Disney Infinity, an interactive figure video game featuring the best of the Disney universe, is something innovative coming out of the Mouse House’s interactive arm. Combining wildly successful franchises with RFID figures and sprinkling aspects of the company’s entire library throughout the game, Infinity is pushed forward not only by the stories in the box, but rather the imagination of the gamer.
While many will look at this as being Disney’s version of Activision’s wildly popular Skylanders franchise, Infinity’s depth sets it apart. There are stories to make your way through that keep you engaged, much like Spyro and friends. However, the inclusion of Toy Box mode makes Infinity wildly replayable for both children and adults.
The Disney Infinity figures are plentiful at launch and vital to the game, along with all of them likely being vital to your child, which is a great move by Disney. The starter pack comes with Sully, Mr. Incredible, and Captain Jack Sparrow, along with the story modes for each character. Additional characters retail for $12.99.
Each story takes you through the cartoonish worlds of the characters which, surprisingly, never gets old when playing. While some aspects of each story can become tedious, with constant back and forth fetching for items or menial tasks, the settings are always engaging and lack that “not again” feel that many games may have on these quests. The Monsters University story, in particular, does a good job of engaging a player and providing a slew of fun quests to take part in.
The story is based upon Monsters University needing a clean up after rival institution Fear Tech went on a pranking binge. Once cleaned up, Sully takes to going on a revenge mission, clad with a toilet paper gun for the trees, statues, and more on the Fear Tech campus. This evolves into paintball gun wars and other fun missions, ensuring you don’t get bored. If you do, however, you also have the opportunity to do a little building, making more out of Frat Row than you ever expected.
When the stories are all finished, Disney Infinity doesn’t just become a collection of figures on your shelf. Toy Box mode allows you to create, innovate, and imagine a new world, be it in the Disney universe or something of your own liking. We spent hours within the Toy Box, creating everything from hilled slopes leading to Cinderella’s castle to race tracks.
Where Toy Box succeeds can also be a hindrance. Within the Toy Box, you can do anything, given you have the time. To truly unlock all the aspects of the Toy Box and be able to create absolutely everything, you’re going to need time and, in some cases, cold hard cash. There are pods (think the old school quarter machines you used to see at the supermarkets) sprinkled throughout the story modes in the playsets, which unlock different aspects of the Toy Box, be it a field of grass or larger, more playable items. Finding all of these, in addition to ranking your character up enough to do more, will take a good deal of time.
Additionally, you gain “spins” that can unlock different pieces to use within the Toy Box. Picking up enough spins to gather everything the Toy Box has to offer will take you even longer. Looking at it from a different perspective, this is quite possibly another game within the game, as you’ll need to feed your Infinity addition heartily to truly create everything you can imagine. Once you have all the parts you need, though, there are literally no bounds to what you can do.
Rounding out the innovation that comes from Disney Infinity is the inclusion of Power Discs, round or hexagonal pieces that can be placed on the Infinity base to provide special powers, skills, or vehicles to be used within the Toy Box. The Power Discs add a great deal to the experience, with the idea of flying Dumbo or driving Mickey’s car a surefire way to pull in life-long Disney fans. The Power Discs come in blind packs of two for $4.99. What do we mean by blind packs? Simply, you never know what you’re getting until you open the pack. This makes for duplicates, triplicates, and moretricates that can be looked at in one of two ways. You can either be frustrated with the amount of clutter you’ll inevitably have from all these Power Discs or look at it as a way for children, many of whom spend all their waking hours in front of a screen of some sort, to interact with each other and trade Power Discs. Whether this is done at school (during lunch, we all love education) or set up play dates, it allows for a social experience. Regardless, you know you want to fly Dumbo, don’t lie.
There was an innate fear that Disney Infinity was nothing more than a cash grab, trying to slice a bit off from the Skylanders universe and pad Mickey’s pockets. This couldn’t be further from the truth when playing with the final product. The only similarities are, honestly, both products have figures being used within a video game and both are video games. That’s where it ends. The Walt Disney Company, as Executive Producer John Vignocchi told us in our interview, “is about storytelling, technology, and creativity and I believe that those 3 same qualities are embedded in the DNA of Infinity.” This is the absolute truth of Disney Infinity. There is a great deal of creativity from the Disney end, both within the storytelling and the technology used, including the Power Discs. What the Walt Disney Company has always thrived on is the creativity of the viewer’s imagination. Allowing yourself to explore and get lost within the Disney universe. The embodiment of this in game form is the Toy Box. With each unlock, you tend to be unlocking more of your own creativity, as you react to each new piece of the world with “In what way can I use this?” or “This can go right on the racetrack and we can go nuts.”
While Disney Infinity will certainly be an expensive jaunt for the user, the game manifests itself within you and your imagination more that any game on the market. There’s no end, there’s only the brief moment you put the controller down, likely to meet up with a friend and trade Power Discs. The money you spend is worth it, not only for your enjoyment, but also for the educational value to children, with familiar characters guiding their way. If you’re looking for that one gift your child has to have this year, be it for a birthday or the upcoming holiday season, Disney Infinity is it.
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