A Game Review by Greg Dabkey
Game – Disney Infinity
Version – Wii U
ESRB Rating: ‘E10+’ – Everyone 10 and up
Price: $69.99 (starter pack)
Release Date: 8/11/2013
Obtained – Courtesy of Disney Interactive
I feel like I’m a young kid again. Playing with lots of toys, in my toy box. Well, make that a virtual toy box with real toys.
The main game has 3 portions to it, and each has a separate story. Each story follows the respective movie it was based off of. For example Monster’s Inc. is focused around Monster University where Scully and his friends are at college. While I haven’t personally seen the film, the game play all happens around campus and various fraternity houses. Incredibles is in the downtown city and have their home base of operations along with training centers and what not. Finally Pirates is on an sea setting with a few areas off-shore. There are main quest lines and dozens if not hundreds of side quests and each offer different types of quests. Some quests just require the player to change the environment, others you need to defeat enemies or you may have to sneak into a building. Overall the main quest line is quite interesting and it helps create additional side quests as you unlock new toys for that story and go along with the main story of each movie.
Gameplay & Controls
This section will be an overview of the story mode gameplay and controls, I separated out the Toy Box mode below under Game Modes. The basic gameplay is similar to an open world type of game. You follow some initial tutorial quests, then the world opens up for selecting new and several missions at a time. Following the main quest line offer unlockable toys for that story mode that help you progress through the main missions. For example, you will need the Incredibles’ hover board to do certain missions, but the game does inform you that you will be unable to complete it with your current available toys. You basically go up to each character and have a small chat where they give you some mission details and the option to make it your current mission. At any time, the player can access the mission log and select a new mission. Occasionally if you are stuck you can select find new mission givers and will help guide you to characters that are providing missions. Don’t want to do missions? Well you don’t have to take new missions. The world is mostly free to explore, and players can damage building, graffiti trees (with toilet paper), change design of particular buildings or characters, climb up buildings/structures, there is no shortage of fun in story mode.
In addition to the missions, there are challenges that can be completed. These are timed events with 3 difficulties (easy, medium, hard) where the player puts their skills to the test and either has to defeat enemies, collect Disney ball-like objects, or complete a check-point race. Some can only be done with certain characters while the majority can be used with any. The player can also collect capsules for Tox Box mode, treasure chests and unlock a vault. The treasure chests are character specific, so you may find yourself swapping out the characters to access them (assuming you purchased other characters from the set). The vault requires every character in the collection to open it. Need more missions? Well you can buy some physical toys (a.k.a DLC) which allow you to complete some character specific missions, find capsules only they can find in addition to the chests and vault unlocks. The characters can be changed on the fly by placing them on the platform, you don’t need to pause or reload or anything.
The controls are very complicated, but incredibly precise. The characters can do double jumps, use tools, wall jump, climb, push, attack. Every button has a function and setting up the tools can be a bit tricky, but also manageable. The tools and main actions can be customized with ZR and activated with with left/right directional on the control pad. The player can assign a tool or action to either directional of their choice and disable it using the same direction. This allows the player to access their tools for missions very easily. The game provides in-depth explanation of the tools, toys and always accessible with the tutorials. Throughout mission mode other toys will be unlocked and need to be purchased with the in-game currency. This is acquired from completing missions, destroying particular objects, defeating enemies, etc.
Finally if that wasn’t enough, there is also a co-op mode. I got to sample this with a friend and it was an awesome exciting time. The screen is split in two and the players can work together, fight each other or whatever. The game will ask if the other player wants to help with specific missions or challenges and can deny the request to continue what they were up to. My friend had tons of fun just driving around collecting cash and completing odd mission objectives while I took the initiative to advance the story mode.
While the game has it’s own story mode, there’s also another huge area to the game, Toy Box mode. This is where game pulls in the user’s creative juices and lets the power go to the player. The player is free to design their own world however they see fit. Want a racetrack? No problem! How about building your favorite castle from the princess movies? Also, no problem here! You can try to make it just like the Disney parks as well as attractions like Haunted Mansion and Epcot’s Spaceship Earth are included. Now, unfortunately all of these elements are not instantly available. There are a few ways to unlock them. The first is finding the capsules in story mode, or you can simply roam around the starting default Toy Box collecting sparks or spins. Collecting numerous sparks unlock spins. The player can also earn spins by completing story modes as well. Spins… what are they? Well there’s a vault in Toy Box with hundreds of “toys” from throughout the Disney Universe. Movies such as Aladdin, Robinhood, 101 Dalmatians, etc and also real world Disney park attractions. You enter the vault, and 16 toys per page. You can shuffle the pages until you see some toys you would like to unlock and simply hit the spin button on that page. The game will randomly give you one of those 16 toys. At any time you can shuffle the pages, but they will refill back to 16.
Now that you know how to collect the toys, what do you do with them? Well, you create your own world. You can drop the pieces down and interact with them instantly. You can assign a height to them or rotate them by using the control pad. You can use your magic wand to remove or edit toys that you didn’t place properly or to change the style of them. You can also change the sky and also entire regions. You can equip tools you unlocked in story mode along with specific Toy Box tools using those same controls. That’s not all, you can also visit your friend’s Toy Boxes, and they can be on any platform of choice.
Online Multiplayer (Author: Steve Cullum)
Since Greg was not able to check out the online multiplayer himself, I am stepping in to share some thoughts about my time with that feature after playing with Jeremy. Other than the somewhat confusing manner of connecting with your friends online, the overall experience was good. First, you pick which Toy Box you want to play. This can be something you have made, a friend has made, or one of the downloadable ones from Disney. Then, you go ahead and invite your friend to join you. After that, you can play around that Toy Box with no noticeable lag or errors.
This is fun, but the experience really depends on the Toy Box. If you have one that has objectives and games, online multiplayer is enjoyable. If you are a part of a Toy Box that is rather bland, your multiplayer game will also be somewhat boring. You can spend time building with a friend, which could make for a fun time, as long as you have a friend who also enjoys building. In the end, the experience mainly depends on the people. One thing that would have been incredibly helpful, though, is the ability to talk with your friends. In a game that encourages you to build and play online with friends, it is really tough to cooperate or communicate without voice-chat. Jeremy and I ended up calling each other, which works, but it was less than desirable.
Visuals & Sound
The visuals are pretty spectacular and everything is well designed. The best part about it is if you don’t like the designs of some buildings or minor characters, you can change their look on the fly. Each world is very detailed and contain dozens of buildings or houses to climb up on. All of the climbing aspects are easily seen and all the collectibles are easily visible within each environment. The music and sounds also very fitting. All of the characters are voiced in addition to the text boxes. The sounds and music are very appropriate for each of the game’s environments and enhance each world making them very immersive. The visuals also appear very reasonable when played directly on the GamePad itself. Obviously they are not as sharp as on a TV, but that is expected since the GamePad does not have the same high definition capabilities of the television.
Final Score: 9.5 out of 10
Disney Infinity is a very unique experience since the story mode is a friendly Grand Theft Auto type of game, while the game also offers the ability to design a world completely. With 3 different storylines, variety of fun characters, co-op, online multiplayer, a creation/design based Toy Box Disney Infinity packs a solid punch of a unique but excellent experience. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a deep, fun and unique experience. While the one drawback is the additional cost of the characters, but with the overwhelming amount of content they greatly extend the experience. If you are looking for probably one of the best games of the year, don’t pass up Disney Infinity!
+ variety and plentiful amount of missions
+ hundreds of unlockable toys for Toy Box
+ variety of interesting characters
+ unique and fun online multiplayer
+ able to build your own world in Toy Box
+ variety of difficulty with challenges
+ can enjoy mission-less playing time
- Extra characters at an additional cost and required to open vaults