[gameinfo title=”Game Info” game_name=”” developers=”Double Fine Productions” publishers=”Microsoft Game Studios ” platforms=”” genres=”” release_date=”February 1, 2012″]
Tim Schafer of Double Fine Productions has a history of making games that stand head and shoulders above the rest just based on charm. Schafer’s games just have a quality that make you smile when you play them. Double Fine Happy Action Theater, developed by Double Fine Productions and published by Microsoft Games Studios, is not a game. That is right, Happy Action Theater is not a game. So just what is Happy Action Theater if it is not a game and does it contain the Tim Schafer charm we have come to expect?
Happy Action Theater is a collection of eighteen scenes that are participated in via Kinect. I rather not call them mini-games, though there are some mini-game-esque sequences contained. As soon as you start Happy Action Theater it goes into a scene. No menus, no decisions, just wham bam thank you mam right into the action. This is great for young children. A parent can just start up Happy Action Theater and let them go buck wild. If you hit start on the controller, the scenes end and a stage appears giving the players options. They can choose a specific scene, watch the credits, or choose the director and put things back on auto-pilot.
The scenes are sequences that up to 6 people can move around in and interact with the environment in some way. One scene is in black and white and has a city being built fast paced at the players feet and they move about smashing the city. Another scene shows the players automatically disco dancing and by posing differently can make the dancing look humorous. There are a couple of scenes that are more game like — a Centipede game clone and a Brick Breaker game clone. There are no objectives outside of the achievements for the scenes and by pressing the A button on a scene you can hold the scene there and play in it indefinitely instead of it ending after a minute or two.
Graphically, the game is very charming and should definitely peek the interest of children and their parents. The Kinect does a good job of picking up the player and handles the forward and backward motion decently. It becomes obvious that Happy Action Theater was made for kids because with two adults there does not seem to be enough floor room to interact with the game without accidental smacks and kicks. Audio is negligible and does not stand out but suits its purpose. The achievements can all be achieved within an hour (as long as you have 6 people for the 6 person achievement) and pose no real challenge for the average gamer.
Double Fine Happy Action Theater is not a game, but it is perfect for entertaining family, children, and drunks.