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Music in the Palms of Your Hands – Fantasia: Music Evolved Review

I was once obsessed with Rock Band. I’m sure I’m not the only one, in fact, I know I’m not. Because I can name two or three friends who allowed the game to take hold of them as well. There was something so incredible, even as someone who has played music on actual instruments since fifth grade, about being about to play these amazing songs in such an intuitive and fun way, with very little practice on the front end. So when I heard that Rock Band developer Harmonix was working on a new music title what centered around the classic Disney animated film Fantasia, I was intrigued to say the very least. Here we are a couple of years and a few convention showings later, and Fantasia: Music Evolved is finally upon us. Does it capture some of the same qualities we loved about all those plastic instruments that now reside in the backs of our closets? Or is the magic just not with the gaming industry’s number one music game developer this time around?

One of the many worlds you'll visit during your time with Fantasia.

One of the many worlds you’ll visit during your time with Fantasia.

I have begin with the game’s mechanics. The way you control Fantasia is incredibly unique, and very original. So much so, that it is somewhat difficult to break down into words. It often feels like you’re conducting, particularly anytime you’re playing though one of the game’s may classical tracks, but you’re not conducting for the purposes of keeping the music in time. The swipes, pushes, and other various hand movements are focused on different instrumentations within each song, so that, for a minute or so you may be matching your movements to the song’s drum track, and the next minute be attempting to swipe to the song’s vocals.

You can also play with a friend!

You can also play with a friend!

This change is done at critical points in the song, where you will change both the focus of your movements, and the mix of the track you’re playing. Each track has the original version of the song, plus two alternate mixes, that includes everything from a classical arrangement of Bohemian Rhapsody to a Pentatonix cover of Take Care. The final piece of the game’s mechanics are composition spells, which unlock by completing chains of movements at particular points in the song, and are used to make somewhat original loops that are then inserted into the background of the song at various points.

All of this is conveyed to you in very simple and intuitive ways, making it easy to feel very comfortable with gameplay that’s never been done in a game before. That’s quite a feat. Some of the later stages become very involved and the feeling of building up a long streak without missing a cue is really satisfying. One of the downsides though, is that the game is a little more abstract than pervious games in the music genre. I found that moving my hands around in time with a song’s cues just doesn’t feel quite as natural as sitting behind a drum kit in Rock Band or attempting to bust a few moves in Dance Central. On thing that remained constant though, was the game’s replayablity. There are plenty of unlockables, from new mixes to little abstract musical creations within the games well varied worlds, and I constantly had to make myself quit when life’s responsibilities called, for fear of never being able to quit saying to myself, “Just one more song…”.

Musical turkey legs... need I say more!?!?

Musical turkey legs… need I say more!?!?

Overall, Fantasia: Music Evolved does what Harmonix best — make games that bring you closer to great music. There are exciting worlds to visit, and a ton of new musical discoveries waiting with each one you visit. You’ll discover how each song’s alternative mixes change things in various ways, you’ll play around with those mixes to create your own unique versions of the game’s many tracks, and despite a pretty surface level story, you’ll be given the impression that your movements really are affecting those songs. It all adds up to a game that any music fan should have in their collection, and one what gives you control over music in a way no game has ever done before. Dare I say, its magical.

Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved – Xbox One


Manufacturer: Disney Interactive
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+
Platform: Xbox One
Genre: Music and Rhythm

New From: $8.40 USD In Stock

was once obsessed with Rock Band. I'm sure I'm not the only one, in fact, I know I'm not. Because I can name two or three friends who allowed the game to take hold of them as well. There was something so incredible, even as someone who has played music on actual instruments since fifth grade, about being about to play these amazing songs in such an intuitive and fun way, with very little practice on the front end. So when I heard that Rock Band developer Harmonix was working on a new music title what centered around the classic…

Review Overview

Fantasia: Music Evolved - 9

9

Exceptional

Summary : Fantasia: Music Evolved is an incredibly unique and special, with a solid track list and incredibly interesting alternate mixes to those tracks. This game is one that no music loved should be without.

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9

About Trey Elliott

Trey Elliott
Trey is a video game enthusiast, movie junkie, and cultivator of one fantastic beard. He loves to write original Gregorian chants, play the spoon harp, and speak of whatever comes to mind on the Free For All podcast.