Junction Point’s ‘Epic Mickey’ Makes for Epic Cover Story

Game Informer November 2009 Issue featuring Epic MickeyGame Informer has announced that its November 2009 issue which is currently being mailed to subscribers features a story on the all-but-confirmed Epic Mickey title from Junction Point studios, a Nintendo-Wii exclusive steampunk drawing-based gaming adventure in which lesser known Disney  characters are rumored to be seeking vengeance from Mickey himself in what can only be described as post-apocalyptic Walt Disney World (although the attractions in the artwork featured on the issue’s [back] cover appear to be more home at Disneyland).

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Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days for the Nintendo DS Released with All-New Multi-Player Mode

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 29 — Square Enix, Inc., the publisher of Square Enix® interactive entertainment products in North America, and Disney Interactive Studios announced today that KINGDOM HEARTS 358/2 Days is now available at retail stores across North America.

Uncover the mysteries surrounding the story of Roxas, the “other hero,” with the latest entry in a series that has shipped over 12 million copies worldwide. The first KINGDOM HEARTS title developed for Nintendo DS(TM), KINGDOM HEARTS 358/2 Days is also the first in the series to feature multiplayer capabilities. Fans can now explore the enchanted Disney worlds alongside friends, choosing to play as any member of Organization XIII, each with their own unique personality and abilities.

Portable and interactive, KINGDOM HEARTS 358/2 Days offers a brand-new KINGDOM HEARTS experience that retains the same enduring charm, storytelling depth and action-packed battle system embraced by gamers across the globe. Experience KINGDOM HEARTS like never before as the action-RPG series is re-imagined for an exciting new adventure!

THE STORY
In KINGDOM HEARTS, Sora turned the Keyblade on himself in order to release Kairi’s heart, but his own heart was also released in the process. This brought about the creation of Roxas, Sora’s Nobody. Unlike most Nobodies, however, Roxas has no memories of his past. He joins Organization XIII and slowly begins to discover the truth behind his existence and the Organization itself. He meets and befriends the fourteenth member of the Organization, who also has no recollection of her past. What will Roxas see during his time in the Organization? What is the connection between him, Sora and the fourteenth member? And what becomes of them? Dive into the heart of the KINGDOM HEARTS storyline’s biggest secrets.

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iPhone App Review: Disney Fireworks

Disney Fireworks for iPhoneTitle: Disney Fireworks (link)
Publisher: Walt Disney
Released: September 11, 2009
Cost: $1.99
iTouch?: Yes
Pros: Based off popular game genre, familiar images/music
Cons: Cost
Review: This is Disney’s iPhone version of the arcade/video game smash hit Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) with a couple of twists. Choosing from one of four environments, each with its own instrumental music: Peter Pan’s Neverland with ‘Second Star to the Right;’  Mulan’s Emperor’s Castle with ‘Reflection;’ Lilo and Stitch’s Hawaii with ‘He Mele No Lilo;’ and Mickey in the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, the premise is to press the appropriate color as the fireworks shell crosses the line at the top. Press the shell on target and it explodes into one of varying colors of fireworks, even the occasional Hidden Mickey firework. The  line is often not straight across either so it provides a larger challenge when you have competing shells being fired upwards. Complete a level and you can save it as a video to watch later (why, I haven’t quite figured out yet).

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iPhone App Review: Toy Story Photo Hunt

Toy Story Photo Hunt for the iPhoneTitle: Toy Story Photo Hunt (link)
Publisher: Walt Disney
Released: September 15, 2009
Cost: Free
iTouch?: Yes
Pros: Free, addictive, simple play
Cons: Addictive
Review: The type of video game commonly found in bars, Toy Story Photo Hunt brings all the fun home to the kids and is surprisingly just as challenging when sober. Billed primarily as a promotional free app for the Toy Story/Toy Story 2 re-release, this app also includes a countdown to October 2 (when the films are re-released in theaters in 3D) and the TS/TS2 trailer along with some promotional information for the Toy Story Mania! game for the Wii.

Toy Story Photo Hunt for the iPhoneThe concept itself is quite simple: identify all of the differences between two of the otherwise-same image from one of the Toy Story films. In Normal mode, you have to find the differences before the clock runs out. You start out with having to locate 2 differences and, as you progress, so does the number of differences you need to find, up to nine per image. A wrong answer penalizes you on time, but you start with and earn additional bonuses that will instantly offer you more time or even find the differences for you. In Free mode, there is no clock ticking so you can guess for the differences as much as you’d like without the fear of running out of time. In Challenge mode, you need to find only one difference between each set of photos, but the clock burns much faster, so you only have time for one bad guess (assuming you guess quickly enough). Normal mode lets you run out of time without solving all of the differences 3 times, but Challenge is far less forgiving and one mess-up ends it all. Both the Normal and Challenge modes even have a public scoreboard available so you can submit your level and see how you rank up against others.

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New Toy Story Mania! for Nintendo Wii Gets Blasted in Europe

Toy Story Mania! Blaster Accessory by ThrustmasterBeing one of those who are easily confused by video games whose controls consist of more than a single button, I was pretty relieved when I had the chance to play Toy Story Mania! last week. Now for those in the Europe market, gameplay has gotten a lot more fun, if not simpler. The new Ray Gun Toy Story Mania! accessory by Thrustmaster is inspired in part by both the attraction and Space Command weaponry.

The accessory is essentially a glorified case for the Wii remote. With no batteries required to use it, it’s just a matter of plugging the Wii remote directly into it.

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Photo: John Lasseter Plays Game with The Princess and the Frog

John Lasseter plays a game of The Princess and the Frog for the Nintendo Wii from Disney Interactive StudiosJust a few days ago, Walt Disney Animation Studios Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter found some time to squeeze in a game of The Princess and the Frog for the Nintendo Wii while at Odeon Leicester Square in London. Due out in November, the game will also be available on the Nintendo DS. See here for more details on the upcoming release.

Thanks to Disney Interactive Studios for the photo.

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Disney Interactive Studios Acquires Wideload Games, Inc; Halo Creator Seropian

Wideload Games CEO Alexander SeropianBURBANK, Calif. — Disney Interactive Studios announced today it has agreed to acquire Wideload Games Inc., a Chicago-based producer and developer of original interactive entertainment. As part of the agreement, industry veteran and creative visionary Alexander Seropian, Wideload Games founder and CEO, will join Disney Interactive Studios in the newly created role of vice president of creative, leading the company’s global creative efforts. Seropian, who is relocating to Glendale, Calif., is renowned as the founder of Bungie Software and was among the creators of the highly successful Halo® series – one of the most successful video game franchises of all time. Seropian will report directly to Global Product Development Senior Vice President Jean-Marcel Nicolai, and be tasked with overseeing creative development across Disney Interactive Studios’ portfolio of video games.

“Wideload Games is among the premier small creative game development studios in the world. Wideload Games will be a great fit for our portfolio of internal studios, and Alex joining the global product development team provides the entire Disney game portfolio with a strong creative influence,” said Graham Hopper, executive vice president and general manager, Disney Interactive Studios. “Alex has built his reputation around the power of original thinking. In leading the studio that created Halo, he helped turn great storytelling, exceptional design and polished gameplay into the ‘killer app’ for Xbox. Alex’s leadership of our creative community will enhance our ability to be a magnet for the best talent in the industry and enable the company to take an even more significant role in developing industry leading products.”

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iPhone App Review: Radio Disney (Streaming App)

Radio Disney iPhone AppTitle: Radio Disney (link)
Publisher: Walt Disney
Released: August 28, 2009
Cost: Free
iTouch?: Yes (WiFi)
Pros: It’s free, makes Radio Disney portable
Cons: Additional features on RD website with clunky interface
Review: There’s not an awful lot to this app, with one click on the iPhone/iPod Touch, it launches and connects to the Radio Disney website where it begins streaming, providing you with song/artist information along with an artist photo (when available). Another screen allows you to view the last 10 songs played on Radio Disney without disrupting song play. Additional features (such as making a song request, sending a shoutout, answering a poll, etc) require using the device’s Safari app to reach the Radio Disney website which exits the application and shuts off the music. The website itself has a really nice opening screen but quickly becomes difficult to navigate and to discern where the links to continue are and — to be blunt — these additional functions are so simple, they could easily be integrated directly into the app.

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Cast a Spell This Summer with Disney Interactive Studios’ Release of Wizards of Waverly Place for Nintendo DS™

Wizards of Waverly Place for Nintendo DSBURBANK, Calif. — Teen wizards in training are creating magic and mayhem on Waverly Place. Wizards of Waverly Place the video game for Nintendo DS™, inspired by the popular Disney Channel television series, is available now at all major retailers. The video game allows fans to experience familiar faces and places in the world of wizards with five fun and new adventures. Mysterious mishaps start when Alex Russo buys a bracelet off the World Wide Wizard Web to impress a boy. True to Alex’s style, her plan goes awry and her brothers Justin and Max join in on the fun. Alex’s best friend Harper, along with Theresa and Jerry Russo are also featured in the game, taking part in adventures on Waverly Place.

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Disney Interactive Studios Announces Spectrobes: Origins for Wii Has Arrived, iPhone App in September

Spectrobe: OriginsBURBANK, Calif. — Disney Interactive Studios announced today that Spectrobes: Origins, the third installment of Disney’s popular monster battle video game franchise, is now available across North America exclusively for the Wii™ system from Nintendo.

Spectrobes: Origins lets players control interplanetary patrol officers Rallen or Jeena in the first Wii installment for Disney’s top-selling Spectrobes franchise. Players will find, train and command more than 100 mysterious Spectrobes, while unlocking their unique powers in order to save the galaxy. Spectrobes: Origins features exciting two-player cooperative play made specifically for Wii that allows players to team up and battle together; an all new 3-D fossil excavation mode; and special collectible code input cards that provide secret codes to unlock hidden items and new creatures.

Spectrobes: Origins takes this popular franchise to the next level, giving fans a whole new experience on Wii,” said Craig Relyea, senior vice president of global marketing, Disney Interactive Studios. “The opportunity to explore and battle through the Spectrobes universe on Wii makes Spectrobes: Origins a must-have for action/adventure and RPG fans of all ages.”

Spectrobes: Origins was named Runner-Up for Best Wii Role Playing Game in IGN’s Best of E3 2009 Awards.

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