The concept of having your action figures come to life in a video game is nothing new. There is already an established franchise that has been doing it for a few years, but now Disney has entered the category with Disney Infinity. With Disney Infinity you will go through the different worlds of the various Disney characters as well as creating your very own world in the Toy Box. The starter pack you pick up in stores includes the Disney Infinity base unit, the play sets for Monster University, Pirates of the Caribbean and the Incredibles as well as the Jack Sparrow, Sully and Mr. Incredible action figures. It works similarly to how you would expect, with a twist. There are three different areas on the base unit to place your figures. One for player one to put his figure on, one for player two to put his figure on and the third spot for a playset, power disc or whatever.
When I first started up the game I was introduced to the Toy Box which is the area where you can let your imagination run wild. This is where you can build anything you want, provided you have the necessary pieces. You can earn new items for your Toy Box by doing missions in the game and completing certain objectives. This is a game for all ages which is probably skewed towards the younger audience so experienced gamers shouldn’t have any problems here. If you happen to die during a mission you simply respawn where you got taken out and resume your mission. Once you unlock an item it goes in to your collection. You can then use it in the Toy Box to build whatever you want. If you have wanted to build a Pirates of the Caribbean themed location but have Sully from Monsters Inc go through it, you can. You can build a racetrack like you would see in the movie Cars but drive on it with Cinderella’s coach. Your world is only limited by your imagination and the pieces you find as you play or the pieces you buy in stores. As you progress through the game the character you are using will level up. The character that I chose to use a lot was Jack Sparrow. As I would level Jack up I would earn a spin in the Disney Infinity vault. This would give me a random new addition to my toy box whether it was a race track corner, Mr. Incredible’s sports car, the library from Monsters University or whatever. In addition to unlocking items in the game you can also buy them at your favorite store. The action figures themselves need to be bought in stores like Gamestop, Best Buy, Amazon, etc. With that said though you can simply play the game with the three figures the game comes with and still have a really great time.
Once you are done fooling around with the Toy Box the game comes with three different worlds to explore. Since Jack Sparrow was the character I ended up using the most I’ll stay with the Pirates theme. Once I entered the Pirates of the Caribbean world I became Jack Sparrow and was able to play around in that world. I had a pirate ship that I would use to sail from location to location and I even participated in naval warfare with opposing ships which was a lot of fun. I eventually began to go through the Pirates “campaign” which had me search for the Kraken’s bane so that I could stop Davey Jones without the Kraken’s interference. There were different islands for me to explore with items spread around all over the place for me to find. There were toy parts here for the Pirate set which would allow me to upgrade the cannons on my ship, change the appearance of my ship and more. As I progressed through the Pirates story I came across some puzzles that were easy enough for an adult to solve but might present a challenge to the younger audience. I came across other figures from the Pirates movies such as Davey Jones and found areas where other characters such as Balbosa would be a better fit. The actual story is fairly light but it is something I enjoyed. It took me around six hours or so to go through the Pirates story and there are three campaigns to go through with the starter pack so they should keep you busy for a little while.
After playing for a little while you will want to visit the Hall of Heroes. This place is a visual representation of your progress in the game. When you put a new character on the Disney Infinity base unit you then “own” that character. Once you get your character to level one a statue of that character will appear in the Hall of Heroes. At first you will have a bronze character and then as you level up and progress it will change to silver and gold. Additionally, there are slots on the ground that will be filled up with the power discs that you have activated. Power discs are purchased in stores or come with special sets and this is a great way for you to see which ones you have activated. It is almost like the Hollywood Walk of Fame where you can see what “stars” are empty and which ones you have activated.
Disney Infinity does offer some multiplayer functionality as well. There is local co-op multiplayer where two people can use two different figures in an adventure. Additionally, there are Disney Toy Boxes that you can download. There will be new toy boxes available every week that you can download free of charge which should help with the replayability of the game and these will mix and match different Disney properties with different Disney worlds.
Going through the Wii U version definitely had its advantages too. Instead of scrolling through a bunch of menus on your tv screen, a lot of it is handled on the Wii U’s GamePad. This is where you can choose what parts you want to use for your Toy Box or during one of your campaign missions. By simply selecting what you want using the touch screen, for example, you can change how your pirate ship looks. This is really important as you can do a lot of things on the GamePad screen while nothing is taken away from what you are seeing on the television. You will really appreciate that when you are trying to build something in the Toy Box and you are trying to line something up just right or make sure everything is as you want it. Disney Infinity also allows for some off-screen play so you can play the entire game on the GamePad if you want while someone else uses the television.
As I went through the game I didn’t have many complaints. There were a few times where the framerate seemed to dip but I never experienced it during a crucial gameplay moment and so it never really affected the game. There were also some points where the game seemed to glitch on me but, again, other than a minor annoyance it didn’t really affect my experience. One of the disadvantages of using this particular model for your game is that if you are someone who wants to completely do every single thing the game has to offer then you are going to be required to purchase some additional figures. You are capable of going through the three campaign stories included and participating with all of the wonderful features of the Toy Box just using the Starter Pack contents but if you want to do absolutely everything you will have to spend some more money at your favorite store.
Disney Infinity isn’t the first game to use the “action figures come to life” concept but I think they have done enough to distinguish themselves from their main competition. Being able to create your own world filled with your favorite Disney personalities can be really cool and Disney obviously has a very long history of franchises and properties they can draw from. I fully expect it to become a new thing when a new Disney film is released that Disney Interactive will release a new play set to help coincide with the new movie. For the younger audience being able to play through a brand new world from a movie you just saw in the movie theater is a powerful thing. People who are fans of the Monsters Inc franchise will have a great time going through that story as Sully and Incredibles fans will have a lot fun with that as well. Disney Infinity is a great game to play for Disney fans and due to the open ended nature of it I think it will keep people busy for a long time. Be sure to check it out if you (or perhaps a young sibling or child) is a fan of Disney and enjoys their various characters and properties.
Originally posted on Gaming Target