Of course, a theme park simulator would be nothing without rides to go on. Here KDA does not disappoint. Each region of the park contains multiple rides presented as full-on Kinect multi-stage minigames. In ‘Peter Pan’s Flight,’ you’ll first soar through the skies of London, then dodge cannonballs from the pirate’s ship, and finally duel with Captain Hook himself. Most of the rides involve flying by leaning in various directions and collecting as many coins as possible, which is thankfully quite fun. But each one also has a unique activity or two, such as ducking down to dodge attacks and firing at aliens in ‘Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters.’ That might sound a bit like The Gunstringer’s gameplay, but I’m not complaining. There are also some ridable but non-interactive rides, like roller coasters.
I do have a couple of minor complaints about the ride minigames. One, it can be tough to find the hidden Mickey icons necessary to achieve Platinum ratings (and Achievements). The Platinum difficulty really skews too high for a family title, though I suppose it might increase the game’s appeal to older gamers. Second, the throwing controls (in rides that involve throwing things, such as snowballs) are terrible, just like Kinectimals. Frontier should either rethink their throwing mechanics or leave them out of their next Kinect game.
Kinect Disneyland Adventures would be a fine single-player game, but the addition of co-op pushes it into fantastic territory. The entire game supports drop-in, drop-put play. As you explore the park, the main player controls movement while the second player tags along. Once you start talking to a Disney character, the toon greets each player in turn and you both have a chance to interact with him or her. I love this aspect of the game because a parent like me can handle the relatively complex navigation but my young daughter still has a chance to hug Mickey and the gang.
The real fun of co-op is taking on the attractions together. Pretty much every ride is made easier with a partner since they can collect coins and attack enemies alongside you. You’ll probably bump into each other a bit while steering, but that’s the nature of motion controls. All of the attractions can be instantly selected from the Fast pass menu - a great feature when you and your partner want to enjoy the attractions without running around the park.
When playing KDA in co-op, only the first player’s progress is saved. Thankfully, the second player does still earn Achievements. There are even a couple of co-op Achievements for you to earn together. On the downside, the drop-in, drop-out aspect of the game can be aggravating. Even when playing by myself, I’d sometimes step off-screen, only to get back and the game no longer recognized me as the main player. When this happened, my character was replaced by a generic one and I had to slog through some menus to get back into the game. I understand that a second player might come or go, but the game shouldn’t drop the main player unless specifically told to do so.
The Kinect may not be swimming with must-have titles, but that’s definitely what Kinect Disneyland Adventures is. Unlike the disappointing Disney Universe (also from a European developer), KDA scratches the Disney itch in a major way. With a gigantic park to explore, loads of quests to complete and things to collect, and very good co-op to boot, the game packs a ton of bang for the buck. Disney fans and parents alike will love this Kinect exclusive.
The Co-Op Experience: Two players can explore the park together, with the main player controlling navigation. Both players can interact with famous Disney characters and participate in the attraction minigames together.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.