Title: Toy Story: Smash It! (link)
Publisher: Walt Disney
Released: February 27, 2013
Platforms: Apple iOS (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad), Android Soon
Pros: Familiar intellectual property, addictive play, well executed spin on popular mobile game franchise
Cons: Restart button isn’t immediate
Review: Toy Story: Smash It!, a new title from Disney Mobile and Disney Mobile Studio Prague, is a physics oriented game that’s sure to make any player anything but angry.
Disney Publishing Worldwide announced today its release of one of the first apps for early readers in the Windows Store, ‘Disney Princess Dress-Up Sticker Book.’ From Cinderella and Ariel to Snow White and Jasmine, the app features Disney Princess favorites in an interactive story and dress-up sticker book complete with colorful illustrations, expert narration, and enchanting music.
‘The new touch interface of Windows 8 is highly conducive to creating deeply engaging storytelling experiences for children and their families,’ said Lyle Underkoffler, vice president, Digital Media, Disney Publishing Worldwide. ‘We’re thrilled to bring the “Disney Princess Dress-Up Sticker Book” app to life on Windows 8 and look forward to creating more content for our readers to enjoy on this platform in the future.’
‘Disney Princess Dress-Up Sticker Book’ encourages children to read along and interact in creative dress-up play with each Disney Princess while exploring royal weddings, special celebrations, and other magical moments. Readers can change outfits and accessories and add tiaras with the swipe of a finger. An interactive camera feature allows children to upload their own photo and save royal portraits for friends, family, and fellow princesses! Children and parents also have the option to save their sticker creations.
Developed in conjunction with Vectorform, a leading developer of mobile apps and digital products, ‘Disney Princess Dress-Up Sticker Book’ app is now available in English on the Entertainment section of the Windows Store for US $3.99. Additional languages will be available in the coming months. The book is supported by all devices running Windows 8.
Yesterday, Disney Parks released its first official app for Apple iOS devices, titled ‘Disney Memories.’ Inspired by the ‘Let the Memories Begin‘ campaign, the free, well-intended app was practically imperfect in every way and was consequently ill-received by every one we asked in an informal poll. The description for the app was as follows:
Make your pictures come to life with Disney magic.
Plus, with the help of Disney Parks magic, some of your favorite Disney Characters might be even closer than you think. Whether you just met Mickey at a Disney Park, or you are dreaming of meeting Mickey for the very first time, this app will let you transform your pictures into very special Disney Memories you will want to share.
The first problem with the photo app was that it was only available for devices with cameras (iPhone, iPad 2), despite having the ability to modify images in the camera roll, which immediately alienated many Disney fans. Ironically enough, even though it was able to modify photos from the camera roll of those able to use the device, it was unable to actually save to the camera roll, another huge oversight on the side of the developers, designers and quality assurance.
For those that were able to actually use the app, the promise of ‘Disney Magic’ and the appearance of Disney characters left fans feeling empty. Instead, users of the iPhone and iPad 2 app had limited choices in enhancing photos with little icons and a few frames, pushing the Disney Memories campaign. Of the icons that were available, many were generic, although some were Disney specific, like park icons. In either case, the small icon choice appeared on the photo in a pre-determined location, blatantly ignoring the potential of the Apple iOS interface and laughing in the face of what dozens of apps had been able to do before it.
To add insult to injury, the app further teased Disney characters by offering the ability to ‘unlock’ additional options by visiting ‘your local cinema or Disney Store Times Square,’ but reports on this functionality have not been found online, so there’s no telling if the app could deliver on the promise.
Less than 24 hours later, the app has been pulled from the App Store. Perhaps to revamp it enough to be able to present something that might actually be worth downloading and using it, perhaps to avoid further embarrassment of releasing such an inadequate product from a company that has produced so many apps of infinitely better quality.
This latest botched gesture by Disney Parks to promote its memory campaign is just the latest in a series of moves that suggests its 2011 campaign to harvest guests’ private moments for its advertising stockpile is losing steam. It was recently revealed that the tagline ‘One More Disney Day‘ was nothing more than another way of soliciting material from guests while trying to convince them to add another day to their vacations.
UPDATE #1: 11/15/11 – Disney Parks has activated one of two domains it registered for the Disney Memories app since its recall. DPARKAPP.COM now forwards to a page promoting the app and promising an Android version in addition to the Apple iOS version. The link for the Droid version currently links to the Radio Disney app in the Market, however.
TRON, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Muppets and Epic Mickey were the topics of discussion today during the Disney Publishing Worldwide panel at the 5th annual New York Comic-Con which kicked off today in New York City.
Briefly touching upon TRON, preview pages of the prequel graphic novel TRON: Betrayal and The Art of TRON: Legacy were shared. Since the titles themselves as well as many of the other TRON: Legacy titles (mostly geared towards tweens) were made available to browse through at the Disney Publishing Worldwide booth, there wasn’t much more needing to be mentioned on the topic.
More juicy news could be found in the discussion regarding Pirates of the Caribbean: Six Sea Chanties. With a cover by Eric Powell of The Goon and the writing talents including those such as Bryan Q. Miller and Rob Kidd (author of the Young Jack Sparrow series), the described graphic novel anthology will consist of one main story and six short stories. Currently slated to be released on April 19, 2011, the graphic novel will serve as a prequel to not only Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, but will include stories going back as far as pre-dating the first film. Although it’s still early in development, stories are said to include dueling Jacks (Sparrow and the monkey that is), Barbossa and the skeleton curse. In preparation for the movie, Blackbeard and other yet-known characters will also be included in the stories.
Next on the docket was the multi-platform integration of books and the digital world. Going forward, it’s reasonable to expect that at least all of Disney’s original graphic novel properties will include some digital aspect. The first one talked about, whose introduction arrived in the way of a sample video, was the Muppets motion comic, debuting this fall. Based on Roger Langridge’s Meet the Muppets for BOOM! Studios, the Muppets motion comic will be made available on the Apple iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad, Microsoft Xbox Live, Amazon Video Store, Sony PSN and DVD. The sample video included a Muppet News Flash with the Newsman, a commentary by Statler and Waldorf and a brief appearance by Kermit the Frog.
Epic Mickey was the property on which most time was spent and it was here that it was first announced that there would be an Epic Mickey app for the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad, which is expected to be released next week. Although it was previously announced that Peter David would be creating a 64 page graphic novel prequel for Epic Mickey as well as a digicomics version, the panel spent a great deal of time explaining the details in how the comics will be deployed. The app will be free and will contain some basic content such as the game’s trailer, character bios and the first of the six stories in the Tales from the Wasteland, presumably ‘Clocktower Cleaners.’ The remaining five stories can be purchased in-app as a bundle for $2.99. On November 30, with the game launch, the app will be updated to make way for additional items such as the graphic novel itself (in-app purchase for $3.99), motion comics (first free, remaining five for $1.99 each or bundled for $8.99).
Also mentioned and re-confirmed (as Amazon.com had once listed it) is that there will be an Epic Mickey: It’s Your Call book which is Disney’s answer to the Choose Your Own Adventure type books of yore. Don’t expect to see it anytime soon though, I was told it won’t be released until summer 2011. Also coming in summer, although I don’t believe it was mentioned at the panel, but was told to me later, is The Art of Epic Mickey which will be done in the same vein as the existing ‘Art of’ titles.
Lastly, but by no means least, was the re-announcement that Disney Publishing has teamed up with Fantagraphics to produce a series of the ‘definitive’ collection of Floyd Gottfredson’s Mickey Mouse comic strips. Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse: Race to Death Valley is the first title which is set to be released on May 18, 2011. In an effort to maintain the integrity of the original comics, the teams have gone to the Walt Disney Studio Archives and are ‘restoring’ the artwork to ensure that the integrity of the original colors and vision of the comics is maintained.
At the Disney Interactive Booth on the New York Comic-Con floor, both TRON: Evolution and Epic Mickey were offered as playable demos. I had the opportunity to play some of the Gremlin Village Ticket Booth level of Epic Mickey, which bears a remarkable resemblance to the Disneyland model’s Fantasyland. Not too much to report on that, other than it is pretty fun and forgiving to play and I learned that in the full game, there’s a full ride inside ‘it’s a small world’ available. Unfortunately in the demo mode, playing inside the attraction just ended the demo, so I’ll have to wait until November 30 for that one. I also received confirmation from a developer of the game that something mentioned during the Disney Publishing Worldwide panel was true. According to them, the endgame cinematic is very emotional and — if I heard things correctly — it’s even said to make Warren Spector shed a tear.
Make sure to read our coverage of the NYCC Epic Mickey panel here.
Although it’ll still be another couple of days before anyone can actually experience them on the new iPad from Apple, the iPad apps floodgates opened today and Disney quickly debuted and previewed a slew of iPad exclusives from all across the Walt Disney Company family.
Disney Digital Books has offered up a couple of its interactive storybooks in the form of Toy Story and Toy Story 2, even offering the former for free. The Toy Story 2 Read-Along is $8.99 but that also includes a one month’s subscription to the online service where hundreds of interactive Disney books are already online with more added monthly. In addition to the Toy Story iPad apps, Disney Publishing will soon be offering apps featuring stories from The Princess and the Frog, Phineas and Ferb, Winnie the Pooh and — of course — Toy Story 3.
Not just a pixelized book, the iPad apps include all sorts of novel features such as:
- Optional professionally recorded narration
- Record your own narration
- Video clips, songs and sound effects
- Virtual multi-finger-painting
Below is a video offering a demo of the Toy Story Read-Along apps for the iPad as well as some sample screenshots from the app.
As part of its ongoing strategy to provide original creative content where and how consumers want it, Disney will offer applications from all of its businesses on the new Apple iPad.
The ABC Player app extends the reach of ABC.com’s full episode player onto the iPad. iPad users will have the ability to watch free, ad-supported episodes from approximately 20 popular ABC series through a wi-fi connection. The application will also allow iPad users to purchase downloads of episodes via the iTunes store. The ABC iPad app brings the full experience of ABC.com’s Emmy Award-winning full episode player to a touch-screen, handheld device for the first time. Additionally, the ABC.com site is now optimized for the iPad, complete with full-functionality for all its features, including short-form video.
Disney Publishing Worldwide has built two original “Toy Story” read-along apps for the iPad, both combining Disney stories and unique activities with cutting edge technology. Each “Toy Story” read-along is an immersive multimedia experience – the books feature video from the feature films, karaoke and voice record features, the voices of Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, songs from the movies, original games, and even an interactive coloring feature that lets kids finger-paint with up to 10 fingers on the screen. The “Toy Story” app is free and the “Toy Story 2” app is $8.99 and comes with a one month free subscription to disneydigitalbooks.com. In addition, new “Disney Princess,” “Phineas & Ferb,” “Winnie the Pooh” and “Toy Story 3” apps will go live on the iPad later this spring.
Disney Online has built a custom iPad version of its flagship website, Disney.com, which focuses on exclusive video content. iPad videos featured at launch include new scenes from highly-anticipated Disney films “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” and “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time,” full-episodes of popular Disney Channel and Disney XD series “Hannah Montana,” “Wizards of Waverly Place,” “Suite Life on Deck” and “Phineas & Ferb,” and a new Muppets music video, “Stand by Me.”
“The iPad provides a very compelling consumer experience, and we are pleased to have new forms of original, interactive content on this great device,” said Bob Iger, President and CEO, The Walt Disney Company.
In addition to the ABC player and “Toy Story” read-along apps, Disney, ABC and ESPN will launch the following applications:
Title: The Muppets Animal Drummer (link)
Publisher: Walt Disney
Released: December 15, 2009
Pros: The Muppets; good graphics; great music and sounds; fun, addictive and simple gamplay
Review: From Disney Interactive Studios, Enorbus and the Muppets Studio comes The Muppets Animal Drummer, a rhythm based game that has its roots in the electronic board game Simon in which you must repeat Animal’s drumming sequence in (near) perfect rhythm, so it differs from the Dance Dance Revolution genre in that you must remember the sequence rather than reacting to it in real time.
The elite unit of elves from ABC’s new holiday television special “Disney Prep & Landing” have taken their covert operation digital. Disney.com features an online command center for all things “Prep & Landing,” offering full-length streaming of the entire special starting on Dec. 9, and an original short “Tiny’s BIG Adventure.” Additionally, Disney Family.com is offering a variety of printables and holiday craft activities, while iPhone and iPod Touch users can take “Disney Prep & Landing” fun with them through a new mobile game (www.itunes.com/waltdisney).
“Disney Prep & Landing” features on Disney.com include:
- Full-length “Disney Prep & Landing” special will be available for streaming
- Disney.com original short video “Tiny’s Adventure”
- Kringle Academy online game, where players can train to someday become part of the “Disney Prep & Landing” team
- Digital toys and downloadable artwork
“Disney Prep & Landing” features on Disney Family.com include:
- Do-It-Yourself “Prep & Landing” booklet, offering kids a guide to prep their house for Santa’s arrival
- A printable village play set so kids can dream up their own adventures for Wayne and Lanny
- Printable 3-D versions of the “Disney Prep & Landing” elves
- Dozens of different holiday crafts and printable activities, including a Gingerbread man decoder, ornaments, and even a elf-size door craft so kids without a fireplace can make sure Wayne and Lanny inspect their home
“Disney Prep & Landing” App
iPhone and iPod Touch users can purchase and download a new “Disney Prep & Landing” game featuring three mini-games and other content based on the television special. Players assume the role of Lanny, an elf in training, who takes on the various challenges and obstacles experienced at Kringle Academy. With the help of fellow rookie Wayne, Lanny’s goal is to finish the last three exams, graduate from the Academy and become part of the elite group of elves who prepare houses for Santa’s arrival. Cost: $.99 (www.itunes.com/waltdisney).
Title: Phineas and Ferb Arcade (link)
Publisher: Walt Disney
Released: December 3, 2009
iTouch?: Yes (WiFi/Internet required for scoreboard)
Pros: Quick, addictive play, free preview available
Cons: Controls sometimes difficult, navigation buttons inconsistent
Review: In a series of 3 mini-games, Phineas and Ferb brings the number one show for kids ages 6-11 (not to mention popular with every other demographic) to the iPhone.
Here’s the plot: While Phineas and Ferb are trying to build a snow mountain so they can snowboard in the backyard (S’no Problem), older sister Candace goes surfing in the backyard tide pool trying to impress Jeremy (Cowabunga Candace!), all the while Perry the Platypus is acting as Agent P, trying to protect the secret hideout from infiltrators (Agent P’s Hideout).
Here’s the thing: If you’re a Phineas and Ferb fanatic, you might find yourself thinking those game names sound familiar — and they should. All three are actual almost-direct ports of existing games you can play online for free. Granted the controls are different given the nature of a personal computer versus an iPhone (and to be honest, in the latter two games, the iPhone wins in this respect), but gameplay is virtually the same which means if you aren’t familiar with them, you can try them out online first before buying the game (see links below).
Title: Prep & Landing (link)
Publisher: Walt Disney
Released: November 19, 2009
iTouch?: Yes (WiFi/Internet required for some)
Pros: A couple of entertaining games/features
Cons: Long, frustrating gameplay with little payoff, promoted items missing
Review: On December 1, ABC will air its first ever original holiday special produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. That’s the good news. The bad news is they want to charge you for downloading the promotional app and it falls way short on expectations and even promises.
After watching a surprisingly brief promo for the special, you are presented with two menu options. Kringle Academy is where you’ll find 3 mini-games and P&L Specialized Equipment is where you’ll find the ‘extras,’ which are often more entertaining than the games themselves, unfortunately.
As a general rule with the game, sound effects are nil (Christmas carols are your only source of audio candy) and gameplay is exceptionally long with repetitive movements. There’s also no scoring system so you’re really only competing for ‘distance’ and colored rewards such as gold, silver and red (and other, ‘lesser’ colors) which seem to offer no benefit other than a virtual pat on the iBack.