Toy Story Mania
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this minigame collection is primarily a bunch of carnival-inspired shooting galleries where kids aim at bull-eyes or paper cutouts. While shooting is the primary play mechanic, no one is ever hurt. This is a game about target practice, not inflicting violence. The game is particularly fun to play with two kids together, but can accommodate up to 4 with kids having to take turns.
What's it about?
Woody, Buzz, Hamm, Bo Peep and the rest of the toys that live in Andy's room are back in TOY STORY MANIA, a compilation of over 25 minigames exclusively on the Wii. While Andy is away, the toys decide to construct their own carnival midway filled with 10 different shooting galleries, and a variety of other classic games including pinball, Pong, and a variation of the shell game (just this time it is candy hiding in tea cups that rotate quickly). Kids play the minigames to earn tickets which can be used to unlock more games, including 5 that are in 3D (you must put on the filmsy 3D cardboard glasses that are included in the game's packaging), as well as stickers and other goodies.
Is it any good?
Toy Story Mania is a solid addition to the minigames genre and like most in this field, is best if played with others. While these minigames can be played with up to four kids, it is better with only two since only two can play at a time. The shooting galleries create fast-paced action as cardboard cutouts and balloons whiz over the screen. The games have multiple objectives, which means that it is fun to play them repeatedly to see if you can better your score and find all the quirky things to shoot.
But the overall structure of the game is a little hard to navigate. Initially, you must unlock the games by playing through the Story Mode – but there is no story here. There are minimum objectives that must be met before you can move on to the next game, so kids may have to repeat some of the games. When you earn enough tickets, you can purchase all of the games to play in Free Play Mode. But the Free Play Mode is somewhat confusing to figure out because each of the unlocked games is represented by a hard-to-use stamp. Complaints aside, this is a fun game for two boys (ages 6 to 11) to explore together, but it isn't a go-to game like Mario Kart Wii.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about why Disney released this game. It is based on the attraction of the same name at the Disney theme parks. Is this a way for Disney to drum up interest in this old license?
How important to your enjoyment was the presence of the Toy Story characters in the minigames? Would you have enjoyed the games equally as much if the characters hadn't been present? Did you select the minigames that featured your favorite character?