Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved Game Poster Image
Become a wizardly conductor in music game; some iffy lyrics.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about music and get some physical exercise while playing this fun and innovative rhythm game. Moving like a conductor in time with specific sounds encourages kids to think about how music is composed and how songs change in tempo and have crescendos. It also forces kids to quickly move their arms in grand sweeps and punches. Longer play sessions will leave players sweaty and perhaps even breathing hard. Fantasia: Music Evolved doesn't provide any sort of formal music instruction, but it might increase kids' interest in various types of music -- and give them a bit of a workout in the process.

Positive Messages

Intuitive conductor-like play encourages kids to become interested in music of all types, from modern rock to classical symphonies. Also promotes moderate physical exercise.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Wizard Yen Sid acts as a kindly old mentor, albeit briefly. A fellow apprentice who's also very enthusiastic about music helps guide players through the quest, though she's the one who accidentally unleashes the Noise -- the force players are trying to defeat -- at the start of the game. 

Ease of Play

The movement-based interface is extremely intuitive. Earning high scores and avoiding mistakes can be tough, but the objectives to simply pass songs and keep progressing are very easy to achieve, even for younger players.

Violence & Scariness

Some songs reference violence, such as Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," in which a woman is described as shooting a man.

Language
Consumerism

Could be interpreted as a promotion for the featured music or as an advertisement for the movie Fantasia.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved is a music and movement game set within the fantastical world established by the classic Disney film Fantasia. Players conduct a broad range of musical pieces -- from centuries-old symphonies to modern pop hits -- using their hands. Kids will feel as though they're actually manipulating and creating music while getting a modest physical workout. Parents should be aware that a handful of featured songs contain iffy lyrics that reference violence and controlled substances, but it's nothing worse than what's heard on the radio.

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What's it about?

DISNEY FANTASIA: MUSIC EVOLVED was spawned from the classic animated Disney film with which it shares part of its name. It doesn't follow the movie's story but instead makes occasional reference to it as sorcerer Yen Sid takes the player under his wing as a new apprentice. Calamity soon strikes when a malignant force known as the "Noise" begins to infest Fantasia's many earthly and heavenly realms. It's up to the player to eradicate the Noise by visiting each realm and creatively conducting the music found there by moving your arms according to on-screen cues, passing over glowing markers in time with the music. Players also can switch among original mixes at timed intervals within each song and occasionally even create their own musical loops by waving their arms around to record short series of samples. Each completed song earns players a magical element used to create Composition Spells. Earn enough and you'll eventually rid the realms of Noise once and for all. Once unlocked, songs become available in a free-play mode for one or two players.

Is it any good?

Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved is simple to figure out and fun to play. There are only a handful of physical movements players need to learn to properly conduct all the songs, and none of them is more complex than waving an arm or pushing a hand forward. What's more, objectives are easy to achieve. Goals for most songs necessary to complete the story mode hover around 100,000 points, and even novice players are likely to start scoring more than a million points per song within 15 or 20 minutes of getting started. Add in a satisfyingly broad range of music from centuries-old classical symphonies to '60s and '70s rock all the way up to modern pop hits, and you have a recipe for a fun and accessible family music game.

Just keep in mind that it's not quite perfect. The cues, while intuitive, sometimes come so fast and furious in more challenging songs that it's difficult to distinguish them, leaving players awkwardly and ineffectually flailing their arms. Plus, although Kinect does a pretty good job of registering player movements, there will be times when streaks are ruined simply because the sensor fails to properly pick up a swipe or punch. You won't fail the song, but these issues may prove a bit frustrating for perfectionists looking to earn a 100 percent rating. Still, it's not enough of a problem to put a serious damper on the fun. If you have a family full of music fans and have been waiting for a reason to dust off your Kinect sensor, Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved is a no-brainer. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about music. Have you ever considered what a music conductor does? Do you think a conductor is as important as the musicians playing the music?

  • Talk about lyrics in pop music such as the songs in Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved. Do you listen closely to words sung by your favorite musical artists? Do they often have meaning to you? Which typically appeals to you more: a song's lyrics or its music and beat?

Game details

Themes & Topics

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