Toy Story Mania!, the 4D ride meets video game, opened last year in Disney parks in Florida and California becoming a park favorite. Earlier this week, a game based on the ride was announced.


What Is It?
A motion-controlled Wii title that features 30 mini-games, including some inspired from the ones found in the Disney park attraction. Some of the games will include a 3D option, though none of those were playable during the demo.

What We Saw
I played five of the mini-games that come with Toy Story Mania!

How Far Along Is It?
It seems fairly finished. The game is due out for the Wii only in mid September.

What Needs Improvement?
Reticule: With a few exceptions, the game has no targeting reticule. The official reason is because it is based on a game that uses physical toy guns to shoot virtual ammo and that it doesn't have a targeting reticule. But the thing is, it kinda needs one. The developer told me they are considering adding one as a switchable option.

Feedback: I had gone on the Toy Story Mania! ride twice right before playing the video game. The transition for a 4D ride/ video game to a Wii title was a bit harsh. The biggest issue is that when you shot balls, threw pies and darts or tossed skeeballs there was no response. No sound from the remote, no rumble. Again the developers have already seen this as an issue and plan to add both before the game ships.


What Should Stay The Same?
Mix: With 30 mini-games it sounds like there's going to be a nice carnival selection of ways to play in the title. I tried skeeball, pie tossing, dart tossing, block knocking, but I was told there will also be things like fishing. It's a great mix for a game that has huge potential for the biggest segment of the Wii audience.

Multiplayer: The best way to play this game is with a friend. Throwing balls or hoops side-by-side as you try to get the high score. That's also how the ride works, with two people sitting next to one another.


Cast: The colorful art and voice work of a cast of characters we all know from Toy Story is a great fit for this title.

Marketing: Not usually a topic I delve into in a preview, but this seems pretty huge. The developers told me they plan on selling the game not just at traditional retailers, but also in the Disney parks at the stores located at the end of the Toy Story Mania! rides. Yeah, that's going to really impact sales I think. Fantastic idea.


Final Thoughts
It would be an over-simplification to call this Carnival Games with a Disney skin, but the comparison also isn't entirely off base. The game has a lot of carnival-like mini-games buried in it, but I also saw games akin to some found in Boom Blox and other titles.

No matter where it found its inspiration, the blend of pick-up-and-play gaming with Disney character, art and voice already seems to guarantee this game's success. Add to that the fact that it will be sold at Disneyland and Disney World and I don't see how it can't succeed.


Would I buy it? Still too early to tell, but it has potential.


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