When Harmonix and Disney announced that they were working on a game based on Fantasia, I was excited. I’m a big fan of the Fantasia movies and I really enjoy the work that Harmonix does. Then, Fantasia: Music Evolved kind of fell off my radar until it came out. Since it’s the season of sales, I bought a copy on Monday and it was delivered on Wednesday. Fast-forward to just after dessert post-Thanksgiving Feast. I’ve had a few glasses of wine and a cocktail. I’m feeling pretty good and just hanging out with the younger set of the folks over for the holiday. So, I suggest that we pull out the game and see what it’s like. I’m just going to say that it was one of my best ideas ever. So, let me tell you about this game.
“You’ve got to embrace the flail.”
Fantasia: Music Evolved, like most of Harmonix’s game library, is a rhythm game. It takes the idea of Mickey conducting everything from “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” and lets you make music using hand gestures. You swish, you hold, you punch at the screen. . .there’s a lot of interesting movements you have to make in order to rack up points and create the best song possible. Of course, the music is mostly pop music with some fantastic classical pieces thrown in to tie it back to the original goal of Fantasia of bringing classical music to the masses.
Anyway, there I am working through the opening tutorial of the game. As I established in my first paragraph, I’d had a few glasses of wine. I wasn’t drunk, but I was totally just a bit tipsy. Possibly more than a bit. To some extent, inebriation is a blessing and a curse for this game. The drunken flailing helped me make some swishes that would have otherwise taken a lot of concentration. When I stepped aside to allow other folks a turn, I counseled them to “embrace the flail.” With Fantasia: Music Evolved, you really have to commit to what you are doing. You can’t be tentative about your gesticulations. You have to whole-heartedly throw yourself into it.
This is definitely a game I’d recommend doing with a crowd to help cheer you on. Having the added energy in the room definitely helps. Now, we were just going through “Story Mode” last night and I have to say that I was having a blast despite only kind of paying attention to the plot. There’s something about Yensid, the wizard, going missing or whatever. I’m sure it’s far more interesting when one is sober. I’ll let you guys know about that later. Now, what I will say is that I was endlessly entertained by the snark flowing from Percy, your guide through the game. It was fun to groan at his puns and to insult him for being kind of a jerk. He is kind of a jerk, after all, but in a way that amused the crap out of me.
“You’re definitely a Fire Bender.”
My sister-in-law was taking her turn and kicking butt. Afterward, her sister turns to her and asks if she’d ever taken Tai Chi. It showed in the way she moved to make each swish and flick. I don’t recall who said it first, but we then remarked about how my sister-in-law was therefore a Water Bender from “Avatar: The Last Airbender” or “The Legend of Korra.” Once we established that, we studied the way each of us moved.
My brother, we decreed, was a Fire Bender and my sister-in-law’s sister was definitely more of an Earth Bender. Me? I called myself a “Booze Bender” which meant that I was, apparently, a “Bender” Bender (that’s a “Futurama” reference there). Everyone has their own sort of style and flair that they bring to the game. That was just so fascinating to observe as the evening wore on. I’m looking forward to seeing how my other friends play the game.
Now, I’ve always been a huge fan of Harmonix’s games. I have fond memories of Rock Band parties and playing Dance Central with my friends. While those games have always been a great time, I never connected with them in the same way that I found myself connecting with Fantasia: Music Evolved. I felt more a part of the music and the experience. It was just more visceral and really resonated with me. If my arms weren’t so sore from all of my flailing last night, I’d be playing it again today. Soon, I hope to be showing this game to my friends and seeing how Party Mode and Multiplayer work out. I can’t recommend this game enough.