Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved Review

Format:
Become Yen Sid’s master apprentice in this powerful Kinect game from Harmonix.

Release Date: 23/10/2014

Fantasia: Music Evolve for Xbox One at GAME.co.uk

Paying homage to a Disney classic


Harmonix rose to superstardom with its Rock Band franchise, which allowed players to jam alongside their favourite musicians with plastic guitars and drums. With advancements in technology, the talented developer wound up eliminating peripherals entirely for motion based gameplay using Microsoft’s Kinect camera, delivering the critically acclaimed Dance Central series. Its newest creation, Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved, takes cues from the iconic 1940 animated film with a beautiful solo and multiplayer effort, featuring impressive special effects and a soundtrack that spans decades.

Unlike most music games, Disney Fantasia has a plot, which casts you as wizard Yen Sid’s apprentice. Although there’s little depth to speak of, it serves as the basic framework to create music, which is the game’s primary focus.

Putting Kinect to great use


Instead of rocking out with guitars or singing into a microphone, you wave your arms around, form patterns and punch the air for added emphasis, almost like a conductor commanding a multipiece orchestra. It’s great fun, and while you’re guaranteed to work up a sweat, at least you won’t look too ridiculous, thanks to expert work from Harmonix to make each of these moves sensible looking.

Of course, a music game is only as good as its soundtrack, and Fantasia most certainly delivers. Current hits, like Radioactive by Imagine Dragons and Royals from Lorde made the cut, while music aficionados will appreciate Ziggy Stardust from David Bowie and Rocket Man by Elton John. Beyond that, songs from Lady Gaga (Applause), Jimi Hendrix (Fire), Peter Gabriel (In Your Eyes) and Bruno Mars (Locked Out of Heaven) round out the track list.

Part of what makes the game so appealing is the inability to fail. You’ll miss in-game objectives (achieve a 2X multiplier, for example), but the song won’t cut out because you waved and punched too late. Harmonix put the focus squarely on not only scoring points, but enhancing the music. Powerful Composition Spells allow you to add new rhythms and beats to a song. In addition, Remixes let you combine piano, guitar, synthesisers and other elements with the music.

Compete and cooperate to the beat


All of this is cool solo, but the game shines especially bright in multiplayer. Two people compete to earn the most points, but in an interesting twist, they’re able to bring in Composition Spells and Remixes to play off the other, ultimately putting a new and imaginative spin on an already stellar piece of music. Unlike other games, this one promotes friendlier competition compared to more violent fare.

Fantasia the movie was as much fun to watch as it was to listen to. In this regard, the video game comes up somewhat short, since Harmonix was unable to replicate Disney’s silky smooth animation, but the game still looks beautiful. While conducting, you’ll see laser beams explode into fireworks with sparkles crowding the screen. Later, you’ll explore a dreamy underwater environment called The Shoal, where all sorts of creatures produce bits of audio when interacted with.

Small beginnings


If anything, the biggest knock against Disney Fantasia is the limitation of its soundtrack. With a little over 30 tracks, it won’t take long until players have seen and heard everything the game has to offer. Thankfully, Harmonix plans to add more songs through downloadable content, while Dance, Pop and Rock Remix Expansion packs provide new ways to improve the soundtrack.

Disney in concert

Small complaint about the number of songs notwithstanding, Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved is without question the best game for the Xbox One Kinect camera, and ranks right up there on Xbox 360 as well. There is, however, a chance the game won’t find its intended audience, primarily because of Microsoft’s decision to remove the Kinect peripheral from its most recent Xbox One bundles. Should you own the device, though, it comes highly recommended, especially if you have a longstanding appreciation for the movie.

GAME's Verdict: 8/10

The Good

  • Fun collection of songs with the option to enhance and remix.
  • Entertaining two-player mode that is both cooperative and competitive.
  • Attention grabbing visuals create a laser light show on your TV screen.

The Bad

  • Not much plot to speak of.
  • Thirty plus songs is a small number compared to other music games.
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Pegi Rating:

Suitable for people aged and over.

Genre

Family/Casual

Customer Rating:

No rating yet

SKU:

Reviews-317752

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