Thursday, March 15, 2018

Plug n Play Game Corner: Disney Princess Magical Adventures

Since I featured a brick set targeted at a specifically female audience last week, it only makes sense to feature a Plug n Play game meant for the same demographic this week. And while we're out of My Little Pony consoles, we can always count on Disney to come fulfill our overcommercialized needs! And fulfill they have, since they've thrown in their magically lucrative Princess line to give us the Disney Princess Magical Adventures Plug n Play Game!


Game: Disney Princess Magical Adventures
Distributor: Jakks Pacific
Release Date: 2008
Genre: Adventure/Puzzle

Of all the Disney properties, the Disney Princess line is probably the oldest and most prolific of what they've produced. After all, that's how they started making their revolutionary animated movies, with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs* being not only their first movie, but the first feature-length animated movie PERIOD! Walt Disney liked to say "It all started with a mouse", but in terms of movies, he could have also said "It all started with a Princess."

*Does anyone else feel it's wrong to spell the plural of "dwarf" with an "f"?  I've always preferred the J. R. R. Tolkien method of spelling it "dwarves". I mean, you don't spell it "elfs",  do you?

Since then, Disney's made dozens of animated movies, many of them considered some of the greatest films ever made(we'll forgive them for Home on the Range.) However, even though not even half of their library is based around them, when we think of animated Disney films, the first thing that comes to mind are the "Princess" movies. Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, Beauty & The Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, The Princess & The Frog, Tangled, Frozen, Moana, all have strong, beautiful, memorable female leads with the title of Princess, just the thing they need to appeal to their young women demographic. Young girls can appreciate the wonder and beauty of these protagonists, and everyone else can enjoy the beautiful animation and emotional storytelling. Plus Disney gets a few billion dollars in the deal, so it's win-win.

 Outside of film, these characters can be used in countless TV shows, original movies, theme park attractions, and countless merchandise tie-ins. Why? Because these characters stand out outside of their original creation. Each one is unique, both in appearance and personality. Every one of them can have their stories expanded, have adventures created for them both officially by the company that created them, and unofficially by a young girl simply making her Snow White doll dance to her Spotify playlist. They're timeless, they're engaging, they embody the magic and talent of Disney, and they're characters most girls want to be at some point in their lives. Disney may not be completely focused around them, but what they have created they've insured will stand the test of time and last forever!

...Or until the "Princess hate" gets out of control. I've noticed a lot of groups who say that Disney Princesses are terrible role models, to the point where you'd swear they think Princesses were created by the devil himself as a way to destroy the minds and souls of young girls... In their eyes, Princesses are empty-headed songbirds who exist solely to sing, smile, get into danger, and then get married to someone they don't know at the end. Their beauty and sexuality are their only assets, and they're not expected to do anything of worth simply because they're beautiful and a prince is going to come along and give them a new life. And in today's "gender equality" society, those traits can be seen as one giant step backward for women...

...Eh, in my opinion, that's debatable. I don't want to go into a heavy discussion about my ideas since I have a lot and they're irrelevant to today's featured item, but I will say this. I've noticed that the majority of Disney Princesses are very talented and patient. They can sing, they can dance, they can make friends with animals and people others wouldn't give the time of day, they're incredibly acrobatic, and they love learning and exploring. That alone makes them pretty good role models for young girls. Yes, most of them are "damsels in distress", but only because they're taken out of their element. Magic is cast on them, or they're exploring other areas that they're not familiar with. They're not presented as idiots who can't take two steps without needing saving, as other "damsels in distress" I've seen have been. They're not oblivious or submissive to their situations, and they'll take steps to improve their environments and overcome obstacles, whether it's Snow White cleaning the dwarfs' cottage to convince them to let her stay, Cinderella fighting against her wicked stepmother's attempts to keep her away from the glass slipper by getting the mice to grab the key and the dog to chase away the cat, or Belle trying to understand the Beast and improving his lifestyle, molding him into someone she'd want to be around. Sure, most aren't the traditional heroic archetype of being fearless, having control of every situation, and not following any belief that disagrees with their own, but that's not NEEDED to be a hero! A hero is someone who sees a situation through, overcomes the obstacles in their way whether by their own merit or with the help of others, and claims the reward at the end for their strength and patience(in this case, getting to become/live as royalty.) And if that's the description we're gong with, every Princess has earned the title of "Hero" in my book.

I'd even argue that Disney's recent attempts at trying to make their Princesses "stronger" and "politically correct" are resulting in WEAKER, UNLIKABLE characters with no emotion or will of their own, who only succeed because everyone else is more evil and/or stupid than they are! ...But that's an argument for another day.

I could go on and on, but I think I've gotten my point across and I've gotten too off track as is. In the end, what matters is that Disney has created a slew of likable, memorable characters who are attractive in both appearance and personality, and it's these characters who are going to stick around the longest. They're like Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Superman, and other iconic characters. While time and attitudes change, these characters can easily be molded to fit into any period while still retaining the traits that draw us to them in the first place. Snow White's been around for 80 years now, and there's nothing keeping her from being an icon for another 80 years. Disney Princesses are here to stay, and they're bringing their charm and magic to young girls today and for years to come. Which the marketing minds at Disney couldn't be happier about.

As a symbol of their popularity and staying power, besides countless other merchandise bearing the Disney Princess name, they've also received a good number of Plug n Play games during that niche's heyday. Some were simple puzzle games

 Some had karaoke options

And some have the Princesses themselves as the joysticks! ...Oh boy, do I need to track down and test these consoles out for myself...

 What we have today is the Disney Princess Magical Adventures console, featuring Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Cinderella, and Ariel. Again, it's just the first Disney Princess game I came across while looking through my box of consoles, so there's no particular reason why this is the first to be featured here. ...Still, it is a good example to start with, as I'll show you later.

The console I think is molded in the shape of a jewelry box, with a pink container and the yellow serving as the trim around the lid.

Either that, or it's a perfume bottle. Or maybe a dress made for the joystick? ...I'm a straight guy. I put as much thought into these things as whether I should eat that bag of cheese puffs next to my desk. ...As in, no thought at all.

Still, even if I can't tell what it is, it's a very nice-looking shape. I especially like the Fairy Godmother/Tinker Bell sparkles on the top, and the Disney Princess logo in raised lettering. It's cute. ...All I can say, really.

However, the best part is the artwork of the featured Disney Princesses on each corner, each contained in an oval portrait frame. They're clear, they're in an area where they won't easily scratch off, and they give you an idea of what you'll see on this console. ...It's reused stock artwork, but with Plug n Play games, they're not exactly given the highest of cosmetic budgets...

Plus, I'm pretty sure the Magic Mirror wants his realm back.

Oh, and it's important to note that this is a console I bought second-hand that still has its battery cover! ...Mostly because I literally have nothing else to say about the console build. ...Let's get into the game.

This is another Jakks Pacific game, who also produced the majority of the other Disney Princess consoles, so we're already off to a good start.

And they've teamed up with Buena Vista Games, the offshoot of Disney Interactive responsible for the Kingdom Hearts series. Another good sign!

The third name in the opening logos is the less prolific developer Handheld Games. ...And, as you can guess from such a vague name, getting any information about this company was difficult.

Luckily, thanks to a specific search on Wikipedia and Moby Games, I was able to find a listing for the company and a few of the games they helped develop. As their name suggests, this Washington-based company produced titles for handheld consoles, such as the Game Boy Color/Advance and Nintendo DS, as well as a few early mobile phone games.

And, most unfortunately, a port of Centipede for the Tiger ...Well, you gotta start somewhere, and sometimes that somewhere is the bottom of the cesspool...

As far as I can tell with the very little information I could find, they lasted from around 1999 to 2009, with their last game being Imagine: Music Fest. The only other thing I could find is that the director, Thomas Fessler, found work as an app developer for Costco, so a happy ending at least. Fitting for today's subject of happily ever after!

When the title screen and menu start up, we get a pretty sweet MIDI of... Something. It definitely sounds like something that belongs in the Disney Princess soundtrack, but I can't tell if it's an existing score or something created for the game. I went through a few songs created specifically for the Disney Princess line as a whole, and most of them sounded too "pop" to resemble this throwback to classical orchestral movies like Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty. Maybe it exists and I just can't place it, but it sounds great nonetheless.

A lot better than being greeted by an 8-bit "I'm a Little Teapot"...

As about 90% of all Plug n Play games are, this is another minigame collection:

Aurora's Magical Awakening
Snow White's Hide and Seek
Cinderella's Dress
Ursula's Garden
Ariel's Treasure Trove

...Yeah, Ariel from The Little Mermaid gets TWO games based around her. ...Why? Disney certainly has no shortage of Princesses to choose from. This was before Tiana, Rapunzel, Anna, Elsa, or Moana, sure, but that still leaves Belle, Jasmine, & Pocahontas. Or, if you want to stretch the Disney Princess line, there's Alice, Mulan, Kida, Esmeralda, Megara, Jane, or even Marie from The Aristocats. ...You're not short on cute female protagonists, is what I'm saying.

Or did you design the console first and just not want to add another portrait?

Alright. I'm done. What are the games like?

Aurora's Magical Awakening. Before each game, we get a short story to provide context behind each. Here, Prince Philip and the fairies have defeated Maleficent, so it's time to wake everyone up from their magic-induced comas. ...Because they figured that, if the Princess was unable to wake up. nobody else was allowed to live their lives either...

Still a better plot than the "remake", though.

Before the game starts, you get your choice of the three fairies: Flora, Fauna, or Merryweather. However, the difference is solely cosmetic. ...Which I wish was the sole difference for them in the remake...

In the game, you do just as the story advertised: Fly around, find sleeping people, and sprinkle some fairy dust over them to wake them up. ...And that's it. There's literally nothing standing in your way! Fly, find people, sprinkle, lather, rinse, repeat. It's a game impossible to lose! ...So it's more of an "activity" rather than a "game" then...

In fact, the programmers seemed to have known that there was nothing else to this game, so they included a few power-ups to speed things along. There's this multi-sprinkle, which widens the area the dust comes down, so your aim doesn't have to be so exact

And there's a speed boost to temporarily... boost speed. And I mean TEMPORARILY, since it only lasts about 4 seconds! Barely enough time to even DO anything with it!

There's also a single shot sprinkle, but I never noticed if it did anything.

Once you've woken 15 people, you move on to the next level.


...Which is the same thing over again. Not even the luxury of a different background or setting...

Speaking of which, the artistry in the game is REALLY good! For this game in particular, it legitimately feels like the style of the original, with flatly drawn "shaped" characters based on medieval tapestries and blurred watercolor-like backgrounds. Obviously, it's highly compressed for a Plug n Play game, but to show this level of detail in a game like this is STUNNING! And that's not the only compliment I'll give to the art, but we'll get to that later.

The people aren't the only objects that can get sprinkled. Every so often, you'll find a chest, chair, or suit of armor, and if you're bored by this point, you can sprinkle a little bit of fairy dust on each to make it dance. There's really no point to it besides points(which aren't carried over), but it's a nice distraction to see a suit of armor dance around for a few seconds like something out of Lonesome Ghosts. ...That was the Mickey cartoon with a possessed suit of armor, right?

The only other complaint I have with this game, besides not being able to lose, is the perspective. The courtyard is laid out in an isometric perspective, yet movement is still as if it was a flat surface. You'd think you'd crash into the floor or ceiling as you're flying, but you simply go through everything. Maybe it's just me, but my adult brain had a hard time comprehending regular movement in a 2.5D-esque setting. It's not a horrible distraction, but it made my brain hurt after a little while.

After completing the five stages(yes, FIVE stages of the exact same thing), you're treated to a "Congratulations" screen as the townsfolk cheer, joined by Princess Aurora and Prince Philip at the end. ...Well, at least your last-minute congratulations is animated. Which is more than a lot of other instances I can think of in games...

So, big shock, this game wasn't that much fun, nor was it even technically a game. ...But I'm not mad. I get it. This is for little kids who just want to see the goofy fairies fly around, sprinkling dust on everything and making them move. There's not SUPPOSED to be a game in this case, because they're just counting on kids having fun flying around the screen to the tune of the fairies breaking out the magic wants to prepare for Aurora/Rose's birthday(aka "Magical House Cleaning/Blue or Pink".) It's the same way I get with the jetpack in San Andreas. So this game has nothing for older kids, but for young kids who just want to idly fly around a screen, it's fine.

Though remember to keep your fairy dust away from this particular character. The magic cloak she promises isn't worth that creepy face...

Snow White's Hide and Seek. As the title suggests, Snow White is still living with the dwarfs(geez, it still feels so wrong to spell it that way), and one day, they decide to have a game of hide and seek. ...I could make so many jokes about a young woman playing that game with seven men, but I won't. You're already making them, I know...

 You control Snow White, walking left, right, and around the screen as she searches for each of the dwarfs. ...And, of course, she couldn't be bothered to change out of her dress for this, so she has to pick up the hem to walk through the woods. ...I know this was before women could wear pants, but did she really not have anything shorter for an outdoor activity? ...Or anything at all besides the dress she arrived in? ...Maybe it's a good thing that the queen/witch showed up when she did, before Snow White smelled worse than the dwarfs after a hard day of mining...

On a more positive and relevant note, look at that animation! Look at how fluid it is, and how accurately they drew her given such a small scale to work with! It's almost like top-tier Disney animators themselves worked on these characters! It's not prevalent across all the games(such as the last one, where characters were lucky to get three frames of animation), but when it happens, it's beautiful!

On top of that, they gave this game a lot of personality, far more than they needed to! It would have been easy to just have still shots of the dwarfs hiding behind certain objects, then simply disappearing offscreen once found. Instead, they incorporated each of the dwarfs' traits into how and where they hide! Dopey, being dopey, you'll find hiding in plain sight in the middle of the ground!

Bashful hides in the dark, too shy to be found(and inadvertently becoming the best hider of the game.)

And Sleepy's sleeping. Just to name three of the seven dwarfs' hiding styles!

I can't give my usual praise about how I'm impressed they paid attention to the source material, since it's likely everyone involved had seen Snow White at some point in their lives, but I CAN give HUGE credit to them for going this extra mile! There's no reason for them to put this much effort into drawing, animating, and planning each of the dwarf's hiding places, yet they did! So even though I'm not the target demographic for this game, and the gameplay's stupidly simplistic, they still give me something to appreciate! That's the combined magic of Jakks and Disney!

Anyway, once you find each dwarf, you then need to identify them using the options at the top.

Though there's no penalty for getting it wrong, as the game automatically selects the correct dwarf in that case. So, once again, this is much more of an activity than a game, as you can't actually lose.

 Eh, it's still fun to watch each dwarf's animation when they're found, so I won't fault them too heavily for it. Again, they get bonus multipliers just for bothering to include them!

After you find all seven dwarfs, you get a congratulatory message simply stating that that's indeed what you did.

Then you get to find them all over again! Only now, it's INDOORS!

And I can buy the vast spaciousness of the forest, but apparently Snow White and the dwarfs did nothing else together but create room extensions, because the inside of their cozy little cottage is MASSIVE! I don't think Doctor Who's TARDIS has this much space!

The interior is so big, they need THREE staircases! ...I'm pretty sure this violates about a half dozen building codes.

Find all the dwarfs a second time, and you're rewarded with a pretty badly drawn picture of Snow White and the dwarfs that looks straight from a coloring book. ...Also, Doc and Dopey are sharing a moment... What exactly IS the dwarfs' relationship to each other? Because this ranges from slightly uncomfortable to extremely icky depending on the answer...

Once again, this isn't really a game, since you can't lose, nor is there any consequence to doing something wrong. But, again, I get it. It's to teach kids recognition and association, as well as to name all the dwarfs from the movie. ...Not in the order they march, which would have been handy for anyone who's played the Dopey's Wild Mine Ride on the Snow White DVD, but for kids who haven't memorized the dwarfs yet, it works. It teaches something without being transparently educational, which is admirable for a game aimed at younger kids. I guess I can get mad at it for not using music from the movies(at least, none that I recognized), but overall, it's just not worth getting mad at. It does what it sets out to do, and gives you some nice animation at the same time.

But enjoy it while you can, because I'm pretty sure the EEOC would like to have a word with the mine that only hires men who are short of stature...

Cinderella's Dress. Hey look! A game that actually involves a scene from the movie! Cinderella wants to go to the ball, but she's too busy to work on her dress. Instead, the mice decide to help out, but they need to collect the proper supplies for each step, so they send out Jacques, Gus, Suzy, and Perla to find the materials. So basically the scene from the movie, if the mentioned EEOC was directing it.

At the start of each stage, the target material floats in the air.

You then take control of one of the mice and run around several rooms, trying to find it AND the target number of spools of thread displayed on the top. So it's basically one of those scavenger hunt or fetch quest-type games, like what we saw in Celebration Castle in My Little Pony Grand Puzzleventure, but it has just enough of its own merits to keep it interesting.

For starters, the game has one huge obstacle in the form of Lucifer the cat. He prowls around each room, sometimes unexpectedly walking onscreen, attempting to catch any mice in his way, so you need to sneak past him while you're collecting the necessary tools. Luckily, cheese is dropped everywhere, which gives you a temporary speed boost to more easily get past the devil cat. And it actually lasts long enough to be effective, thanks Aurora's Magical Awakening!

And yes, since Lucifer's an obstacle, this is a game where you can actually LOSE! ...Sort of.

If you let Lucifer catch you, Cinderella has to drop everything she's doing and grab him, letting the mouse escape.

You then take control of the next mouse in the roster and continue where you left off. So it's Jacques, Suzy, Perla, Gus, then repeat with Jacques. ...And yes, I did have to look up the female mice names, since I don't think they're ever named in the movie.

Luckily, if you've collected enough of the bottles lying around, you can drop a bowl of milk in front of Lucifer to distract him for a few seconds, leaving him completely harmless, even if you walk up to him! ...I don't know why he suddenly doesn't want to chase you, since he's clearly not invested in drinking that milk, but it works.

Or you can just throw him out the window again. That works too. AND has longer lasting results! ...Probably less PETA friendly, though...

You can also "die" by walking into one of these cages to get the cheese and waiting for the door to snap shut. Then Cinderella has to take a break from her million-and-one chores to save you AGAIN! ...See? Disney Princesses are great role models if they're patient enough to repeatedly save their animal friends over and over again to the point of nausea!

Since all that happens when you're trapped by either Lucifer or the cage is that you change mice and sometimes start in a different room, I guess this still can't be counted as "losing." However, I can give this game credit for actually having a consequence for running into an obstacle. Even if it's just an inconvenience, it's SOMETHING! Plus, we get to see additional animations and a cycling character roster, further showing just how much work went into this game!

Jakks Pacific: "We didn't have to, but we DID!" ...That could be taken both ways, come to think of it...

After finding the target material and all the needed spools of thread, you head toward the exit indicated by the arrow to put the material on the dress. ...Which instantly turns into what they were going to make for the dress, so this is apparently a version of the movie where the Fairy Godmother appeared as they were making the dress. ...How else do you explain how the dress is being made so quickly, especially since the mice who told Jacques to "leave the sewing to the women" are out there collecting stuff as well?

The next target piece appears, and you head out to collect that and a few more spools of yarn, the rooms and number of spools increasing with each level.

 Complete all 4 levels, and you're treated to another "Congratulations" screen of the dress in its entirety. Followed by a kick back to the menu. ...Yes, seriously. We don't even get to see Cinderella in the dress. Why? Because this isn't the dress Cinderella wears to the ball?

If you're worried about kids being upset that this is the dress that's massacred in the movie, why even make a game around it?

Of the games I've played so far, this is the most entertaining. It has a clear goal, it has variety, and it even has obstacles that will result in a consequence should you run into them. Plus it includes more beautiful animation and even a roster of characters, both of which don't need to be here, but they makes the game look nicer. Again, this is a game you can't lose, but again, this is a game for younger kids who just want to explore and make Cinderella's pretty dress. It's the most game-like of everything on this console, and it can teach kids how to play without punishing them for first-time mistakes.

Now as long as they don't remake this game with the live-action characters, the world will be just fine.

 Ursula's Garden. The first of the The Little Mermaid games. The story here takes place long before the events of the movie, where Ariel has just heard about Ursula and her dark magic from Flounder telling her that some of her underwater friends had been captured by her for reasons unclear. King Triton has conveniently fallen ill, so she just sneaks out with the trident to use it to free her friends from Ursula and her eels' clutches.

In a way, with this story, you could make a very slim argument that they actually are making games from 5 different sources, despite only 4 different princesses. If this game takes place before Ariel knowing about Ursula, that would place this in the TV show's time period, not the movie's. It doesn't quite excuse that they only included 4 princesses for 5 games, but it's a reason, nonetheless. ...Or am I giving them too much credit?

This game is a very simple carnival-esque shooting game. You move Ariel from left to right at the bottom of the screen, shooting projectiles at the cages above and avoiding the eels. ...I'd say this was the most simplistic game on here, but given the gameplay of each, I'm having a hard time deciding whom to award that trophy to...

The trident can fire three shots at once, but it only takes one hit to break open the cage. Just making sure you can hit the broad side of a blowfish, I guess...

If you're not careful(or if you just want to do it to see what happens), an eel can cross your path. However, the only consequence is not being able to fire your trident for a few seconds. Which would be catastrophic if there was a time limit! ...There's not. So the eels are pretty pointless in the long run, given you don't lose a thing.

You can even just stun the eels by shooting them three times, allowing the trident blasts to pass right through them!

...That's not what I remember the trident doing to them, is all I'm saying...

After freeing enough of the fish, Ariel and the eels swim off-screen, while the fish you freed swim onscreen, signaling you to push a button to start the next level.

Complete all 5 levels, and you once again get a terrible coloring book drawing of Ariel surrounded by fish. ...They're not even the fish featured in the game. It looks like redrawn promotional material colored in with crayons...

This is the weakest game on this console, especially after coming right after the Cinderella game. It's a space shooter with no actual obstacles nor anything to differentiate it from the mechanics of every other similar shooter out there. The animation and clarity has also taken a nosedive compared to everything else, with maybe three frames for each sprite that are barely in sequence, resulting in VERY choppy animation. The murkiness of the sprite colors and background doesn't help with keeping the tiny sprites visible... So, even with the low standards of gameplay this console has set, I'm not impressed.

Now if this was based on the episode where Ariel used the trident to bring dinosaurs back to life on the other hand...

 Ariel's Treasure Trove. The final stop on our tour of this console, and the game to actually be based on The Little Mermaid movie. ...I think. It involves Ariel swimming around, collecting treasures from the above world to store in her treasure trove. ...That's all the story says, and that's all you do. ...Keeping it precise, at least...

After a lengthy cutscene where Ariel and Flounder swim to their destination...

You control Ariel, swimming around, popping bubbles, and collecting shells and treasures. ...And that's the long and short of it. Find a treasure, swim up to it, and grab it. Simple, yet, in this case, effective.

What makes this game is the variety. There ARE different treasures, comprised of books, forks, candlesticks, etc. All common objects to us, but, for a mermaid surface-aboo, stuff to go crazy over.

It's like an American coming across a Japanese Gashapon section. What is any of this stuff? What's it's value? What can you do with it? All left completely unanswered, and that's why you JUST GOTTA HAVE IT!

Some areas are too small for Ariel to fit in, and that's when you push the button to deploy Q-Flounder, who swims through the space to grab that illusive treasure.

Though telling the difference between areas that you can swim through and areas that require Flounder is a little tricky in some locations, due to the tininess of the gap and the awkward controls. ...Actually, with how simplistic everything's been on this console, it's a nice change of pace that it's harder to move in this game. ...Yes, I'm so bored, I'm saying that a defect is a nice feature at this point...

What's also a nice feature is the return of obstacles that actually AFFECT something! The eels make a return(same sprites and everything), and if you bump into them, they cause you to drop an item(though do nothing if you don't have an item.) And you never get it back. EVER! ...So really, I should be heaping praise on this game for having a PERMANENT consequence! Almost like a real game!

Of course, you're still unable to lose, since, after collecting the final treasure in the level, you automatically progress to the next level, so you'll always exit with at least ONE item in your inventory. ...Still, good attempt to include risk in one of these games! ...Glad you risked it? ...This game's not giving me anything to work with...

After finding all the treasures, you complete the level, and get to see a mid-level intermission with Scuttle. ...And yes, he's the best part of the console! As in the movie, he names every object you give him, like he has any clue what he's doing. "Dinglehopper" makes a return, but the game version adds a whole slew of nonsense to the nonsense! "Banderdad(mug)", "Fidjimawhat(book)", "Wuggymug(boot)", "Whosiwatsis(candlestick)", etc. It's immature, sure, but it's a nice nod to the movie and again shows the attention to detail these gargledehoobs showed to their fidgimavistas. And only Scuttle can tell you what I meant by that! ...Or Dr. Seuss.

Then you briefly get to see the treasures collected in Ariel's grotto. ...Which don't carry over from level to level. ...I guess the novelty of each item wore off quickly in Ariel's early collecting days...

Oh, and after five levels, it kicks you back to the main menu. ...Yeah, no Congratulations or coloring book page for this one. Just "look at what you got! ...Ok, we're done here. Get out." Again, maybe it was trying to divert attention away from itself before kids were reminded of how the whole thing blew up? ...Well, if you're going to do that, you can forget about being "Part of My World"!

This is another enjoyable game on this console. The graphics and animation are better than the previous game, the gameplay has variety, and it actually has risks and rewards! The longer you can avoid the eel, the more treasures you can swim away with! ...Yes, this is a case where I have to credit a game for including the very basics of what makes a game... Also, Scuttle is EASILY the best part of the console! This is the only game with intermissions that don't simply tell you to go to the next level, and it's nice that they included more of Scuttle's fakery. They're not going to replace Snarfblat or Dinglehopper any time soon, but it's fun to grab the various treasures just to see what he calls them. It's the first game where I can say it'll entertain both kids AND adults! ...It's a shame it's the last...

Eh, I'll just wear my Klimperswit. That'll make me feel better!

And that was the Disney Princess Magical Adventures console! ...It wasn't as entertaining as I thought, with how simple the games were and the inability to not win, but it was still a marvel to look at. I'm always impressed when they go that extra mile to include gorgeous animation and colors for a game very few people are going to bother playing, since it gives me all the more reason to be the first to feature it and point it out! There's definitely a bit of Disney magic and talent behind this budget game! It wasn't much, but it was more than I was expecting from a console like this. I think this system might just live Happily Ever After!

 ...Until schools ruin the Disney Princess image forever with their constant campaigns...


Design: I'm not entirely sure what the console is based on. It's pink, it's box-like, it has trim around the top half, and it has portraits of the Princesses on each corner. A jewelry box? A music box? A pillow with trim? I'm not entirely sure what I'm looking at. Still, it looks nice and fits the Disney Princess aesthetic, seeming like something one or even all of the Princesses would own. I do like that they put the Disney Princess title on the top in raised lettering, just to insure it never wears off and you know what you're getting. The Princess portraits on each corner are a nice touch as well, and they put the stickers UNDER the plastic, so little kids can't pick at one of the edges to peel it off. They built this console to last! ...Which, since their target audience are three-year-olds, works perfectly. So even if I don't know what the console is supposed to be, I can say that it fits with the subject and it's sturdier than most other consoles I've come across.

Controls: It's a stick and a single button, going back to the Atari Joystick-style we see with a lot of these consoles. The controls are just digital, with an 8-way joystick, but for games as simple as what they included, I don't think more advanced controls would have been necessary. They work, nothing else to really point out.

Music & Sound: The music is comprised mostly of 16-bit "princessy" tunes, tracks that you'd associate with Disney Princess, but that don't hold much substance. They sound nice, but they also sound stock. Tunes simply there to set a mood, then are instantly forgotten when you turn off the game. The most impressive tracks are the title music and the inclusion of the fairies' theme from Sleeping Beauty. In fact, with how well they rendered the music for Sleeping Beauty, that makes me wonder why they didn't use more iconic music from the other movies? Was there a rights issue, and they got away with it for Sleeping Beauty since the music it's based on is public domain? Why is this a thing, where they're allowed to use the titles, characters, and other assets, but the music is nonnegotiable? Still, the music they use is fine. I don't remember anything that sounded particularly screechy or out of tune. ...But then again, I don't remember much about it, period. The sound in the game is an odd "limbo" of description. Most of the effects don't sound stock, but they don't sound like the real thing, either. This might be a rare example of the company creating their own sounds as opposed to recycling a large portion from other companies. ...At least it actually SOUNDS that way in this case. Unfortunately, this game lacks the digitized voice samples we've seen in a good number of Plug n Play games, with the only obvious samples being Sneezy's sneezes and Lucifer's hissing(though this might just be a synthesized sound.) The rest sounds "magical", with *dings*, *swooshes*, and other effects you associate with princesses and magic that I don't know the onomatopoeia for. On the whole, they do their job, but you're not going to remember them afterwards.

Graphics: As with a lot of other Jakks Pacific games, the graphics are really impressive! ...Though it's a little inconsistent with each game. The Snow White, Cinderella, and final The Little Mermaid games all look the best, with bright colors, detailed backgrounds and layers, beautifully drawn sprites, and a good number of frames in each animation. I don't know how much they were actually involved with, but it must have helped that they had Disney's game department assistance with these games, if just for support if nothing else. The Sleeping Beauty game isn't terrible, but the animations are jerky and the sprites and backgrounds are much more blurry than the other games, so it doesn't look as good as the rest. The first The Little Mermaid game is the worst-looking, though I'm saying that based on a Jakks Pacific and Disney scale. There's still a wide array of colors, you can tell what you're looking at, and they have animated movement, but the frames are much lower for these animations, the sprites are small and blurry, and there's much less to see, with a lot of assets repeated. Also, I'm not impressed with the coloring book-style pages for Snow White and the first The Little Mermaid's finales. Maybe it's the hot pink background or how pixelly and warped everything looks, but these images legitimately look like a cheap copy for a cheap coloring book adaptation. The art I'm most impressed with are the portraits of the princesses on the main menu. They're most likely copied from other artwork, but they look nice and clear, without going into compressed scan territory. Also, the scene where Ariel is handing items to Scuttle looks nicely drawn. So while the art isn't as nice as other games I've seen, much of it is definitely top tier, and the stuff that didn't quite work isn't around for long enough to be a problem.

Gameplay: ...I'm legitimately torn on how to classify this gameplay. On the one hand, each game is different, varied, and has something to do with the movies they're based on. Each scenario for why these things are happening is believable, they control well, and they have a beginning and ending, which are things I can't say for some other consoles I've played. But on the other hand, I'm not entirely sure I can classify these as "games." The major problem being that you can't lose! Games like Aurora's Magical Awakening and Snow White's Hide and Seek don't even have obstacles, while the enemies in the other three games have little to no impact on the player. Cinderella's Dress actually has a result from getting caught by Lucifer or a cage, but the player just restarts either in the same area or close to it, with their inventory intact. Ursula's Garden has eels that briefly stun the player, but since there's no time limit, nothing is lost. The game that comes closest to having a noticeable consequence is Ariel's Treasure Trove, where items CAN be permanently lost if Ariel's hit by an enemy, but the game is still unavoidably winnable since only one treasure needs to be found, and Ariel swims away with the last treasure collected. In other words, I think these "games" are more "activities", which resemble games, but with no clear Game Over. They're designed to let very young children play a game, but not subject them to the punishment games meant for older players incorporate. And for that target audience, these work out just fine. I did enjoy running though the house, dodging Lucifer in Cinderella's Dress, seeing the various hiding places and animations in Snow White's Hide and Seek, and laughing at the names Scuttle gave the treasures in Ariel's Treasure Trove. So while the gameplay is mindless and without much of a goal or risk, they put enough effort into most of them to make them entertaining. Which, for a game, is all I ask.

Replay Value: The entire console can be completed in under 30 minutes, with no variation in the layout or items to collect. It's the same game each time with each selection. Little kids may want to revisit these games just to enjoy the colors and exploration aspects, but there's absolutely nothing for older gamers to come back to. ...Then again, there's nothing for older gamers to play in the first place.


If this console was meant for older players, I'd give it a much lower score, but since it's meant for really young kids, I'll give it a pass for most of its shortcomings. While the gameplay is incredibly simplistic, with vital mechanics for a "game" missing, the graphics are nice, the music sounds the part, and the animation is much more professional than it should be. It's what I'd like to call a "training game", where young kids can practice standard gameplay without getting frustrated or over-challenged. If you have kids three and younger, give it a shot. Otherwise, just leave it for someone else looking for a game for their toddlers and find your Disney enchantment elsewhere. Like Kingdom Hearts!