythm game, it does a lot of truly fascinating things quite well.
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