Ahoy Skippers! Welcome to your first day on the job here at the Jungle Navigation Company. We know you've never sailed one of our Jungle Cruise boats before, but hey — how hard can it be? Just load up your passengers and set sail in the steamy jungle. Try to keep an eye on the people on your boat as best you can, but don't sweat it too much if you lose a passenger or two. Think of it this way: they get a free walking tour of the jungle! Based on the popular Jungle Cruise ride at Disney World and Land, Disney Jungle Cruise Adventure Game by Prospero Hall sees 2-4 players pilot their own jungle cruisers around the winding river and attempt to avoid the dangers of the wilds around them in a quest to bring home the most valuable passengers and cargo.
Playing Jungle Cruise is wonderfully simple, built for families. The goal of the game is to score the most points by the time you reach the end of the map. Points are awarded for collecting sets of cargo that are scattered throughout the board and bringing home valuable passengers who have been secretly selected to be the new caretakers of the cruise line.
You fill your boat seats along the sides, back, and middle (just like on the ride) with passengers at the start of the game, then roll dice and move the amount of spots on the board. Each time you move, you encounter a danger familiar to fans of the ride. From bathing elephants to tigers and crashed airplanes, each danger could result in passengers falling overboard. And so you make your way around the river, picking up cargo and lost passengers and trying to figure out which of the people on your boat will be worth the most points until you reach the end. That's it!
This is, without a doubt, a lightweight family game. With its core mechanic boiling down to roll dice and move, then roll dice to see how many passengers you lose, it won't hold much appeal to a group of adult gamers looking for a strategic Disney romp. (For that, I recommend Disney Villainous). But for families, this game really hits a sweet spot of what I like to call "next step gaming." More interesting, fun, and dynamic than a classic family board game like Sorry!, Jungle Cruise is the perfect entry point for younger kids interested in the hobby.
My only real complaint is play time. While playing with two players, we cruised through at a reasonable rate. But when four players join the game, it can slow down more than we usually see with family games. That being said, once everyone understands the basic flow of the game, it's easy to speed things up (and there's not a ton of time spent considering choices, as it's so straightforward).
Where this game really shines is in its reverence for the source material. Every single card pulled is based on something you'll see on the Jungle Cruise ride, and the cards even come complete with a corny joke you can read aloud to emulate the banter of a classic Cruise skipper. Bobbing your way down the river on the board, you'll find familiar scenes beautifully illustrated on the board, which brings me to Disney Jungle Cruise Adventure Game's biggest asset: the artwork and design.
From the boats you fill with passengers to the passengers themselves, extreme care has been taken to make sure this is a highly-detailed, wonderfully "Disney" game. The weathered look of the cards and the fun little Disney Easter eggs throughout the artwork (keep an eye out for a passenger holding a Tiana princess doll) only add to the immersion of the entire experience.
While this is in no way a deep, strategic game, Disney Jungle Cruise Adventure Game is an easy, breezy, lighthearted romp through one of the parks' most cherished rides. Though it can run a bit slow, this is still a wonderful experience for families with younger kids who love the classic Disney attraction.
Get This Game If:
- You've got a family of would-be gamers you want to introduce to the hobby
- You're tired of themeless family games about buying property on a board walk
- You've always wanted to throw random passengers overboard in a steamy jungle
Avoid This Game If:
- Your family gets impatient with slightly longer games
- You're looking for more strategy in your family games
The copy of Disney Jungle Cruise Adventure Game used in this review was provided by Ravensburger.