Toy Story Mania – iPhone/iPod App Review

17/08/2009

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Title: Toy Story Mania!
Publisher: Walt Disney
Released: August 14, 2009
Cost: £2.99
Pros: Fun graphics, good re-play value
Cons: Controls can be annoying

Anyone who has visited either Disney’s Californian Adventure or Hollywood Studio’s will no doubt be familiar Toy Story Mania! For those who aren’t TSM (as it’s lovingly known) is a 4D video game/attraction.

All of the mini-games are represented here hosted by their respective characters – Shooting suction-cup arrows at Woody’s Rootin’ Tootin’ Shootin’ Gallerty, breaking plates with baseballs at the Green Army Men Shoot Camp , tossing darts at balloons in Bo Peep’s Baa-loon Pop, tossing rubber rings in Buzz Lightyear’s Flying Tossers (no giggling please) and throwing water balloon-shaped eggs at targets in Hamm n Eggs.

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There are only two main differences between the theme park attraction and the iPhone game. Firstly you choose what game you want to play and in what order you want to play them as opposed to the theme park version where you (obvioulsy) have to play the games in the order that the attraction has them. Secondly, each mini game has it’s own control system whereas at the theme park attraction all games are controlled in the same way.

Each mini game has three levels, Easy, Normal and Hard and they are all independant to each other so if you are dreadful at one of them it won’t stop you from playing the rest of the games. Each game consists of five rounds, each with a target score to reach in order to move on to the next round. One of the rounds is a bonus round which unlocks a special item you can purchase with tickets if you complete the task. If you fail to meet the target on the round, the game allows you to retry the round as many times as you need to without having to start over, except for the bonus round which moves on to the next round automatically, even if you fail. Complete the round successfully and you earn tickets, one for each 1000 points, which can then be used to redeem unlocked prizes.

ts3The graphics are really quite good and the developers have also tried to throw in some of the special physics that’s so prominent in the attraction, such as the suction-cups sticking to non-targets or the water balloon eggs rolling over the plywood waves if you aim a little low and hit the top of them instead of the ducks.

ts5 Woody’s Rootin’ Tootin’ Shootin’ Gallery

This game is pretty straight forward in play. Simply press where you want the suction-cup arrows to go, which is of course on each of the targets. The twist is that while you have an unlimited supply of arrows in most rounds, you can only fire off six before you need to reload by swiping your finger across the reload area as pictured on the left. You can reload at any time during play as well, so you don’t have to wait until you run out.

ts6Green Army Men Shoot Camp

The gameplay is a bit more interesting here. Instead of clicking directly on the plates to fire a baseball at them, you must position the cross-hair target to where you want to fire by sliding one finger around so it’s in position, then click with another finger to fire, although you can technically use the same finger in both cases (swipe to aim, press to fire). It’s a bit more challenging and it turns out it’s not one of my favorite games, but it’s not a bad thing either. Unlike the Shootin’ Gallery, there is no requirement to reload at any time.

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Bo Peep’s Baa-loon Pop

Like the Shootin’ Gallery, simply click to aim and fire to pop the balloons. You also need to periodically reload, but here you give the iPhone a little shake to reload. It’s actually quite fun and probably the easiest of all the mini games, although re-loading can be very annoying!

ts8Buzz Lightyear’s Flying Tossers

A simple flick of the finger is all that’s required to toss a rubber ring to try to capture an alien or rocket. The length of your swipe determines how high and far the ring goes. One of the coolest elements of the iPhone edition of this game is the animation of the red aliens in the back as you successfully ring them, sending them off flying towards you in a non-linear path — it’s as close to 3D as you can get.

ts9Hamm ‘m Eggs

Firing the eggs here is done in a sliding action, only it’s reversed, as if you were using a slingshot — the longer the swipe, the higher and further the eggs go. Although they move across the board, the ducks are virtual sitting ducks as the physics of the game allow you to barely hit the top of the waves and have the egg roll over and hit the target anyway, which is definitely more of a visual treat than a strategy.

Have no doubts, that those who are already fans of Toy Story Mania! in the theme parks will find a lot of benefit in the iPhone edition, just the memories it induces is worth the £2.99. If you’re not familiar with Toy Story Mania, this game may not have as much value for you, unless you’re a Toy Story fan in general. And it provides you with quick gameplay that you can use as a timekiller anyway without getting you involved in something much bigger.

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