Wii

North America

Toy Story Mania

by Pedro Hernandez - November 17, 2009, 5:42 pm PST
Total comments: 6

7

A well done "port" of the movie-based theme park attraction that should please Toy Story fans.

When Toy Story was first released in 1995, it wowed everyone thanks to its stunning use of CGI to create a new genre of animation. But what has truly kept the franchise alive and beloved for all these years was the charming characters and heartwarming story about loyalty and friendship. A 1999 sequel further solidified the movie franchise and made Pixar, the animation studio behind both films, a highly respected company. Following an October 2009 theatrical re-release of the first two films in 3D, and in anticipation of a third installment in 2010, a new Disney theme park attraction called Toy Story Mania opened. The concept behind this attraction is that you are taken to various shooting gallery challenges while riding in a carnival-themed cart and wearing 3D glasses. . The ride was popular enough that it warranted the release of a home version, in the form of Toy Story Mania for the Wii.

Like the theme park attraction, Toy Story Mania consists of various shooting gallery stages, each with its own theme and host character from the film. While some differ in theme, they all have the same concept: shoot as many targets as possible for a high score. Sometimes you will be shooting darts at balloons, while other times you will be tossing rings at targets. To add to the challenge, there are up to five objectives in each level, such as clearing a set number of targets or discovering a secret bonus. This is important to note, because if you achieve all of the objectives you unlock the mini-game for free play. On occasion, you will be asked to shake the Wii Remote to activate a special bonus. It doesn't get any simpler than this, but it's the simplicity of the gameplay that makes it fun and highly accessible for any gamer. In total there are over 25 stages, and up to four players can join in.

Toy Story Mania has three modes of play: Story mode, which has the player going through all of the game's stages in one sitting, Quick Play, which lets you play any of the unlocked games and finally, there prizes,, where players can unlock stages and stickers by redeeming the tickets they have earned during gameplay. In Quick Play there are even more options: you can either play through all of the unlocked stages or pick just one. You can even create your own set of stages based on personal preference.

As a bonus, the game tries to emulate the 3D feel of the attraction. Many of the stages have a 3D mode, which asks the player to wear the 3D glasses included with the game. The classic red-and-blue way of 3D viewing is used, meaning that it isn't as effective as the 3D technology used on the ride. It's a notable addition, but those looking for an experience similar to the ride may be disappointed.

Like many carnival-style games of its kind, Toy Story Mania is brief. While it tries to extend its length by adding additional mini-games not found in the attraction, players will see everything the game has to offer in less than an hour. The shooting can also become hectic and confusing. While it can make for a fun gaming session, at times there are just too many targets on screen. Adding to the confusion, occasionally the on-screen targeting device disappears whenever you change between foreground and background objects.

Toy Story Mania's best asset lies in the multiplayer mode. The accessibility of the title will help many gamers ease in into the game's world, but those playing solo will grow bored. Another problem is that the game has tacked-on motion controls. They don't ruin the overall game, and they do add some interactivity to what would have been a straight carnival-themed shooter, but Wii Remote shaking can get repetitive and tiring.

Despite its flaws, Toy Story Mania is a solid home version of the theme park attraction. It has all of the original stages re-created in a manner that takes advantage of the Wii Remote technology. The look and feel of the movies has been captured perfectly, thanks to colorful and clean graphics and easy-to-understand menus that look like they were ripped from the films. The Toy Story characters are present and accounted for, many of whom are voiced by the original actors from the film, giving the game an authentic feel.

Fans of the movies, Disney, and carnival-style games will find a lot to like about Toy Story Mania. Its loyalty to the franchise along with its accessible gameplay will make it an endearing addition to the Wii library. Everyone else, however, might feel disenchanted by its repetitive gameplay, problematic motion control, and overall brevity.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
7.5 7 8 7.5 6.5 7
Graphics
7.5

Toy Story Mania does a pretty good job of emulating the films and the theme park attraction, thanks to some solid and colorful menu and stage designs. The main issue with its presentation is that the in-game FMV cutscenes are grainy and low quality.

Sound
7

The music is carnival-themed and it works well enough, even though it doesn't feature any of the songs from the movies. Many of the characters are voiced by the original actors, lending an authentic feel to the overall package.

Control
8

Pointing and shooting with the Wii Remote feels natural. The only problem is that at times the targeting device disappears when targeting foreground or background stages. The motion controls work well, but are repetitive and disruptive to the experience.

Gameplay
7.5

Toy Story Mania is a simple carnival shooting game. It's this simplicity that makes it an experience anyone can pick up and enjoy without much hassle. The stages do a good job of keeping the game fresh while still retaining the core gameplay concept. There are many additional game modes for gamers to explore, and multiplayer is great thanks to its inclusion of up to four players.

Lastability
6.5

Despite brimming with stages, bonus content, and additional game modes, the overall experience is a short one. Once you see and play everything the game has to offer there's very little incentive, save for multiplayer, to go back and play through all of them again.

Final
7

Fans of Disney and the Toy Story films should find a lot to enjoy in Toy Story Mania thanks to its loyalty to the franchise and no-nonsense gameplay. For everyone else, there are better shooting experiences to be had on Wii.

Summary

Pros
  • Gameplay is simple and easy to learn
  • Solid multiplayer modes
  • True to the Toy Story franchise
Cons
  • Replayability issues
  • Some problems with on-screen targeting
  • The 3D mode doesn't work that well
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Talkback

I thought this was a pile of crap when I reviewed it for PixlBit.

It's probably the worst shooting game I've played on Wii, but it is the best Wii game based on a Disney ride. That competition isn't hard to win, though, and the ride is actually fun.

thatguyNovember 18, 2009

Personally, I hate the ride.  Comparing it to Universal's Men in Black: Alien Attack, or even the Magic Kingdom's Buzz Lightyear ride really creates a high standard to live up to, and some simple "midway" style games where you shoot a few targets just doesn't cut it for me.  Which is sad, because my family loves it, and my dad is convinced that virtually every vacation has to be to a theme park.

I'm not buying this title, because it's clear that the game is more of the same of what's on the ride, and I really could care less about the ride in every aspect except that I've been forced to ride it several times.

And yes, this is solely my opinion.  Virtually everyone else seems to adore said ride, and I really can't understand why!

broodwarsNovember 18, 2009

Quote from: thatguy

Personally, I hate the ride.  Comparing it to Universal's Men in Black: Alien Attack, or even the Magic Kingdom's Buzz Lightyear ride really creates a high standard to live up to, and some simple "midway" style games where you shoot a few targets just doesn't cut it for me.  Which is sad, because my family loves it, and my dad is convinced that virtually every vacation has to be to a theme park.

I'm not buying this title, because it's clear that the game is more of the same of what's on the ride, and I really could care less about the ride in every aspect except that I've been forced to ride it several times.

And yes, this is solely my opinion.  Virtually everyone else seems to adore said ride, and I really can't understand why!

The original ride is enjoyable purely through the atmosphere and the competition between you and your fellow rider.  The ride also has a nice flow, where just as you're getting tired of one game, the game ends and the car rolls you around to the next screen.  It's good, simple fun that works in the theme park environment, especially since it's a nice break from Disney's usual epic over-indulgence.

Thing is, you bring that to Wii and it's just another underwhelming mini-game collection.  Thanks, but I think I'll stick to the ride.

thatguyNovember 18, 2009

Well, it's just when you've got the Buzz Lightyear ride, or the Men in Black one, as direct competitors in the interactive ride/shooting gallery type of game, this ride offers a lot less.

For one, there's no storyline presented to you.  There's nothing to watch or learn, or really engaging the audience member as to "why" he or she is participating, aside from scoring points.  There's a huge discrepancy between possible scores depending on where you sit, compared to most other games.  There's no real "gimmick" to the ride beyond 3D.  Buzz Lightyear had 360 degree turning abilities, and Men In Black pits you head-to-head against the opposing car, as a part of the storyline.  The cars are lame.  Literally, take a look at them.  They've got a video screen, and that's about it for special things there.

Essentially, if you've played Point Blank, or one of it's many sequels, there's nothing new for you on this ride.  And I mean that.  You can get literally the same experience by playing a Playstation-era arcade game.  Granted, there's no Toy Story theme, but really, aside from the oversized board games and Mr. Potato Head in the lobby, the theme poorly executed, too.  In fact, aside from the games not actually involving characters beyond a short introduction, even at the end, when you're awarded a "prize" based on your score, it isn't even Toy Story related.  Granted, Buzz Lightyear ranked you in a similar manner, but the ride was really based on one character, and not the entire group.  Couldn't you be rewarded a "Slinky Dog" or "Hamm" for a poor performance, and a "Woody" or "Buzz" for a higher one, rather than cats, rabbits, and other random animals?

There was just so much missed opportunity that's hard to look past, especially when you compare it to the other two.  Not to mention, it truthfully doesn't match the theme of the park, which is meant to put you into the movies and entertainment, in a sense.

So, yeah, I'd rather have Point Blank than an game based on this ride, personally.  I suppose if I wanted a light-gun based mini game collection again, at this point, I'd consider this, though.  I'd imagine it's biggest competition is something like Carnival Games.  Can anyone say how it compares to that?

broodwarsNovember 18, 2009

There's no denying that the theme park ride has obvious, glaring problems.  I've only been on it once, but despite its problems I found it simple, dumb fun.  My mom and I had a fun time competing against each other (which I won by a fairly large margin, some small comfort since my folks usually kick my ass at Buzz Lightyear and Men in Black), and for a theme park ride that's just there as something fun to do while you're already in the park it does its job.  Could it be much more elaborate?  Yes, but would it have mattered in the context of the ride?  Probably not.

But this becomes a major problem when you have a home console version of the experience like this one.  At MGM (I refuse to call it the Hollywood Studios), it's one thing among a wide variety of other things you can do.  At home, the experience has to show why it's worth the price tag and from the looks of it Disney hasn't justified that cost with a more involving experience.

Mop it upNovember 24, 2009

My friend owns this game, I did not like it, to put it nicely. It's difficult to see the cursor with all of the shots flying around, the aiming felt sluggish and off, there's little variety, and the sound department is annoying.

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Genre Party/Parlor
Developer Disney Interactive
Players1 - 2

Worldwide Releases

na: Toy Story Mania
Release Year 2009
PublisherDisney Interactive
RatingEveryone

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