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Toy Story Mania! Review

Josh_Laddin By:
GENRE Mini-Games 
E What do these ratings mean?

To infinity finity. And nowhere else.

As a rule, I try to nurture my inner child more than most jaded adults, which is why I still get giddy over silly things like the failed American Gladiators remake or the upcoming re-airing of the original Power Rangers seasons in HD (which is freaking epic, by the way). But sometimes that rule can backfire, as is the case with Toy Story Mania.

click to enlargeWhen I was in middle school, my best friend and I had seen Toy Story so many times we each had the entire script memorized and took turns during lunchtime picking characters and reciting all their lines. As "40-Year Old Virgin"-tastic as that sounds, it should hopefully put things into perspective for you, dear reader. The old SNES and Genesis Toy Story games were pretty fun and did a good job of capturing the spirit of the movie on limited hardware.

But if Toy Story Mania was indicative of the quality of the franchise back then, I would have preferred spending my lunch periods bopping along to the music of Hanson. I hate degrading a series as venerable as Toy Story like that, but hey, that's exactly what Disney's done to it with this game (except they're charging you 50 bucks to crap all over your childhood memories, whereas I can do it for free).

This game was supposed to be a faithful reproduction of the theme park attraction at Disney's California Adventure, a way to bring the thrill and spectacle of a technologically advanced 3-D shooting gallery into your living room. But things don't always work out the way you want them to. I was supposed to get a nice job after graduating from college while writing the next great American novel, but the economy decided it was the best time to implode, so instead I'm writing kooky reviews for games like this pro bono (not that I'm ungrateful, of course... You're the greatest, Duke!).

click to enlargeI haven't been on the original ride, but everyone who has tells me it's awesome. That's why I can safely say the video game version is nowhere close to an accurate translation of the experience. You have the same shooting games that you play at the park, but the problem with this is glaringly obvious: You're still not at the park. What makes the ride cool isn't the game itself, which consists of the most basic shooting mechanics possible. No, it's about the immersive sound, Disney's animatronic toys-come-to-life, the flashy lights and all the other intangibles that come with the environment.

But just pointing a Wii-mote at your TV and mashing a button until your finger gets tired is, well...exactly what it sounds like. It also doesn't help that someone had the bright idea to throw in random, super-gimmicky motion control moments which have you shaking your Wii-mote like a child hyped up on sugar, while you could have spent that time shooting and probably earning more points.

Don't expect the amazing modern 3-D that the ride employs, either. You'll have to settle for the old red and blue paper glasses that your parents and your parents' parents used back in the day. It doesn't really matter anyway, though, since most of the game's content is in 2-D. Misleading advertising, anyone? The only time you'll need the glasses are when you go to quickplay and check out the 3-D versions of a handful of the mini-games, which play exactly the same (and unfortunately, they nearly look the same too... the 3-D effect is barely noticeable).

click to enlargeThe lack of any good presentation rounds out this turkey of a cash-in. There isn't even an attempt at a story, which is... an odd way of handling a Story mode. The interface for getting around the modes is clunky and unintuitive, and the voice acting is obviously done by second-rate VAs instead of the celebs we're used to (are Don Rickles and John Ratzenberger really that busy nowadays?).

I played this game by myself and didn't like it. I played it with friends and they didn't like it. I played it with kids, and even they didn't like it (and kids will play anything). For a franchise like Toy Story, which has always been about appealing to all age ranges, that's a feat that would actually impress me if I weren't so distracted by the sounds of my childhood being cannibalized by Disney's corporate monster.
D Revolution report card
  • Basic shooting gallery mechanics are solid
  • Utterly pointless Wii-mote shaking
  • See everything in 20 minutes
  • ...and that's including the 3-D.
    Reviews by other members
    No member reviews for the game.

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