Who will you be Mickey or Minnie Mouse? That’s the first of a whole bunch of exciting choices your young child will make in this interactive, 3D Disney adventure. Children are welcomed into a gorgeous world where familiar Disney characters make their home. It’s Minnie and Mickey’s hometown, and if your child has chosen to be Mickey, it’s elected-mayor Minnie’s big day, but she’s nowhere to be found!
So starts a graphically rich, 3D adventure with beloved Disney pals. Though the adventure takes kids through the hometown the park, downtown, and more some of these areas are not accessible right away. For example, at the outset, kids are allowed to explore Minnie’s house, Mickey’s House, the grounds of Big Bad Pete’s abode, the park, and the Professor’s lab. The path to downtown is blocked by construction work until kids have uncovered enough items and storylines in these areas. Through these initial explorations, we learn the whereabouts of the kidnapped mayor-to-be, the means to perform a rescue operation (the Professor’s flying machine), and the missing parts required to complete that invention.
Besides searching for the missing parts of the flying machine, there are recyclable items to collect along the way and mini-games to play. Some of these include a matching game that involves cleaning up garbage in the park (and since a trash collector’s job is never done, kids can play this game endlessly), a maze activity in the factory, and an arcade-style sandwich-making game at the Greasy Fork, Knife, & Spoon Restaurant downtown.
Strengths & Weaknesses:
No matter which "hero" the player selects, the game plays basically the same way. There are 2 difficulty levels to choose from, and even the "Easy" level had kid testers stumped for some time. They needed parental assistance to get them past the first hump of the game. As such, be prepared to invest some time figuring things out. (Hint: be sure you offer either Mickey’s button or Minnie’s bow depending on the hero your child has selected to Pluto so he can "sniff" out the whereabouts of the kidnapped character; this can be done only after you’ve helped Pluto overcome his sniffles with a perfectly made bowl of chicken soup, which in turn can only be prepared once the recipe for the soup has been deciphered!).
The 3D graphics are fun, but if game-play is sacrificed, kids will prefer animated adventures, hands down. In this case, the waits are sometimes painful, and there are fewer hotspots to uncover than many animated adventure-style programs. This title is lacking some "smart" features and contains some inconsistencies and yes, kids notice them too. Some inconsistencies that testers observed were characters entering a new scene from the wrong direction after using the map feature, the restaurant owner remarking about the mess on the floor even when it was clean, and although our hero seems to receive the candy that the candy store cashier has handed to him/her, we never see that happen it is simply understood!
One of the strengths of the program is the recycling theme kids are not only encouraged to pick up recyclable items, the villain of the game Big Bad Pete is so bad, he wants to turn all of the beautiful trees into toothpicks and he doesn’t even clean up after himself! Disney Interactive can usually be counted on to sprinkle humor throughout many of their titles things that often go over the heads of the intended audience, almost as if to entertain parents too.