Disney Tangled
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2010-12-05 Nintendo DS Adventure E (Everyone) Disney Interactive / Planet Moon Studios

There are some Disney games on the DS that I have truly enjoyed playing: Disney Fairies Tinkerbell, Tinkerbell and the Great Fairy Rescue, Enchanted, Disney Princess Magical Jewels... they were entertaining even for me, appropriate for the target age group, and truly had the Disney magic splattered all over. Logically, I assumed Tangled would be another Disney title that would keep me entertained from start to finish, but unfortunately, that wasn't the case.

In the game you play as Rapunzel, a girl whose extremely long hair possesses magical powers and who has lived in this tower all her life. Her birthday is approaching, and this year she decides to adventure outside of the tower and journey to see the floating lights up close.

Each chapter is presented as if you were reading a storybook. There are still images and chat bubbles with text, but unfortunately no voice acting, which we already saw as a welcome feature in the latest Tinkerbell game. For younger girls who are just learning how to read, being able to listen to the story, dialog and instructions would make it easier for them to understand the game, as well as help them associate the voice with the words shown on the screen.

The gameplay is that of any point-and-click adventure game. The player uses the D-pad to move around the environment, and uses the stylus to interact with certain objects or creatures, to collect sun icons, make flowers bloom, talk to other characters or initiate mini-games.

As in any adventure game, and because Rapunzel is such a cheery and helpful young lady, you mostly talk to characters, find out what they need, fetch items and bring them back or do whatever task they may need help with.

The mini-games were fairly disappointing. There aren't many of them, and they repeat quite a bit, only with a slight variation. The most repetitive game is befriending an animal. Here you will see Rapunzel sitting and some little creature (reminiscent of Bambi artwork) slowly approaching. The purpose of the game is to repeat the sequence of commands shown at the bottom screen, and for each correct movement the animal will move towards the girl. Most of the commands are gestures to do on the touch screen, but others show as a speech bubble, which means speak to or blow on the microphone... except nowhere does it say that this is what you have to do to clear those commands.

Other mini-games include tapping items and dragging them to a container, a memory game where you are shown all the cards at the start, a 9-piece jigsaw puzzle, assembling things by copying the image on the top screen, playing Simon Says with frogs or burping thugs (...really?! REALLY?! Simon Says with burps?! Was this necessary?), Centipede with Rapunzel's growing hair at a very slow pace, doodle on Flynn's "wanted" posters so that people don't recognize his picture... Oh, yes, but let me tell you about this supposed painting activity: You are presented with a poster of Flynn, and must use the colors indicated on the top screen to alter the image. Here I thought I could draw googly eyes, moustaches and beards to my heart's desire, but no, creativity is not an asset, guessing is. You must pick up each brush color and run it all over the screen to eventually find the spot where you have to rub it on. Every spot is invisible until you touch it with the right color brush, and for smaller areas (such as painting an earring or adding some freckles) it's pretty frustrating.

Ultimately, the adventure isn't compelling and the mini-games aren't really educational or fun, and yet they still have a little difficulty curve as you progress through the adventure. As for those sun icons you collect, you can use them to skip the mini-games, assuming you collected enough, since they don't carry on from chapter to chapter, even if you don't use them.

On the plus side, the character artwork and backgrounds look like storybook illustrations, although the sprites are lacking detail and the animations are pretty simplistic or non-existing (characters in the adventure mostly just stand there), and I still think the befriending game could have had a bit more "life" to it, instead of a still image that approaches Rapunzel's moving arm.

There are some honors and unlockable items for D-Gamer, that's about it. It would be nice if there was some kind of goal to achieve by collecting the suns, like unlocking artwork or outfits for Rapunzel, something more to give the game more depth. Once I finished the adventure, there was nothing to make me go back for more. I could access and replay any of the ten chapters or play some mini-games around the house, but there was no point. And the actual ending of my adventure, even if it did say "happily ever after", it just didn't feel very happy or magical (but rather unremarkable). And what is a Disney game without those two attributes?

Special thanks to Laura Bryce, Joseph Cariati and Disney Interactive for providing a copy of this title.