Saturday, 12 November 2011

Hands On: Disney Universe (Xbox 360)

Disney announced details for two family friendly releases this year, one being the Kinect title Disneyland Adventures, with the other, a non-Kinect, more party game based platformer called Disney Universe. Today I downloaded the demo to give the latter a go.
Disney have avoided using their animated cast as playable characters. Instead, Disney Universe introduces blue creatures that resemble a cross between Sackboy from Little Big Planet and Bomberman in familiar Disney character outfits. These little blue guys can be dressed up in up to 40 different costumes, based on animated hits from the Disney and Pixar spectrum. For instance, there are a variety of costumes, such as Nemo from Finding Nemo, Stitch from Lilo and Stitch, Scar from The Lion King, and in the case of the demo, Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean series. 

The game is comprised of 6 different worlds, which make up about 24 levels in total. Each world follows a different Disney theme, and the demo allows players to try out, very briefly, part of the first world, a Pirates of the Caribbean themed adventure. Players will take control of a costumed Jack Sparrow, who, throughout the demo, must collect Mickey coins, defeat enemies, assemble parts to make levers, jump obstacles and  so on. Simply put, this is standard platformer gaming. 

The demo level is made up of a variety of very simple objectives, which players must complete in order to progress through the level, and eventually clear it. There are a few bonus tasks included which allow players to pick up power ups, such as a plasma gun, and a fireball-shooting firearm. Enemies are very easy to defeat, and the combat involves repeatedly pressing the X button in the direction of the enemies. In other words-it's a bit of a button-basher. The game does try to keep things interesting by mixing up the gameplay though. When players are not attacking enemies, they're interacting with the environment to either complete some tasks (in one incidence, a bridge must be lowered by constructing a lever first), or unlock a few secrets, like the hidden power-ups. Arcade machines also occasionally pop out of the ground where bonus rounds can be completed for a few extra Mickey coins. Sadly though, it all gets a little boring after a while, so I can only hope that the full game keeps things much more refreshing. Judging by the trailer though, I doubt it. 

The graphics are bright and cheerful looking, but are no means perfect. Up close, the graphics have a tendency to get rather pixelated. However, they serve their purpose in re-creating a familiar Disney setting (in this case, a Pirates of the Caribbean style world). The Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack is one of the most pleasant aspects of the game. It's yet another way in which a Disney fan can associate the surroundings with this popular Johnny Depp series. 
Whilst this incredibly brief demo was a lot of fun to play through, unfortunately, there is not much originality on show here. This gameplay has already been used before, (the Lego series thrives on this element of platforming/task completing), and unfortunately, it's been done somewhat better also. However, seeing familiar Disney settings and cute character costumes adds a lot of charm to the proceedings, so there is no doubt that Disney fans will find this a lot more enjoyable than most. Those wishing for a simple, light-hearted and fun multi-player platformer will probably enjoy this too. There is no doubt that Disney Universe is aimed at a younger audience though, who will perhaps enjoy this simple gameplay with a friend or two. I wish that the demo was a little longer though, it would have been nice to at least sample a small section of another world. 

1 comment:

  1. Can you create multiple profiles? I want it to save my game data but then my kids want to have their own profile and I'm not finding where we can do that.


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