Activision’s Skylanders has set up the idea of toys into games and for since they launched Spyro’s Adventure in 2011 Skylanders has pionerred the idea and has provoked further interest in the expansion of the ideas into new territories. To be honest though while Skylanders has been interesting in developing the idea, the games really needed a rival to compete with to keep fans of the idea amused and Disney has accepted that responsibility with its attempt at toys into games simply titled Disney Infinity. For everything I thought the games were lacking Disney Infinity makes up for with its share of fresh and exciting ideas.
Disney has taken it upon themselves to use their style and history to create their own interpretation of Skylanders but in a sense create ideas that are original and perhaps are more enjoyable as a whole because of these elements that Disney themselves have added. Disney Infinity is not about the adventure and story like Skylanders, instead it is a game about creativity and the thrill that comes from playing with characters we have grown to love because of that Disney magic. Disney has such a rich history filled with historic characters that are popular with fans young and old and with this Disney can bring in a much bigger fanbase to their game and provide more of that classic magic that can keep us happy and with this Disney has brought a lot to the table to please fans.
Disney’s take on the Skylanders style game and figures sees a much different game then what we saw with Skylanders, the game focuses on freedom and the players own decisions in what they want to see done. This is all because Disney has opted to create a journey that is the players own decision and this is because of the Toy Box mode which fully features the freedom to make what you choose from a wide variety of tools, but that is only one part of the game Disney Infinity also delivers adventures for three characters that come bundled in with the game.
These adventures are called playsets and each one features a different world to play through and enjoy the story of and each is from a different Disney brand. The set for the game includes Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Carribean, Sulley from Monsters University and Mr Incredible from the Incredibles, let me just get this out here but my initial impressions of the game was that it was directed at kids and the question begged is why did Disney choose Jack Sparrow as a main character in the playset, children most likely would not know this character and it does seem like a bad choice. On another note I also found it disappointing that in the playsets that came with the game it lacked anything classic strictly relying on Disney Pixar properties and Disney’s Pirates of the Carribean. But I guess this is because Disney wanted players to be familiar with most of the characters presented and Disney Pixar characters are the most well known of all of Disney’s library with the younger audience.
Each character has their own playset and we can go on and enjoy the adventure of these characters in their own world meeting other familiar faces we might know from their movies, each world has a lot of differences and none of the three adventures are the same. Of all the worlds available with the starter pack my favourite was easily Monsters University with Sulley, his adventure sees us in a prank war at Monsters University between Monster’s University and Fear Tech. Every mission in this playset was about this particular idea between the two schools and many of the missions involve trying to fix Monsters University or cause problems for Fear Tech and it was interesting to see how all the different characters from Randall to Don get involved and give you missions to complete that are often fun. In a sense this is what made things good about this playset while movie tie in games tend to be annoying and underdone I never felt this playset was and I was often happy to see many of the movies iconic locations and characters presented here in this fun game that should appeal to most players.
The Incredibles playset has to be one of the most interesting ideas I have seen, for a while we have been wanting to see a new story in the Incredibles Universe and Disney Infinity does bring this for fans, the story presented isn’t to major only really being about Syndrome attacking Metroville and using the powers of other villians in this story to cause even more havoc. While I enjoyed exploring the world and seeing some of the characters the Incredibles playset often involved fighting and I felt combat got tiring after a while particularly when it is so repetitive, though the playset did have its benefits to Disney Infinity as a whole.
The final playset is Pirates of the Carribean and to be honest I was bored by this one, Pirates of the Carrabean is mostly sailing around to get to other islands to find a treasure and stop Davy Jones, and I was not invested in this idea. The world didn’t really have that much excitement and the characters were also a bit bland, to be honest I put this one away as soon as I finished the story because I was bored. Sure it was interesting how different this playset was then what I played previously but I often find sailing in games boring and this did nothing to boost my interest, however on the same note I enjoyed combat more in this adventure then the Incredibles because it wasn’t constant and I didn’t feel like I was mashing a button every five seconds. I just feel that people might quickly tire with some of the playsets but it was good to see several different adventure types in one game and I do look forward to seeing what future playsets offer.
One of the main issues with the playsets is that most of the time they are forced to be a single player experience now this is no fault of the player instead it is because we lack the second character to go along with each world and to play with another person in the world we have to go and put more money into the game and go to a shop and buy extra character packs. It isn’t really a problem to just play the playsets as a single player but it does feel lonely at times and in a number of circumstances particularly where young children are concerned and they have friends or family to play with the lack of the second character to play in a world is sad then you have to spend extra money on the game just to play with others. Sure it is only a small gripe with the experience but many players who want to run around Monsters University with a friend will be disappointed because they don’t have Mike or Randall. Thankfully this is not a problem in the toybox mode and players can match any character to play with eachother.
The playsets are all well and good for a scripted adventure albeit a selection of flaws but the games real enjoyment comes from the games Toybox mode, in the Toybox it is all about you and what you want to do. Do you want to crate a racing game? go on, do you want to create a soccer game? Again go ahead, do you want to create a two player adventure? Yes you can everything you want to do can be done and this is the main part of Disney Infinity’s thrill. The Toybox is literally filled with all kinds of tools and objects that can be used to build whatever you can imagine, and this is basically the advertised premise of the game right from the beginning, from where the game begins you are immediately told about an idea and creativity often referred to as a spark that funds and creates the idea. We have the ability to create whatever we see fit based on whatever our mind creates and this leads to several great ideas and many hours of lost time from just building a single game.
The toybox can be referred to as a game builder where you can freely make use of every idea in your head and create an idea that can be fun for one or even two players. At the beginning I will admit I lacked inspiration and I had no ideas about what to use this was mainly because the toybox is pretty bare when the game begins featuring only a small number of items to play the game with and in these points finding inspiration will not be easy, however very quickly it is easy to collect items to use and start building incredible creations. This comes down to the toy box having around one thousand different items to collect and use and these all come from tokens for the Disney Vault spinner. Each token allows you to take a spin to receive an item that can be used for playing and building in the toybox, items you get range from blocks, to mountain terrains, to even key parts and places from Disney movies throughout the ages, these include Cinderella’s Castle which you can have from the beginning to Pride Rock from the Lion King and that is just the two I have, there are still countless others that still elude me in the vault.
Though while several items may be available I often found it best to just make use of stock standard blocks and buildings I got from the Incredibles playset, with these I was able to build some really fun platforming sections in a challenging Gauntlet challenge, each part was built with my own rules in mind to make use of blocks and buildings. The basic concept in Disney Infinity is all about a single idea, first you decide what you want to achieve. So do you want to build a game that can be played with friends, do you want a game that can be played solo? What exact goals to you have in mind? For example I started with the idea of I wanted a challenge I could play with other people and so I adapted a single idea of one player running an obstacle course across building tops. It was a simple goal and the reliance for the idea only required simple tools and these things such as the blocks to go between building and build my obstacle course and the good thing is Disney at least has all the tools you need to build a basic and fun game. Because then after this taking one of the characters through the challenge is fun and it does keep you amused it is easy to spend so much time building ideas and creating new games that you can have fun with. It is easy to say Disney Infinity also features some of games best development tools that does allow for any stretch of creativity.
The way the Toybox is set out means it is quite accessible to almost any player, it is simple to create your first idea, however mastery does take time. For the younger audiences who play this game I would actually recommend getting an adults assistance with creating your first toybox, the tools are simple but ensuring proper placement can be a challenge, however I still found it easy to learn and I am sure with some messing around children will be able to make their own creations with ease. In my personal opinion this is where the game is fun in knowing you have mastered creation and have gone ahead and built whatever you want to see. On top of my gauntlet I enjoyed using the cave tools in the toybox and I felt satisfied when I built a really incredible maze that even I got lost in, there is mountains of possibilities and unless you run out of fresh ideas there is certainly hours of content for you play through and enjoy in just creating alone and this is without even playing your challenges.
Disney has crafted a fun and enjoyable game for players both young and old to enjoy, I think for some the playsets might not be their type of things but the Toybox is where the fun is and bringing in other players to these worlds that you have spent hours crafting is enjoyable and playing through the set challenge is even better. I couldn’t help but feel satisfied the first time I completed my first Toybox world and I just want to keep playing. In the case of Skylanders versus Disney Infinity I feel there is a lot more fun to be had here then in Skylanders and it was always good to know that my characters were actually relevant and felt like they had a purpose whether as part of their story or just for running around my own world. Disney Infinity is certainly infinite and the possibilities for the game are endless, I just hope that the next game irons out some of my issues with the game.