When Fantasia: Music Evolved was first announced by Disney and Harmonix, it wasn’t quite clear what kind of game it is going to be; it is another rhythm game like Rock Band, or maybe more of a dancing and party game, like Dance Central? Needless to say we didn’t really know what to expect when we entered the dark room on the E3 show floor, where Harmonix showed us the game for the first time.

It turns out Fantasia is neither a rhythm game nor a dancing game, but a weird hybrid of the two that somehow feels completely different. While still a music game at heart, Fantasia: Music Evolved is more of a celebration of beauty through color, music and even a little magic.

Each level (the ones we saw were a coral reef and a robot factory) starts off with very little color and music, but through the player’s action it slowly fills up with both until it’s nothing less than an audio-visual symphony. These actions can be anything from taping on clams to create a smooth jazz beat, to conducting a whole song from the game’s library of licensed material.

This is where the whole “dancing” part enters the equation. It’s not really dancing, but more like following a┬áseries of onscreen prompts as if you’re an actual conductor – rising and flicking your arms in certain directions at the right time. You can even mix together different versions of the song to create a unique track of your very own (and somehow it always sounds great). It still looks as ridiculous as the dancing in Dance Central, but the end result is much pleasing to the eyes and ears.

It’s maybe a little hard to explain, but the very enthusiastic Daniel Sussman – the project director for Music Evolved – does it much better than me in the interview below.

Fantasia: Music Evolved is coming to the Xbox One and Xbox 360 (with Kinect) in 2014.

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