With just one look at the colourful packaging adorned with PIXAR Toy Story characters I wanted to give this game a glowing review. Who can resist Buzz, Woody and their buddies after all? I still felt that way when I loaded the disc and saw the beautifully rendered scenes that looked like they’d come straight from one of the films. Unfortunately it was all a bit disappointing from there.
This isn’t actually a movie spin-off title as such. Although part of the Toy Story franchise, the game is a living-room recreation of the popular 3D Disney theme-park attraction of the same name, which I’m told is a combination shooting gallery and cart ride.
Toy Story Mania is essentially a shooting game, housed within a collection of carnival-style mini-games for up to four players. Hosted by the Toy Story cast, the classic gallery games are old favourites like ring toss, pie throwing and balloon popping. This is well and good until you realise that the games are nearly all just simple variations of each other with the same gameplay. Not to mention that little expertise is actually required. In fact, you can simply point the Wii remote at the screen and hold down the A button to win pretty much every time. It’s still kind of fun, admittedly, but knowing this takes the challenge out of it.
Some games are in 3D, which is your prompt to whip out the packaged pair of 3D glasses. Sadly it doesn’t work very well, though, and I preferred playing sans specs.
Toy Story Mania features a Story Mode (which isn’t really a story, but rather a doorway to the carnival games) and a self- explanatory Free Play Mode. Speaking of which, as you complete games you earn ‘tickets’ to purchase unlocked games, and/or stickers for use with the virtual sticker album.
Despite its flaws, if you have young children devoted to Toy Story (let’s face it, there’s a lot of ‘em), they’ll still find a lot of enjoyment in this game and probably won’t be as judgemental as we are.