Fantasia Music Evolved: A Magical Adventure Through Song
To many, Fantasia is about Mickey Mouse attempting to be a sorcerer and failing, all the while trying to conduct a cavalcade of classical music. Fantasia Music Evolved sticks to that lore, but you are now the apprentice, not Mickey, and your music library is updated too.
Master Zed, the wizard in both the film the game is your tutor for most of the story-driven aspect. Magical realms under the water, in forests, and even cityscapes are under attack by what's known as "The Noise."
This Noise corrupts music in each realm, and it's up to you to stop it. How you ask? By conducting remixes of songs of course. After a few introductory lessons on how to sweep your arms, punch the air, and hold cue's, you've learned the basics of nailing the on-screen prompts, much like Rock Band or Guitar Hero, minus the peripheral.
Once you learn the basics you are then allowed to add your own rhythms, beats, and sound bites during songs. These little bits are unlocked through hitting several consecutive cues throughout. The sounds you create are then mixed into the song at the appropriate times.
If you hit enough cues and earn enough points during the song, you unlock remixes to each track permanently. For instance, you can use a synth drum machine or a regular drum kit in "Let It Go" by Demi Lovato, instead of the orchestral bass drum used in the original score.
Create your own sound
Each song has its own unique remixes - 3 total - that you're able to mix and match throughout various points in any given song. As you progress through the story, you're given a chance to create your own freestyle beats and rhythms in each realm.
These freestyle sessions, once found and completed, fill that realm with the combined sounds you've created. For instance, the underwater realm lets you bang on shells like drums for one area, and in another you might play glowing jellyfish who give off a stringed instrument sound. Both play simultaneously to give you a custom soundtrack to each realm you're in.
So much to see and hear
Every realm is beautifully designed and unique from the other. As you play each song, the background is a journey through that realm. In space you may be flying around planets or exploring spaceships.
You can explore any realm at any time and even with a friend. When experiencing Fantasia Music Evolved with a friend, each person has color coded cues and both are allowed to alter the additional rhythms and beats together.
Can't do it without you
This sometimes ends up being a mess, as it almost feels unnatural to swap control of what's on screen during those co-op sessions. Regardless of being awkward at times, my co-op partner still enjoyed the experience and wouldn't let me play by myself anymore.
Even at times when both partners missed a lot of cues, you never fail a song. After you miss a cue, you lose your score multiplier and the music fades away a bit. This is so newcomers to rhythm games don't feel overwhelmed at the idea of failing a song.
That magical feeling
The game has 33 songs that range between pop, rock, country, classical, and a few more genres. Regardless of my taste in music, these remixes breathe new life into songs or artist I don't like. I found myself singing Lady Gaga or even Kimbra throughout the day, and usually to the new remix I created in the game.
At any given time you can take your skills to the song library and attempt to reach goals such as hitting 150 cues consecutively or playing specific remixes throughout the song.
Fantasia Music Evolved is a continuation of the original movie and does a fantastic job of creating a unique experience for the player. Each song can be played multiple times and sound completely different from the other. Though I imagine conducting actual music is nothing like this game, it sure does feel like a magical experience unlike anything out there.