Review: Disney Fireworks (DSiWare)

All flash, no bang

Combining both loud noises and pretty colors (things we've been conditioned from birth to stare at in awe), there's something magical about a good fireworks display. Disney is well-known for the nightly shows put on at their assorted theme parks, and now their game-developing arm has brought the fun to the DSi Shop in the form of Disney Fireworks. It seems they've bet that the universal love of both fireworks and their own intellectual properties will prompt people to fork over their hard-earned Nintendo Points hand over fist, but like a cheap souvenir, you'll play with it once or twice and then forget you ever bought it.

Choose from one of five different Disney-themed settings to begin. Each setting plays in the exact same manner: on the bottom screen are a red, blue, and yellow rocket, and as colored cues appear on the upper screen, which represents the sky, you'll tap and flick rockets of matching colors in time with the music. If you timed them just right, they'll hit the cues and explode in bursts of bright color. Special rockets will appear in your launchers at random, and if they explode successfully, they'll rain down a group of mini-rockets. Quickly blow into the microphone or tap the screen repeatedly, and the mini-rockets will take out all cues on the screen for you, awarding you a "perfect" for each one. "Perfect" hits are what you need to fill the "Wow Meter" on the right-hand side of the screen; filling it will send you on to the next level. Though you begin the game with only one type of special rocket to jazz up the sky every so often between normal fireworks, by completing in-game goals you'll unlock four more for each different setting. Check them out anytime in the Trophy Room.

After making it past the first group of five levels, the game introduces secondary-colored rockets, requiring you to drag one rocket across a rocket of another color in order to make green, purple, or even white fireworks. Though it sounds like something that could become hectic, it never gets to be more than you can handle, as each successive level is merely a tad harder than the next – the difficulty ramp in this game is almost too gradual, and the game itself is incredibly forgiving in that you only lose a tiny amount from your Wow Meter by missing a cue. Whether you get bored and exit the level or lose all of your Wow, you'll be shown your hit/miss statistics afterward. Your highest amount of Perfects and farthest level reached will be recorded and visible from the setting select menu.

Between the low level of difficulty, the slow music tracks, and the lack of overall variety in this game, it's a horribly repetitive experience overall. The patterns of cues across the "sky" are very similar within each five-round burst, so you'll be experiencing all kinds of deja vu while you play, tripping you up and forcing you to sit through the level that much longer. Had there been some kind of "aiming" point to the gameplay instead of having the rockets launch unerringly toward their cues no matter which upward direction you flick, it would have been much more engaging, but as it stands you're more likely to get bored and shut it off than you are to actually lose a round. Perhaps worst of all, however, is the fact that you can't choose which level you'd like begin at if you're starting a new game. Each time you play, you have to start all the way from the beginning, no matter how far you've gotten before.

For such a basic 800-point game, the visuals lack polish. Each setting features a little area on the bottom screen that grows lighter with each level you pass, revealing more elements within the setting – the Lilo & Stitch area goes from a bare beach to a party complete with dancers, waves, and Stitch himself pops up on the screen to say "hi", for example. The fireworks, however, are rather monotonous - even the "special" ones just form little images in the air - and you'll be paying more attention to hitting your cues on time than you will "ooh"ing and "aah"ing over anything. As for the music, it's nicely orchestrated, but it's very slow, sounding more like it belongs in a parade than an awesome fireworks show. There's two or three different tracks for each setting, but not enough variety overall to keep you from gradually nodding off to sleep while playing this game.


Disney Fireworks is somewhat like Big Bang Mini meets Elite Beat Agents, only without the crazy shooting action and visual brilliance of the former, the awesome music and fun of the latter, and the challenge of both. The music sets a slow, plodding tempo, a definite turn-off in terms of a good rhythm-based game, and the visuals are oddly plain. As for the difficulty, it's almost non-existent considering this game will put you to sleep long before it becomes any kind of a challenge – in fact, if you're on the market for a new sleep aid, this will probably pay for itself after the first couple of weeks. Other than that, suffice to say you won't get any kind of bang for your eight bucks here.

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