Fantasia: Music Evolved
Last week, Harmonix showed off how things are coming along with its upcoming game Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved. It had been a while since I last saw the game in action, and I was looking forward to seeing it again. The demo I got featured a new realm and music, and a wealth of weirdness.
In Disney Fantasia, realms are the themed areas that contain a variety of musical toys, places to explore, and songs to complete. Explore a realm sufficiently, and you’ll move on to the next one. We’ve seen several in the past, including a coral reef and a newspaper printing press. The latest demo featured a gloomy forest, called the hollow.
The hollow is rendered in a tessellated style, with dark, rich hues. Players who take the time to explore by scrolling around by stepping to the left and right in front of Kinect, and passing their hands in front of items of interest, will be rewarded. A mushroom patch springs up from the forest floor, giving players the tools to play an impromptu concert by waving their hands. That’s one of the most ordinary occurrences, too.
After seeing a rousing rendition of the classic "Night on Bald Mountain" by Modest Mussorgsky, the forest comes alive in other, less expected ways. A pile of rocks transforms into a cottage, from which a set of giant chicken feet emerge. As the White Stripes’ song “Seven Nation Army” plays (causing the chicken building to march in place), a tiny egg is visible from where the cottage once stood – an egg that contains the silhouette of the player. Then we see a stag transform into a fanciful beast called the Spirit Elk, a majestic creature with a set of horns that would make Liberace blush. They’re equipped with bells and candles, and players can compose quick tunes by swiping the cursor over the bells.
In addition to seeing the new level, I got a chance to check out the game’s multiplayer mode for the first time. After joining the game by shaking hands with player one, I did my best to beat my opponent’s score by timing my swipes and other motions along with the music and keeping my streak alive. Kinect 2.0 did a great job of interpreting my actions, which is little surprise; Harmonix was one of the few developers who could coax accurate inputs from the Xbox 360’s Kinect through Dance Central.
If you’ve seen Disney’s original Fantasia movie, you know just how weird things could get. I’m continually encouraged to see that Harmonix isn’t so awed by the license that they’re afraid to let their freak flags fly while providing their own interpretation.
In addition to the demo, Harmonix has added to their list of confirmed songs. Here are the latest:
- David Bowie - "Ziggy Stardust"
- Antonin Dvorak - "Symphony No. 9 from the New World"
- Lorde – “Royals”
- Nicki Minaj - "Super Bass"
- White Stripes - "Seven Nation Army"
Look for the game in 2014 on Xbox One and Xbox 360.