Love Disney or hate it, we’re pretty sure this media empire is here to stay. At this year’s E3, Disney Interactive Studios showed off a few high-profile games along with some other popular properties that were refreshing for their non-post-Apocalyptic bents. Hooray for the joys of childhood; few of us are immune to the excitement that a good Disney property generates, no matter how old we are.
First off, Disney showed off a game it had announced only a couple of weeks before: Disney Universe, which had already faced a bit of controversy when a producer at TT Games claimed that it was an imitation of his Lego games. This Wii title debuted via a demo walkthrough, and the screenshots Disney released at the expo showed “Alice in Wonderland”- and “Monsters, Inc.”-style environments.
Most are calling this one a mix of LEGO and LittleBigPlanet in terms of gameplay; we do know that you can suit up as your favorite Disney character, with each costume offering a unique tool. You’ll explore worlds, challenge enemies and collect coins and power-ups during missions that follow Disney and Disney/Pixar storylines. The game will feature four-player co-op, six different Disney-themed lands and over 40 costumes. It’ll be available with four-person multiplayer for PS3, Xbox 360, Wii and PC and is due this fall. Disney’s E3 booth seemed filled with people dressing themselves up in virtual Disney costumes this year.
Excitement is also being generated around Kinect Disneyland Adventures, which debuted at Microsoft’s press conference. This title offers pure excitement for anyone who’s been to Disneyland and loved it, or anyone who’s never had a chance to go. You’ll be able to interact with people and characters walking down Main Street, get autographs and check out the rides. It looks to be one of the coolest and innovative Kinect games we’ve seen yet; think of it as an interactive park tour with mini-games that let you experience the rides the way they were meant to be experienced. It’s due out for Xbox 360 during the holiday season.
While these two were the big ones at the Disney booth, the company had some other fun games to show off as well. These included Cars 2: The Video Game, a kart racing title that looks like the movies and seems to have some tight controls as well as some Mario Kart-style qualities. Multiplayer game modes are included, including Battle mode and a Capture-the-Flag type game. The cars all have their own personalities and features, of course, which match up to what you might expect from the movies. This one’s expected for all the major platforms soon, on June 21.
Also, for fans of Disney’s super-cool summer-vacation geniuses, Phineas and Ferb: Across the Second Dimension provides a breath of fresh air from all those tragic gun-toting heroes everywhere else at E3. It sounds like this 25-level platformer could be fun for the kids; Phineas and Ferb and their neighborhood pals are sucked into another dimension where everyone is their opposite. Weapons for blasting killer robots and getting out of this dimension include a baseball launcher and a soda carbonator. Puzzles abound, but aren’t too hard for children.
The art style looks like the cartoon, the voices of the cartoon actors are used and overall, the game seems to feel a lot like Phineas and Ferb’s usual exuberant style – which we adore. The game is coming for Wii and DS (these will feature co-op) as well as PS3. The PS3 version will have Blu-ray episodes from the show never released on DVD. It’s due out in August, around the same time the TV movie of the same name airs on the Disney Channel.
Also shown at Disney’s booth were the already-launched games Lego Pirates of the Caribbean and Playdom’s Gardens of Time hidden-object Facebook title. Playdom did unveil a new Facebook game at E3 this year, City of Might. This city-building game includes resource management and player-vs.-player combat (just like Zynga’s Empire & Allies, actually). Combat lets you place units on the map then add more if needed, but mostly seems to be automated. You can bring friends into the game to help you if you need extra manpower, and there’s an in-game chat as well. Details are still sketchy on this one, but it’s due out on Facebook this summer sometime.
For more information on Disney Interactive, its E3 appearance and new games, visit disney.go.com/disneyinteractivestudios.