Over the years I have reviewed my share of Disney games for the Nintendo DS. Whether it be Disney’s Zack and Cody, Hannah Montana, Cory in the House or Wizards of Waverly Place, more often than not I seem to be the “go to guy” to dissect Disney DS games. So it came as no surprise when Disney Princess: My Fairytale Adventure for the 3DS landed on my lap.
Typically, my approach with games aimed for kids and families is always a little softer as compared to how I review ‘Triple A’ mature rated games. In other words, I tend to review the game with the intended target audience in mind. Of course if the game is downright awful, it will receive a bad score but if it is a game that I believe its target audience will enjoy then inevitably it will receive a good score. So how does Disney Princess: My Fairytale Adventure stack-up and will its target audience (Girls anywhere from 5-10-years old) enjoy the experience? Well after some extended playtime with the game I am left with the view that girls who are fans of Disney’s beloved princesses will not only enjoy the game, they will love it!
In Disney Princess: My Fairytale Adventure you take on the role of an apprentice to the Fairy Godmother. In the early going, you accidentally set off a series of events that cause friendly Sprites to transform into mischievous Imps. These Imps end up running amok and make their way into the worlds of Ariel, Belle, Cinderella, Rapunzel and Tiana. In each of these worlds you must hunt down the Imps to prevent them from causing any harm. With the use of your magic wand and other abilities, your mission is to ultimately turn the Imps back into their original Sprite form so they can return them to their rightful home in the Magical Kingdom.
All in all, the story comes across as somewhat simplistic and lacking any real depth; however, when you take into account the games target audience and the amount of interaction your character will have with Ariel, Belle, and all the other princesses, the story manages to hold up, and more importantly the gameplay is varied enough to keep those aspiring Princesses interested. In each of the Princess worlds you will not only be able to interact with the Princesses themselves but you will also be able to interact with Disney characters such as Lumiere, Pascal, Flounder, Gus, and other fan favourites. Much of these secondary characters guide you through the missions and are as adorable in the game as they are in their respective movies.
As I just mentioned, the gameplay is varied. You will find elements that include platforming, quests, mini-games, hide and seek type gameplay, and other sequences where you will be solving puzzles. Whether it is removing wanted posters from an area using your magical wand or repairing a bridge, Disney Princess: My Fairytale Adventure offers up enough variety to keep things interesting. Much of the games levels involve finding a character or tracking down those Imps which can become a tad monotonous at times; however, for the most part the gameplay is nicely paced. It is very simple stuff and I have to say it had my 9-year old bored to tears at times, but it not to say that it is bad. I could not help but think a couple of years ago she would have found the game a little more challenging.
Control wise, Disney Princess: My Fairytale Adventure is very smooth. You move your character with the circle pad, interact with the B button while the Y button shoots magic and the X button triggers twirl magic. The game also offers some pretty smooth swimming mechanics in Ariel’s world as well. Pressing the B button will swim up and releasing the B button will have you swimming down. All in all the controls are easy to learn and pick up. Even younger games should not experience any difficulty with the game controls.
In addition to the single player aspect, you can also customize your character and your room in the Fairy Godmother’s Castle. Throughout the game you collect gems that you can trade for items in “Wishing Well” store. Outfits, accessories, and tiaras can be purchased to dress up your character. Needless to say, my daughter loved this aspect of the game.
When it comes to the game’s visuals, I was pleasantly surprised. The environments are colourful and come to life. The games characters are easily recognizable and truly pop on the 3DS’s screen. Disney Princess: My Fairytale Adventure is easily one of the best looking Disney games on the 3DS and the 3D animations are stunning. Given that Nintendo recommends that those under seven years of age not use the 3D functionality, I am happy to report that the game also looks good when played in 2D as well. All in all I was impressed with the overall look of the game and have no complaints with the visuals at all. Finally I can play a Disney game on the 3DS that truly manages to push the hardware capabilities by producing a game that is a visual stunner.
Much like the games visuals, Disney Princess: My Fairytale Adventure’s sounds are top notch. The voice work is well done. I was actually surprised with the amount of voice work in the game. Far too often Disney games feature scrolling text to replace actual dialogue, but this is not the case in Disney Princess: My Fairytale Adventure and for that I have to say I was quite pleased. The musical sounds are much like the tunes you would hear at Disneyland and likewise the game’s sound effects have that whimsical Disney touch.
As far as Disney games on the 3DS are concerned, Disney Princess: My Fairytale Adventure ranks among the better ones out there. The visuals are vibrant and the varied gameplay will keep all those aspiring Princesses busy for hours on end. While the gameplay does tend to get tedious at times, the reality is that the games target audience, girls anywhere from 5-10, will definitely enjoy the game provided of course they adore those Disney Princess characters.