October 1, 2009

Toy Story Mania - Wii

Spend a fun filled day with Woody, Buzz and a cast of your other favourite characters from the Toy Story saga at the carnival staged in Andy’s room. Toy Story Mania is based on the actual Disney attraction that is found at Disneyland Resort and Disney World. It is a collection of mini-games offering a variety of carnival themed games that the whole family can play including balloon pop, skee ball, ring toss, plate break, shooting galleries, and many more. Play through story mode to win tickets to earn prizes or pick and choose your favourite games to create your own carnival experience.

The game play options available are free play, which includes quick play (you select one game to play), play all (all available games will be queued) and build (pick and choose from the mini games available) or you can choose one of the six levels of story mode which include the themes of Space, Dinosaur, Western, Army, Tea Party and Animals. At the end of each level in story mode you will earn tickets depending on how well you perform in the mini-games. These tickets can be exchanged for prizes such as new games, stickers and sticker pages for your sticker book. The sticker book is found in the prize menu and lets you create pictures by putting unlocked stickers on a variety of themed backgrounds. There are quite a few games to be unlocked for each theme, but watch out for the 3D games that you can unlock to add a whole new experience to the gameplay.

Each game you play begins with a set of instructions and then objectives. As the game contains multiple mini- games the controls for each will vary; however the majority of the games involve shooting of a projectile by pressing the A button and aiming with your Wii Remote in order to hit the targets. The game has a built in cursor icon that will help in aiming, or if you prefer some added difficulty this can be turned off in the options menu. There are also some games that require you to mimic the motions of the characters on screen with your Wii Remote like Ham dancing in What’s Shakin Bacon?, or Woody’s Lasso Trick Roppin’. If a Wii Remote symbol appears during a game, mimicking the action will open up a new chance to score points and at the end of the game you will have the opportunity to earn bonus points by performing an action with your wii remote.

In order to continue on to the next game you must complete a percentage of the objectives and you must complete all the objectives to win the game. The objectives will also vary depending on the mini-game but most will include a score level to surpass along with some game specific tasks such as popping three sheep in a row or popping all six balloons on the clouds in Bo Peep’s Baaa-Loon Pop.

Multiplayer can be played with up to four players, but only supports 2-player simultaneous play where you and a friend can both play at the same time using the same controls that you learned in single player. Players compete against each other for the best score. When more than two players are participating the turn order and pairing is arranged at random.

The gameplay is near perfect, intuitive and very easy to pick up and play. There are times though when the controller doesn’t seem to respond as well as you hope. With that in mind I am sure the gameplay will delight many gamers as it did so for my family.

Toy Story Mania has easily transitioned to the Nintendo Wii keeping the animation style that Toy Story is known for identical to its original source material. The mini-games are artistically designed with great attention to detail while keeping the atmosphere bright and colourful. The mini-games are full of action with many of the game elements in constant motion creating a chaotic but entertaining experience. With all of the action going on you might expect a bit of delay, but the animations move smoothly along with no lag at all.

Toy Story Mania does a great job of keeping a 3D feel, but if you want to push the game to actual 3D you are able to unlock six 3D games with the tickets you earn throughout the game. Put on some 3D glasses, which are included in the game, to experience the 3D gaming feature. The only drawback to playing the game in 3D is that the colors are not nearly as vibrant as they are in regular gameplay.

One of the most memorable features of a carnival for me was always the distinct sounds such as bells and whistles and of course the happy and upbeat music you would hear. In all of these areas, Toy Story Mania does not disappoint. Each mini-game features tailored music to set the mood of the game such as the military anthem in Sergeant’s plate break to the classic saloon style western music in Woody’s western shooting gallery. Throughout the game you can also expect to hear your typical upbeat polka style carnival music.

The sound effects are also well done. Each pop of the balloon, plates breaking, bells and coins jingling, shooting noises, curtains opening and even the tallying of your score bring you ever so close to a real carnival experience. The game also makes use of the Wii Remote speaker and you will hear sounds like cheers when you successfully complete a game or a special sound effect when you successfully activate a feature in a game like a rushing water sound from the water tower in Woody’s Rootin’ Tootin’ Shooter.

As the game features many characters from the Toy Story movies, you can expect to hear their well loved and familiar voices with it appearing that most are from the original cast, or the voices being nearly identical to the original likeness.

Toy Story Mania provides a fun carnival-like experience filled with plenty of mini-games. These tend to be a little on the simplistic side and geared towards a younger audience; however older gamers will find the games entertaining and at times challenging when attempting to complete all the game objectives. There are plenty of unlockable items which will keep you playing in order to win as many prize tickets with your high score. Overall this game will mostly appeal to gamers who are fans of the Toy Story franchise, or fans of the actual theme park attraction, along with anyone who just can’t get enough of mini-games and family fun.

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