Ariel's Musical Surprise is a cute but unimaginative Disney Princess game that puts you in the secret chambers of our favorite mermaid. There you're able to explore through all of her treasures and take part in some silly little song games that will surely entertain any little boy or girl eight years or younger. It's too bad that there isn't too much else you can do in this app.

The game begins with you swimming into Ariel's hidden cave where she keeps all of her treasures of the human world. Everything in Ariel's world is bright, shiny and filled with all sorts of song. The one thing you notice right off the bat is that there are numerous fishes swimming around you, but they're all gray. It's up to you to add some crazy colors onto their fins. Once you're done with that, you can chose which singing octave each one of them will be in. This comes in handy later when you decide to "rehearse" with your fish-filled band. It's really cute seeing all of your funky fish try and harmonize together.

Another good quality about this game is that you don't have to always try and press the save button. It automatically saves all of your recent fish-decorating progress for you. And the mechanisms are pretty nifty too. When you're in Ariel's hidden cave, you can move the phone around to see other portions of the place. Everything is clickable in the cave, but you can't always pick things up. There are a couple of hidden video snippets to see, showing a clip or two from the movie, but that's about it. And the graphics are pretty nice, but that's not too surprising since this is a Disney game we're talking about here.

The most disturbing thing about Ariel's Musical Surprise is the blatant amount of toy advertisement. You're able to interact with her Disney makeup corner or these pink-and-purple bongos, but wait, there's more! It asks you if you own the product, if you want to check out a video about said toy, and only after you're done with that can you play with it on your phone. It turns a simple, slightly boring game into one big product placement app, which sucks the fun out of it. Also, if you want to play with a certain toy, parents have to punch in a code then pay a couple of bucks just to let their kid play with the pretend version of the toy. Either way, they're going to get money out of you.

I'm a fan of The Little Mermaid myself, and I love the fact that there's a new game with our fictional princess on there, but this would be so much more fun if this wasn't trying to force us to just buy merchandise. The game ultimately loses its luster once you figure out what it's really there to do for little kids. Once they see said toys, they'll be begging mom and dad to buy it for them. Maybe if there were more games to play without paying first would Ariel's Musical Surprise be a bit more enjoyable.


App Store Link: Ariel's Musical Surprise for iPhone & iPad | By Disney Enterprises, Inc. | Price: Free | Version: 1.0.0 | 361 MB | Rating: 4+

4.0 out of 10 arcade sushi rating