Fantasia: Music Evolved is the music game for rhythmless white guys (and everyone else)


he Internet is inundated with stereotypes on a daily basis. Just ask anyone on Twitter, who will incessantly rant about how those sweeping statements they disagree with are a blight on society; only to attempt to validate their reasoning by making another gross generalisation they either don’t realise is on the same ledger in the political correctness handbook, or decide to outlandishly say anyway as a keyboard warrior, diminishing any semblance of validity they might of had to begin with.

Now, as far as I can tell, it’s still marginally acceptable to make a brash generalisation about your own people. Wait…I mean your own kind. NO! I mean, umm, other humans that look kind of like you, but with worse hair, as long as you also have the same fault. I think that’s an acceptable statement (probably not).

With that in mind, if there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that white blokes who love games suck at dancing. Especially slightly socially absent-minded, often half drunk, 20-something white dudes (although the lady-dudes of a similar description aren’t much better, but they don’t know it) of which I am one.

If you also count yourself in such a self-depreciating category, then good news!

Disney’s Fantasia: Music Evolved is a rhythm game, featuring a varied selection of tracks from that-classical-song-everyone-knows-but-can’t-remember-the-name-of, to Queen and Lorde. From developer Harmonix, who gave us Rock Band and Dance Central, Fantasia: Music Evolved isn’t actually a dancing or even performance game — it’s a music rhythm game.

With the lure of a Disney classic and memorable music, Fantasia: Music Evolved could be one of those rare games that brings generations together. It doesn’t even matter if grandma has two left feet.
That means you don’t need to coordinate your hands and feet to mirror a silhouette on the screen — where Just Dance tends to go horribly wrong, especially after a couple of frothies.

Fantasia has players following spiraling lines, arrows and spheres with their hands as they appear on-screen in time to the music. Either alone, or with someone side-by-side in multiplayer, Music Evolved has you playing conductor, rather than dancer dressed for Oz Style Aerobics.

Kinect for Xbox One does a fantastic job tracking your movements, and the interface is intuitive enough for the kids and non-gaming mums and dads it has been designed for. It’s simply a matter of matching the shapes on screen with your right or left hand, whatever feels natural, and stockpiling the magical points which are used to unlock items.

As a contemporary conductor, you’ll not only keep time to popular tracks, you’ll also arrange them like an impromptu DJ. Every so often Music Evolved slows down to allow you to remix the upcoming section. Cee Lo Green’s “Forget You” begins in its native pop format, and then can be evolved into an orchestrated classical rendition mid-song, before launching into a rockified finale. There are only three options in terms of mixing each track, but with several opportunities throughout each song, there’s plenty of scope to ensure each playthrough of the 30-odd tracklist feels unique.

While I talk partly in jest (but you know it’s true) about Fantasia: Music Evolved being the non-dance musical game my own demographic can actually play with unbridled enthusiasm, Harmonix has nailed the multiplayer mode that should have parents and kids playing together.

It’s clear which person should be hitting which notes, depicted by orange or blue colour coding, and they’re often teamed together to generate a sense of mutual accomplishment. The scoring system generates giant numbers — and as far as I can tell there’s no losing, just beating your previous best — which adds a competitive element, but at the conclusion of a track, when both players have surpass 1 million points, it feels like both have succeeded.

The strong tracking by Kinect, and the narrowed focus requiring only hand movements (you could even get by with just one hand on the easier tracks) removes a barrier to entry restricting other rhythm-based games, and could even put Fantasia: Music Evolved up there with Wii Sports as a game so easy to pick up grandparents, little kids and everyone in-between will be able to come together and start playing, without prior experience, and bond over familiar tunes. With the lure of a Disney classic and memorable music, Fantasia: Music Evolved could be one of those rare games that brings generations together. It doesn’t even matter if grandma has two left feet.

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