Enter the Magic Kingdom.
Disney, is one of the most recognized brand names in the world. Just the name evokes images of a springy eared mouse and a multitude of princesses. Now Disney invites players into those famous cartoon worlds with Disney Infinity. Infinity is played with actual, real world figures. Without them, there is no gameplay, you need to plug the DI base into your console then place a figure on the base to enable gameplay, much like Activision’s Skylanders toy/game concept. Characters can only appear in-game in their designated Play Set and the Toy Box, so no Mike Wazowski wandering the decks of the Black Pearl.
The figures themselves are well-crafted caricatures of their film counter parts and make great collectibles on their own. However, the in-game character models were designed off of the Disney Infinity figures. While the models are spot on to the figures, they feel unpolished considering the rendering capabilities of this generation, and the general clean aesthetics associated with the Disney name. The characters are very Mii-like, stout bodies with a blocky head, making them perfect for drop kicking across Play Sets. Only key characters are fully developed and articulated. The environment has the same incomplete feel; while brightly coloured and appealing to a young audience, the textures are flat and dull. Overall it feels like something you would pull out of your toy box which does lend credibility to the Play Set motif.
Attend University, Sail A Ship And Save A City, All In One Day!
Disney Infinity offers a wide variety of gameplay. In the starter pack alone, players have the opportunity to play through three varying Adventures (Play Sets). Monsters University offers a platforming adventure through the campus of MU. During the Fear Week competition with MU's rival university, Fear Tech, players platform and puzzle solve their way to victory. The main combat ability is the “scare” but it can be offset later with a bag full of fireworks.
Pirates of the Caribbean not only offers platforming but adds boat piloting/combat to the mix. The sailing controls are simple and easy to grasp, while boat combat during sailing may take some practice to master due to awkward camera controls. During player's time on land, they'll have the ability to shoot or sword fight their opponents. Beware, there are a lot of talkative pirates with not much to say, which can grind on your nerves.
The Incredibles offers players a chance to be a superhero. In this open world Play Set you protect the city from Syndrome, while rescuing civilians, rounding up escaped animals and even putting out a fire or two. Players get to build their own superhero base equipped with training facility, allowing them to master their combat techniques to rid the city of the never ending flow of robots. Every Play Set is scattered with collectibles to find, adding extra playtime to those who want to expand their collections.
The Toy Box is a build-your-own-game creative mode. All the collectibles you unlock in Play Sets are available in the Toy Box. Like LittleBigPlanet, the Toy Box will allow you to design your own worlds and/or mini games. I spent much time just dropping in Pooh Bears from such great heights and watching them parachute to the ground. Not only can player's unlock Toy Box pieces in the Play Sets but also by earning spins to the Toy Vault. The Toy Box will be a never-ending source of fun for creative players.
A Very Merry Unbirthday To You.
The cast of Disney Infinity are well versed voice actors with much experience in both video games and Disney properties. They do their best to imitate the film actors they are portraying, usually with success but there are times when players will catch an earful of pseudo-character voices. On the other hand, in the Alice Toy Box, players will be delighted to hear a re-mastered version of “The Unbirthday Song”, really bringing the player into the Tulgey Woods.
Disney Infinity has some little annoyances. Once you start talking to NPCs, there is no way to skip their dialogue, so accidentally hitting the “talk” button can be irritating. Often prompt instructions remain on the screen during cut scenes and the targeting system allows for very little control. The introduction is lengthy and not very engaging. All this aside, it does not impede on the ability to enjoy your time playing Disney Infinity. There are many clever aspects to outweigh the irritations. Every figure comes with its own mini-game, there’s the pure enjoyment of watching students get flicked around the MU campus by your well placed pranks, and almost every Disney movie character is represented in DI in some manner, even characters you don't first equate with Disney like Kermit the Frog. The only title I'm surprised to not see well represented was The Lion King.
The biggest downside to Disney Infinity is the cost. For households with more than two children, you will have to be mindful that you will need two characters from each Play Set for your children to play together. There are 20 Power Discs that can be purchased in blind box packaging, offering anything from power ups to new Toy Box items. Then there are the extra Figures/Play Sets, each bringing its own unique adventure to DI. I plan to keep buying Power Discs until I get an elephant Abu mount.
Disney World in your living room
Disney Infinity is really amazing little package, offering much variety, painted from the memories of childhood. DI does a fantastic job at bringing players into an all Disney world, while allowing them to be creative. Disney fans of any age and any skill level will be well entertained with Disney Infinity.