E3: Kinect Adventures… in Disneyland?

When I was 5 years old, I found out about a magical place called Disneyland. I begged my parents to take me. I had to see it for myself. They told me I was too young to go on the rides, and that I had to wait until I was seven. They hoped I would forget in the two long years before my seventh birthday. I didn’t. Walking into that park for the first time, seeing Mickey Mouse in person, getting to experience everything through the eyes of a seven year old girl is truly an irreplaceable experience. But it seems that Disney and Kinect would like to replace it with their new game: Kinect: Disneyland Adventures.

The name sounds vaguely similar to Kinect’s launch title from last year, Kinect Adventures. From the short demo I played today, I could see striking similarities between the two. The mini games we played were essentially Kinect Adventure games themed after Disneyland rides. During my demo, we played the Peter Pan-themed mini game. Essentially we flew around, following Peter Pan as he flew us into Neverland, towards Hook’s ship.

I just flew in from London, and boy are my arms tired!

The game mechanics were very similar to Kinect Adventures. Hold your arms out to fly (yeah, you try holding your arms out for 3 1/2 minutes straight), flap your arms to fly up, crouch to fly down, lean left and right to turn left and right. We collected coins as we followed Peter. I found it difficult to get my character to move where I wanted him to. The game pretty much forces you to follow Peter no matter what, but there are various objects in your way that you have to dodge, such as cliff faces and geysers shooting up from the water. Crouching and flapping my arms didn’t seem to do very much except make me look silly. Leaning left and right was finicky as well; my character would go much further over than I expected him to.

The main menu hub of the game was much more interesting to me, personally, than the mini games, but that’s because I’m a total Disney nut. The hub world is Disneyland park itself, in it’s entirety. I definitely give them props for creating an incredibly realistic version of Disneyland in digital form. As a season passholder who frequents the park, everything I saw in Disneyland Adventures was completely accurate to Disneyland park, though everything looked a little bigger, like I was viewing it all through the eyes of a child.

Not at all like meeting the real Mickey!

All in all, this game is probably something I would enjoy playing around with for about an hour or two, mostly to explore the recreation of the park, eventually get bored, and decide I’d rather just go to the actual Disneyland park. For kids who don’t have that luxury, this seems like a nice title that allows them to explore Disneyland and play some fun games based on the rides and characters they know and love.

What frightens and saddens me of course, are the thousands of parents who will buy this game for their children and never take them to Disneyland so they can experience firsthand the magic and wonderment. I strongly feel walking through those gates into Disneyland is an experience all children should have when they are young enough to really appreciate it. We’re talking can’t-sleep-the-night-before-going-to-the-park-excited like I was when I finally got to go after two long years of waiting. This game will never replace that. It’s just another Kinect game.

Kinect: Disneyland Adventures will be available exclusively for the XBox 360 (and, obviously, the Kinect).