Where is my wizard hat?
Growing up, I absolutely adored Disney’s Fantasia. Of course, I had no idea why as I was only a little kid but I sure did love all the Disney characters. Years later, when I was a teenager, Fantasia 2000 came out so, of course, I went to see it. I adored that was well. This time, I had a better understanding as to why I loved these movies so much: the music. I was (and still am) a classical music kind of guy. Fast forward to the present; when I found out that there was going to be a game based on Fantasia, I was absolutely thrilled that I would get to re-live these two fantastic movies once again but, instead of watching them, I get to conduct them.
The premise of Fantasy: Music Evolved is fairly simple: depending on what is shown on the screen, do a different gesture. That’s pretty much it. It sounds simple and, at first, it is, but other gestures get added as well as the ability to remix songs.
Multiplayer: Local only
How a song is conducted is straight forward and the tutorial does a great job of explaining everything. The motions resemble those of conducting in that players will sweep their arms in every direction, “punch” toward the screen, hold certain notes, and trace the screen. It was a little complex doing all these motions in the songs but once I got a feel for them, I truly felt as though I am conducting the songs, so much so as, when the song was over, I felt the need to turn around and take a bow to the audience.
Like other music games, the difficulty ranges from the easy to the hard, and Fantasia is no different. But, unlike others, there really is no punishment for missing any of the motions. In fact, the only thing that happens is the music gets softer but gets louder again once the motions are properly hit. And no matter how many motions are missed, there is no failing a song which is good for kids or anyone else who has difficulty in keeping time (musically) and just want to experience the pleasure of conducting.
There is a sort of story to this game but it most certainly is not its strong point. Players take up the role as Yen Sid’s new apprentice and are tasked with destroying The Noise, which is taking over the world. The only way to stop this force is to learn “spells” and completing songs. In their journey to do this, there are two major things to learn as the apprentice and that changes the game play. The first is a composition spell that lets players create pretty much their own beat through gestures that can then be added to the song. This is a pretty cool feature. Hearing a beat I created in a song was amazing and made me feel as though I created something.
The other one happens when players get a certain score in a song. When that goal is met, a remix cue comes up and three different options can be chosen. These allow players to change the sound of the song and can range from Reggae to Swing and everything in between. While I did enjoy this option and some of the remixes made the songs sound different and interesting, some of the remixes just made the songs sound silly. The one that sticks out in my mind was, as I was playing through Sting’s ‘Message in a Bottle,’ I chose to use the Reggae remix. Needless to say, that remix really did not fit the song.
The biggest surprise to me while playing this game was the way Kinect worked. I had very little trouble completing the different motions and Kinect picked up on everything I did without any hiccups. In fact, the only trouble I had playing this game was when the songs got hard. I found myself missing motions by being late in hitting them and using the wrong arm to hit the motions. I would use my left arm to hit a motion on the right side of the screen. This made it a bit harder when there was a motion I needed to hit on the left side. But once I got accustomed to all of the different motions and the timing, I rarely missed motions after.
The game does have a party game mode that does allow for a friend to play through all of the songs that are included with the game without having to unlock them which is the way it should be done in the other rhythm games. I found that annoying, especially when I just wanted to dive right in and try out all of the songs with friends. Of course though, when playing through the party mode, nothing counts toward the story mode and there are no goals to complete or realms to unlock.
Fantasia: Music Evolved is a surprisingly fun game that works incredibly well with Kinect. The game play is fun and offers up a fresh new style to the rhythm game genre. It also serves up a diverse song list that can appeal to anyone that plays this game but also doesn’t really fit. I mean, Justin Bieber! Really? I was also hoping for a few more songs from the actual movies. Its one thing to conduct rock songs, but, for me, the biggest thrill was conducting the classical songs. I mean, the game was based on those kinds of songs. But, after I spent some time with this game, I truly found myself having a ton of fun and didn’t want to stop. Added in with the remixes and my own beats added in to the songs, this game really should not be missed by fans of the genre.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.