Thursday, August 26, 2021

It's a Phone Game

A while ago, I wrote about how a new version of the Midship Detective Agency from the Dream-class ships could work on the Wish.  In that post, I thought that if something similar does come to the Wish, Disney may decide to incorporate mobile devices like smartphones and tablets into the game, instead of the badge cards currently used.  While this would add more variety and more features to the game, it would limit the game's audience to people with these devices.  To avoid this issue, I suggested giving players the choice between using a mobile device or a traditional card, while keeping the game the same between control schemes.

While that would be great, it's not going to happen.  Last week, Disney announced Disney Uncharted Adventure, a new game on the Wish with a similar concept to the Midship Detective Agency.  However, unlike that game, Disney Uncharted Adventure uses mobile devices, not badges, as the only control option.  As I said, this will add a lot of functionality and features to the game, like augmented reality (AR).  Because it's using mobile devices, Disney Uncharted Adventure will probably be more immersive and engaging than the Midship Detective Agency.  Here's a video with some information about the creation of the game (it also gives a look at a rendering of an elevator lobby on the Wish, and wow, it's different).

The game will begin before your cruise starts, likely with some non-critical information about the game's story.  This will be great in getting people excited for their cruise, along with the DCL Navigator App's countdown.  Once on the ship, the goal of the game is to find all of the pieces of the wishing star, which recently fractured somehow, and put it back into the sky.  The game appears to be similar to the Midship Detective Agency, but with a lot more bells and whistles, as the technology behind it is much newer.  It sounds pretty cool, especially because the game lets players choose the order of the star pieces they want to find.  This freedom will probably allow for the game to be different every time for people who have played through it before.  Also, there will be a grand finale event physically on the Wish, where players will work together to defeat a villain who caused the star to break.  Not much has been revealed about this special event, but it seems like a really cool way to finish the cruise and meet other people who played through the game.  A nice feature is that players don't have to be completely finished with the game to participate in the finale.  Although, maybe this kind of event would be better at the start of the cruise so players can meet the people they may see while playing the game.  The Disney Parks Blog post says more information about Disney Uncharted Adventure is coming in the future.

All that is great, but I have some problems with Disney Uncharted Adventure.  First off, this game requires a phone or tablet to play.  In 2021, it may seem crazy that a family wouldn't have one of these devices, but there are some families out there without them.  These people would miss out on the game, and if it's a really enjoyable experience, they'd probably be disappointed.  The game will also probably need a stable and reliable internet connection.  I'm really hoping that the Wish is designed with Wi-Fi connectivity in mind, but if not, the game might not work in some parts of the ship, which could cause players to quit and not restore the wishing star.

I've seen a lot of younger kids playing the Midship Detective Agency game on the Dream and Fantasy, sometimes without their parents.  Many kids do not have their own smartphones or tablets, so in order to play Disney Uncharted Adventure on the Wish, they'd need to use a device belonging to a family member.  It's probably harder to trust a kid with an expensive phone or tablet than a card badge, a paper casebook, and a golf pencil.  It looks like Disney Uncharted Adventure is intended to be played by families together, so this shouldn't be a huge issue.  However, playing Midship Detective Agency alone or with a sibling (without our parents) was really fun, so some kids may miss out on this with Disney Uncharted Adventure.

Another concern I have about this game is that it may not be able to run on older or less-capable mobile devices.  The game's augmented reality features will likely require a decent device to work.  Even if it can run on some less-powerful devices, it might not run well, giving some players a subpar experience with the game.  If the game is really demanding on mobile devices, it could limit the game's audience even further.

Finally, Disney Uncharted Adventure won't even be a part of the DCL Navigator App.  To play, guests will have to download a separate app, Play Disney Parks.  This isn't a huge deal, but now, guests will need to have an additional app downloaded before their cruise (or pay extra to download it using onboard Wi-Fi) if they want to play the game.  It would've been much more convenient to have everything DCL-related in a single app.  This could change in the future, but hey, at least both apps are free.

Overall, I have mixed feelings about Disney Uncharted Adventure.  With more information coming in the future, we should have a better understanding of the game soon.  What do you think about Disney Uncharted Adventure?  Are you happy with it requiring mobile devices?  Would you have preferred the option between using a badge-like card or a device?  Are you going to play it if you go on the Wish?  Leave a comment if you'd like!

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