Review: ‘Disney Infinity’ sparks imaginationWritten by Michael Siebenaler | | firstname.lastname@example.org
“Disney Infinity” (Disney Interactive) offers a constantly expanding video game universe synergized with physical pieces placed on a special base to initiate their interaction within the game.
I reviewed the PlayStation 3 starter pack (Single, co-op, competitive and online (using invites) play modes), which includes figures of Sully from “Monsters University,” Jack Sparrow from “Pirates of the Caribbean” and Mr. Incredible from “The Incredibles.” Other themed play sets include characters and elements from “Cars” and “The Lone Ranger.” Players can visit the in-game “Hall of Heroes” for videos on current/future characters and their distinctive abilities.
The starter pack alone represents double-digit gameplay time even without the build mode where players can place elements, build levels, alter terrains and much more. Some rotation options and vehicle/object interactions take some adjustment, but any trial-and-error “sparks” the imagination instead of causing frustration.
The console versions on Wii, Wii U, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 offer the biggest experience especially the latter three, plus two player co-operative gameplay in all four. A Nintendo 3DS version (no PS Vita version) offers party-type format where up to four players play in more than 50 mini-games and different themes created in the Toybox mode.
On the PC/tablet/mobile side, players will get PC and Mac version in October, but can try the two following apps until then: “Disney Infinity: Toy Box” lets users create and edit their own game environments then share them among consoles and devices via the web-connected cloud. “Disney Infinity: Action!” lets users shoot special videos, which can be saved or shared via YouTube, e-mail or Facebook.
The visuals often impress, especially the water animations in the “Pirates” play set. More save spots would be nice, but would likely confuse younger players. The menus often require confirmation actions, so players do not lose any progress or creation work. The sound often overlaps when triggering actions, but does not usually cause issues unless players are trying to hear instructions. The green arrows, tutorials, and host voice help players easily progress through the game.
The mission-based (access using select button) play sets could use a bit more variety while the toy box mode mixes sandbox-type play, missions/challenges, customization and creation elements. Multiple figures from the same play set (villains, sidekicks, and other sets) are required for co-operative play while the open world toy box allows players to mix any characters.
Besides the core game, players use a base (with USB cord to connect to a console or wireless for the Nintendo 3DS version), that they use for interactions with the figures and set pieces. Just match the shapes and can switch or remove components to and from the base any time. The power discs (placed under figures and set pieces) add themes, vehicles, and upgrades. Players can also use the webcode cards on www.disney.com/infinity to unlock new Web content.
This game definitely lives up to the name with endless unlockables, spins for additional items, special vaults opened by multiple characters, and, of course, additional purchases. Look for the “Toy Story in Space” play set in October and likely more beyond that. Additional downloadable content includes even more Toy Box levels including versions of “Up,” “Tron,” and even “BioShock Infinite” – a clever cross-marketing coup.
Developed by Avalanche Software and published by Disney Interactive Studios, “Disney Infinity” comes highly recommended for all ages (****, rated E10+ for animated violence). Players can also find various cases and base protectors from PDP and a helpful strategy guide from Prima.