GAME NAME: Disney Infinity
DEVELOPER(S): Avalanche Software
PUBLISHER(S): Disney Interactive Studios
PLATFORM(S): PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, Wii U, 3DS
GENRE(S): Action, Adventure
RELEASE DATE(S): August 23rd, 2013
Straight off the bat, Disney Infinity is tasked with showing gamers that it isn’t simply a clone of Activision’s Skylanders franchise. After all, both feature appealing characters, well crafted figurines that interface with the gaming experience and a similar, overall target market. When compared in this way, the two titles sound identical, don’t they? Luckily, for both franchises, this is far from the case.
Infinity tries to replicate the experience of playing with regular toys through a video game platform, and Disney’s overall attempt hits the nail on the head in nearly every instance. It’s with this train of thought that the game emphasises “Imagination”. As you would with regular toys, you create worlds in which to play in, re-enact scenes from your favourite movies and add your own unique twist to the character’s personality. If you own the toy to start off with of course.
The starter pack comes bundled with the game itself, three character figurines, a power disc, the Infinity base and the all important Play Set figure. Your three character figures are comprised of Captain Jack Sparrow, Mr. Incredible and James P. Sullivan, better known as ‘Sulley’ from the Monsters movie franchise. Each figurine feels solid and can pass as a regular figurine which makes buying a pleasure for adults fanatical about collecting, but more importantly, the kids simply wanting to play with their new toys.
When activated, the figurines unlock a new element to the game, be it a new character based mission or playset. The playset is an environment in which the characters specific to that playset have open world type adventures and tasks to complete. As mentioned before, these are character specific, in other words, you need to use a Cars character along with the Cars playset. This feel like a considerable limitation especially when wanting to indulge in a co-op multiplayer game. In short, be prepared to splash out on a bunch of extra figurines. That said, each character and playset offers plenty of tasks and unique gameplay, making the money spent on extras well worth it. Each playset provides a good 5 hours of game time with an abundance of extras and side missions, but this is only the tip of the iceberg.
The Toy Box Mode is where your imagination truly comes to life. In this mode, you’re able to use collectible in-game items to build your own environments and mini-games. With some time and a good dose of patience, your mini-games can become fairly innovative. Think of creating your own Mario Kart level or Pinball title in a Minecraft-styled fashion. While some of the level and game creation mechanics can be rather frustrating, with some time and assistance from the informative tutorials, you can eventually become comprehensive with the building mechanics. But if the designing becomes too overwhelming at any stage, there is the option to access other user’s creations online. These creations aren’t platform specific so an Xbox 360 user’s design will be available for someone who is playing the game on the PlayStation 3, a win-win situation regardless of which version you choose to play.
Being able to play with toys through a video game interface is a fantastic way to introduce children to the world of gaming, and while some aspects of the Toy Box Mode could take a while to get used to, the overall charm that Infinity delivers is undeniable. The starter pack retails for between R699 and R799, and the individual figures will set you back less than R149. The power disks come in random packs of two and should be retailing for around the R59 mark. All of these add-ons come across as an unnecessary ongoing expense, but each purchase is well worth the experience and value they add to the game.