Disney Infinity Review
Cart: Disney Infinity
Cab: Wii U, PS3, Xbox 360
Disney Infinity is a pretty big deal for Disney. A way of taking complete control of their gaming output, by creating the nearest thing it can to its own platform, and also a way of banging out cheap, and easy to develop versions of its past and future films and franchises, Infinity is not merely Skylanders with Disney characters, but is far more expansive.
For budding purchasers, you could easily cross out expansive and use the word expensive, as this is going to cost you a lot of money.
Like Skylanders, this uses a plastic base station, connected to your console via USB. You place your chosen character on one of the front slots, and your chosen play set on the back, and away you go. The game uses NFC to make the content appear magically in the game, with many different characters, level sets and upgrades available.
Some parts are quite attractive
In reality, this is no different to the usual DLC, but I must admit, it does make the whole experience more appealing, and the figures you can collect are of a really decent quality. The problem is, Disney really pushes you far too much to get more figures. I get that there are areas you can only access with several figures; this is a nice little way of rewarding those that collect all the characters in a set. What I do object to is being forced to buy two figures from the same set to enable split screen play in the story missions.
Disney may say that it wouldn’t make much sense to allow Sully from Monster’s Inc to join in with Captain Jack’s pirate-based missions, which is fair enough, but why not let player two control a generic pirate, or even an identical copy of Captain Jack? It is a big let down to get the game home, ready for the kids, and realise that they can’t play it together, with the only recourse having to drive down to the shops to splurge on more figures.
Aside from the large amount of cash that the game is going to cost, and the constant nudging to spend more, this is a brilliant experience.
Each playset is essentially a mid-sized full game, with a main story and plenty of side quests, and there is a lot to do in each world, with the ability to sail a massive pirate ship, Assassin’s Creed 3 style, fly around as Buzz Lightyear, play through championships in Cars and much more. Each set does feel sufficiently different, and has enough variety to justify itself.
Be prepared to pay for two player…
Then there is the Toy Box, which lets you create levels, racetracks, pinball machines and just about anything you can think of. The editor is easy to use, and a bit more intuitive than the one found in the LittleBigPlanet games, and as it is all in 3D, the possibilities are sky-high.
The game isn’t the best looking in the world, and there are a few frame rate issues on all platforms. The art design is quite clever, as it has to make all these characters and worlds fit with one another, and it does work for the most part, with a few poor exceptions, such as the Sully design. There is full speech throughout from all the characters, which does help to draw you in, and the music is as forgettable as you might imagine it to be, with few of the original movie tracks that I could recognise.
Overall, this is a strange one. If you go into it with your eyes open, knowing that this is going to cost what you would usually pay for three new games to get the most out of it, then you and your kids will have a ball, creating and exploring in this Disney themed world. If, however, you buy the starter pack thinking that it included everything you need to experience the game fully, then you are going to be sorely disappointed. It really is a starter pack.
If you fall into the former camp, then eat your heart out, this is far better than Skylanders and its super-generic characters. If you are the latter, then I would give this a miss.
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Editor and founder of VoxelArcade and The Smartphone App Review. Favourite games: Uridium 2, Frontier: Elite II, Sensible World of Soccer, Far Cry 3, Zelda: Ocarina, Metroid Prime, Solar Quest, F-Zero GX, Monkey Island 2 and Tetris.