This is How Cool You Will Look Playing Fantasia
Watch and learn
This is how cool you will look playing Fantasia: Music Evolved, the Kinect-based music rhythm game from the makers of Dance Central and Rock Band. Watch the Outside Xbox dance crew bust several grooves to Avicii's Levels, Kimbra's Settle Down and Fun's Some Nights.
On its way to the Xbox One and Xbox 360, Fantasia: Music Evolved is a dance game in which you shape the music as you play. It's from Harmonix, the same studio that gaves us Dance Central. Harmonix presents its game as a kind of spiritual evolution of the 1940 Disney movie rather than a very belated tie-in game. So it's big on spectacle and whimsy, short on Mickey Mouse in sorcerer robes.
Dance dance evolution
In Fantasia: Music Evolved, you're the stand-in for Mickey the conjuror-turned-conductor. With Kinect, you poke and prod Disney-style landscapes to conjure sounds from the scenery; in one underwater vista, you smack a jazzy shellfish percussion section to create drumbeat loops. It's from these musical landscapes you jump into the danceable songs.
The dancing, such as it is, is straightforward: wave one arm or the other as directed by the luminous markers on screen. If you nail the timing and general direction, you score points. In its simplicity it feels more relaxed than traditional dance games and there's plenty of room for improvisation around swiping the on-screen markers in your own style.
The Xbox One's upgraded Kinect wasn't at the top of its game when we played Fantasia: Music Evolved, with tracking slighty laggy - but that's something we hope and expect to be tuned up as launch approaches.
As with Dance Central, Fantasia's musical selection goes big on pop and dance. The track listing so far features Avicii, Fun, Kimbra, Bruno Mars and Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. Each song comes with bespoke remixes to switch between as you dance, such as a nifty orchestral reworking of Bohemian Rhapsody. Look in the video above for us swiping gracefully to select between three remixes. So graceful.
The remixes are also layered with looped samples you capture and warp in mid-song minigames, of which you'll spy a couple in the video above.
At first blush, a dance game based on an old timey Disney flick doesn't scream mass appeal, but Fantasia: Music Evolved has the edge over Dance Central on a number of counts. You create a unique remix each time you play and the choreography isn't as prescriptive (or as hard) as Dance Central's, with more room for both creativity and malcoordination. As someone with bags of both, that's something I appreciate.
See the Fantasia: Music Evolved trailer for people looking much cooler and covered in glittery special effects while playing. Fantasia: Music Evolved comes out on Xbox One and Xbox 360 in 2014.