There’s not much that gets me to turn on my Xbox 360 these days. A new Halo game is usually a guaranteed buy, but I find myself wanting to play newer video games less and less for some reason. I’m also usually pretty excited about new consoles, but this year I haven’t even gotten excited about the Xbox One or the Playstation 4.
However, Disney Infinity caught my eye a long time ago. The combination of a video game and cool little collectible figures as well as the ability to mix Disney characters from different properties sounded like a lot of fun, despite the high price tag. It’s obvious that Disney wanted a slice of the Skylanders billion dollars a year business model, but they created a game that is a lot of fun and (in my opinion) has a ton of potential.
Taking advantage of some launch-week sales and deals, I snagged the Xbox 360 Starter Kit as well as a few extra figures and gave the game a spin. Usually I leave game reviews to the experts, like my buddies over at Horrible Night, but I’m sure a lot of you are wondering if this game is any good, and hopefully I can help you out. Now, on to the game.
Disney Infinity Game Review
If you’re like I was before I played, you’re probably a little confused as to what Disney Infinity is all about. Everyone talks about the Toy Box mode and how it’s like Minecraft had a baby with Little Big Planet, but I haven’t heard as much about the playsets in reviews. That’s weird, because I think the playsets are a ton of fun.
Playsets are basically full games. The starter kit comes with three, The Incredibles, Monsters University, and Pirates. Playsets have unique playing styles, missions, etc, but have some things in common. Right now you can also buy sets of Lone Ranger and Cars figures to unlock playsets for those franchises, but I haven’t gotten that far down the rabbit hole yet. I’ll get into individual playsets in a minute.
The Toy Box
The Toy Box is where you can mix and mingle all your Disney Infinity characters, create your own worlds and games, and share what you’ve created. By playing the game you unlock spins that you can cash in for new items to use in the Toy Box. The scope of items you can pick from in the Toy Box is crazy huge. Want to have Scrooge’s money bin next door to Spaceship Earth from Epcot or say, the Cave of Wonders from Aladdin? No problem. You can build a race track around Cinderella’s Castle or just spawn a ton of Rhino guards from Robin Hood and fight them all off. The possibilities are endless.
So far I’ve enjoyed the playsets more than the Toy Box, but I don’t have a lot of patience when it comes to being creative in video games. I’d rather download someone else’s brilliant Toy Box creation than spend the time and effort making my own. I mean, you can make your own sidescrollers or top down games in the Toy Box, and I don’t have the time to figure that out. But I know that the Toy Box will be a lot of people’s main reason for getting this game, and I think that’s what sets Disney Infinity apart from Skylanders.
So, by spending the initial $75 for the starter kit, you get three playsets and acesss to the Toy Box (which also contains a bunch of fun challenges called Adventures). People keep complaining about the cost of this game, but you could have hours and hours of fun by just getting the game itself.
But of course Disney is hoping we all keep buying playsets when they release new ones, and we probably will.
I was wondering how new playsets was going to work, and I assumed Disney could release something along the lines of an Aladdin playset, and through the magic of DLC we could add on that playset to the game. Well, it sounds like the game has built-in playsets that aren’t unlocked yet, and can only be played when the inevitable packs of figures come out. Toy Story, Wreck-it Ralph, Phineas and Ferb, and the Nightmare Before Christmas are all coming soon. Disney has said that they will release a new disc each year that contains new playsets (hopefully not just for new films, I want playsets based on classic movies).
It kind of sucks that those are built-in yet still require purchases to unlock, but oh well. If you don’t want to play one, you don’t have to buy the figures. I probably won’t be buying the Lone Ranger set anytime soon.
After messing around in the Toy Box for a few minutes I started playing through The Incredibles, and I thought it was a ton of fun. It’s almost a cutesy version of Grand Theft Auto. It’s an open world game where you can explore the city of Metroville. The city is popluated by this tiny Fisher Price looking people who go about their days walking or driving around, and don’t seem to care much if you punch them, throw them over the horizon, or drop-kick them into the ocean. I’m surprised Disney lets you manhandle pedestrians so much in this game, but I’m glad, because I love it.
You have various people who can give you missions, and it took me around four hours to beat the Incredibles playset, but a lot of that time was spent drop-kicking people and just exploring too. The missions are mainly about destroying robots, escorting cops (read: destroying more robots), finding certain numbers of items, etc, but I found them fun. You can level up your character, learn new moves and get new items/vehicles. Things you do in the playset also unlock spins in the Toy Box where you can get new items to play with.
I found the driving/flying in this game to be a lot of fun, and once you figure things out the whole city is your playground. You can make it to the top of almost any building thanks to combinations of climbing/hoverboards/helicopters, and I love stuff like that in games. Disney also added a very fun level of destruction to the city. You can destroy the side of a building with a punch, which means as you start fighting robots in the street, things get crazy.
All in all the Incredibles playset was my favorite part of the game, and it’s the one I’ll probably go back to the most.
Next up I played Monsters University. I haven’t beaten this one yet, but I’m pretty close. In this playset you’re mainly dealing with the rivalry between MU and Fear Tech; pulling pranks, scaring students, and playing paintball. Instead of cars and helicopters you get bikes and skateboards. I found this playset to be a little tedious and not as rewarding as the Incredibles, but it’s still fun.
I think I would have rather seen a Monsters Inc playset based on the first film, where you have to scare children and collect screams. Regardless, it’s a well-done playset and shows how Disney Infinity can provide such different experiences from one playset to another.
The MU playset makes me hope Disney comes out with more Pixar-based playsets. I think the unified style the first few have had would lend itself to some fun game versions of movies like WALL-E, A Bug’s Life, Brave, and pretty much the entire Pixar lineup.
Pirates of the Caribbean
This is the playet I thought I would enjoy the least (well, besides The Long Ranger), but it’s actually pretty fun. The ship mechanics are a lot of fun to play around with. Your ship is essentially a big vehicle like the cars in Incredibles and the bikes in Monsters, but with the ships you can man the helm, walk around the deck, or use the cannons.
The landscapes are a lot different than the other two playsets in the game, and the guns/swords are fun. I haven’t gotten very far in this playset yet either, but it’s been surprisingly fun. I can’t wait to get to the big ship battles I’ve read about, and I’ve heard they are a lot of fun to play in co-op.
That brings up an interesting point about Disney Infinity. Local co-op seems to be a big part of the game, which is great in an age when most game companies pretend like no one plays co-op in the same room anymore. Now, if I can just get my wife to play!
I think Disney has a winner on their hands. It looks like they’ve taken the basic concept of Skylanders but have added a lot to it, all with the addition of Disney properties with built-in fans. When you think that in the years to come, there could be classic Disney film, Star Wars, Muppets, and Marvel expansion packs, you start to realize the potential the game has.
Honestly, the game could suck and they would probably still make a fortune, but the game definitely does not suck. I’m sure it’s not for everyone, but I like it. I’m looking forward to playing the Toy Story and Wreck-it Ralph playsets in October, and I’ll be keeping an eye out for what Disney has up their sleeves for the coming years.
Disney Infinity is available pretty much everywhere and on every console. So, have any of you tried it yet?
Sidenote: I didn’t mention the actual Disney Infinity figures much in this review, but I’m going to post about those separately. They’re actually very well made and look great, and I want to get some decent photos of them.