It was a little more than a year ago that Disney brought Phineas and Ferb to Disney’s Hollywood Studios as a meet and greet. Generally well accepted by crowds, one thing was clearly missing: their pet, Perry the Platypus, a.k.a. Agent P. Oh sure, he’s in the meet and greet, but as a prop attached to the background behind Phineas and Ferb – not as an active character. Ever since, folks have been wondering where else these characters, especially Perry, might show up. That was until Disney announced that Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure would be appearing in Epcot’s World Showcase.
As more information was released, we learned that the Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure would be going away. It’s a little hard to see Kim leave the parks, but the truth is that Kim Possible went off the air five years ago in 2007 – the same year that Phineas and Ferb first appeared on the Disney Channel. I’m a huge fan of both series, but I can see that it’s time for things to change – progress is after all a part of the foundation on which Epcot was built.
This past weekend I had an opportunity to test out Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure in the Japan Pavilion. I knew there had been some playtesting already, so I made it clear to my wife, Cheryl, and our friend, Lori, that I wanted to check out the starting kiosks to see if we could play. We were lucky enough to find some cast members dressed in regulation Organization Without a Cool Acronym (OWCA) uniforms (minus the hats) over by the Italy Pavilion Field Station, and we were asked to wait to play.
After hanging out at the cart for a few minutes while waiting for a test to begin, we were escorted by a cast member to get our FONE (Field Operative Notification Equipment, the acronym FONE is pronounced the same as the word phone). At the station they asked which of the 3 of us was in charge – me, of course, so I provided my pass. The cast member assigned us the code name “Agent T” (for Todd). After its programming, our FONE referred to us this way for the duration of gameplay.
The FONE itself is a slightly newer (and thankfully cleaner looking) feature phone than the prior Kimmunicators, and in a similar manner is still affixed with a tracking tag. They still work the same was as before – the topmost left and right buttons guide you through the game. There are some multiple-choice questions related to tasks you are assigned where you have to hit other keys as well.
The game starts by introducing us to Major Monogram, the head of the OWCA, and Carl, his intern. After walking us through how to properly use our FONE, we found out that, as I mentioned above, our assignment was in Japan: “Mission: Japan – Robo Rumpus.” And in the next few screens we get to see Dr. Doofenshmirtz, Phineas, Ferb, and Candace.
From there the story plays out in much the same way as every episode of Phineas and Ferb. Doof has an “inator” he’s created in order to help him carry out current scheme. Meanwhile it seems Phineas, Ferb, and Candace are having an adventure of their own. These events converge, and, along with the help of Agent P, Doofenshmirtz’s plot is foiled. When we returned our FONE to the drop box at the end of the adventure, we were asked by a cast member for some comments: what we liked, what we didn’t like, and whether anything broken along the way.
The game is essentially the same as it was for Kim Possible, only the story elements have changed to reflect the changeover to Phineas and Ferb as you can tell from above. My feeling is that there is still probably a bit too much clicking and criss-crossing required to achieve the goal. A more linear progression might make for smoother gameplay. There are some game elements that are still not easily found from the directions provided, such as the wind chimes in Japan.
In concept art we had seen Agent P placed in various spots, like inside a lamp or swinging between buildings. And in a video provided on the Disney Parks Blog, we saw Professor Dementor, who was in the clock tower in the Germany Pavilion, replaced with Doofenshmirtz. However, lacking were any changes to the interactive elements of the game, at least as far as the Japan Pavilion was concerned. And two of these, the lantern and the waterfall, did not function correctly (the waterfall actually stalled the FONE app).
Overall I had fun playing this game, despite what I said above. Being a fan of the television show probably helped with this. I’m certain this game is not for everyone, and the same was true for Kim Possible. This attraction is designed for fans of both Phineas and Ferb and World Showcase, and is a fantastic group or family activity. I’m really glad that Disney is trying to keep this attraction fresh by giving it a new overlay. This is a smart move by Disney, and I suspect it’s something we’ll see happen again a few years from now.
What about you? Are you excited to become an OWCA agent? Do you like Phineas and Ferb? Will you miss Kim Possible? Aren’t you a little young to be playing with a FONE?