Howdy partner. To Infinity and beyond! Grab those spare controllers from the toy box, it’s time for a nice family game of Toy Story Mania. Created by Disney Interactive, Toy Story Mania is a straightforward, easy party game aimed at the whole family. The game is about as difficult as brushing your teeth, making it a very good title to get your young gamers into gaming and particularly works well if they are an avid Disney PIXAR fan too.
It plays like an un-inventive carnival game of sorts. Basically, you will play through a series of booths, each with their own theme (wild west, space frontier, balloon garden, animals and friends, army men challenges). These will contain a certain number of shoot ’em up target ranges. All there is to the game is basically point and hold the trigger. The games don’t really vary, there are only the shooting range levels creating core gameplay. There are also some smaller mini-games that appear in each booth. One notable mini-game plays out like fruit ninja and is probably the most fun you will have in Toy Story Mania. It’s good to keep the kids quiet for a while or to get everyone together around the console enjoying a few hours of party style gameplay with a Toy Story wrapping paper.
Toy Story Mania features all your favourite toys from the first and second films, who appear from booth to booth. The game has a more cardboard cut and stick feel to it, but at the same time still stays true to the Toy Story graphical expectation. To assist in making the gameplay somewhat more challenging, the screen can become cluttered with many different objects to shoot or just to look at. To be fair to Toy Story Mania most of these objects only appear in one or two levels at most, so the game has some variety to offer in terms of graphics. This will affect not only targets and scenery but also projectiles.
Mania sounds like you’re in the Toy Story Universe. Character voices are authentic and phrases and narrative feel at home within the films. Music can be repetitive and get stale very quickly. Sound does shine when certain triggers cause characters to say phrases associated with the event. Some are linked to things like trophies and others come from natural game progression.
Toy Story Mania has an easy platinum attached to it for you trophy hunters out there. It also boasts high replayability since you can keep playing over and over. Once you beat a Booth you gain access to its contents in Free play, letting you select your booth and level. If you fancy mixing it up a bit then the game has a built-in Party mode that randomises levels and you keep on playing.
In summary, Toy Story Mania is fun little party game to keep the family or the kids quiet for a couple of hours. Anything past the two-hour mark becomes somewhat repetitive, stale and honestly, pretty boring. The easy platinum trophy takes some of the sting from playing. But its one of those games you might only crack open on special occasions, like a fine wine, only its more of a flat beer. It could offer so much more but instead, it just re-uses mechanics and doesn’t really push to be anything exciting. In order to sell its game, Toy Story Mania plays on its brand; delivering a borderline terrible product with the Toy Story logo slapped on to make it sell. But like I say, for young fans of the franchise, or over-competitive adults, this game should provide a few hours of entertainment. In my opinion, put the toys back in their box, they aren’t worth playing with this time.