‘Disney Infinity’ Review

Published 1 year ago by , Updated November 20th, 2013 at 10:45 pm,

Disney Infinity Review

Disney Infinity is a beautiful experiment in the power of brand marketing. It takes the loose framework of Activision‘s Skylanders franchise, and uses a large swath of the Disney/Pixar library to bolster it. So, instead of family-friendly platforming with original creatures like Chop Chop or Drobot, players will be using more recognizable faces like Mr. Incredible or Captain Jack Sparrow.

Aside from that, though, Disney Infinity is very similar to Skylanders: the base game comes with a USB-powered portal, three starter figurines, and a Play Set cube. By placing the cube on the portal, the player unlocks a “Play Set”: a level tailored to a specific Disney franchise. In order to explore those Play Sets, however, players must also place a figurine associated with that franchise on the portal. So, for example, if they want to play in the Pirates of the Caribbean Play Set, they will need to put Captain Jack (or one of the other Pirates figurines) on the portal. Pretty simple.

For this particular review, Game Rant was provided with the basic starter set, which includes a copy of the game, a portal, three figurines (Jack Sparrow, Sully, and Mr. Incredible), a Play Set cube for those three characters’ levels, and a power disc. There are also Cars and Lone Ranger Play Sets available, as well as additional characters for the base Play Sets, but for the purposes of this review we will be sticking to the basic starter set.

Disney Infinity Review - Portal

As far as gameplay is concerned, Disney Infinity does an admirable job of differentiating between the three Play Sets, making sure that each feels unique but is still easy to understand. The world of The Incredibles, for example, has the player exploring a small open world, completing tasks like saving citizens, capturing criminals, and ultimately taking down Syndrome the super villain. Each of the dozen or so quests scattered around the Play Set typically involve some light platforming and basic melee combat, and it’s just enough to keep younger players engaged, but not outright challenged.

The same goes for the Monsters University and Pirates Play Sets, which have their own quirks but aren’t all that different from The Incredibles. Typically the formula involves heading to a quest giver, following a quest arrow to a location, and then completing a pre-determined task — be it taking down an enemy, performing some sort of prank, or swashbuckling with a rival pirate gang. Ultimately, it becomes rather repetitive the deeper the player gets into each Play Set, but the overall experience is engaging enough for fans of the associated Disney franchise.

Of particular note, is the Pirates Play Set, which blends swashbuckling and light platforming with small-scale naval battles. Obviously, these aren’t of the scale as, say, Assassin’s Creed 3, but they add a welcome dynamic to the experience. Although each of the three Play Sets have at least one element that make them stand out – Monsters University is focused on pranks, while Incredibles features plenty of large scale super hero battles – the Pirates world seemed to offer the most variety, and captured the spirit of its associated franchise the best.

Disney Infinity Review - Pirates Play Set

What makes Pirates stand out, and all of the Play Sets for that matter, more so than anything else, is the design of each of the worlds. Avalanche Software clearly put a lot of care into getting the details right, making sure each world doesn’t come across as half-finished or second rate. From the way Port Royal crumbles under pirate attack to the streamers of toilet paper strewn about Monsters University, there’s a lot of wondrously creative touches that give each Play Set some much needed personality. Even though the gameplay is a little lacking, the design of each Play Set is top notch.

But it’s outside of the game’s Play Sets, in Disney Infinity‘s Toy Box mode, that the game’s promise of infinite possibilities truly comes alive. Toy Box mode is Infinity‘s version of a free-form creation tool, where players can craft their own worlds based upon Disney’s most popular franchises, and share them with others. Here, players can switch their playable character on the fly — hopping from Lightning McQueen to Tonto, for example — all the while mixing and matching items from a variety of worlds. Toy Box Mode is what makes Infinity unique, and helps it carve its own path. Seeing all the creative levels other players have made, or designing one yourself, helps ensure Infinity‘s longevity. In reality, a player’s creative potential is only limited by their imagination…and of course which characters and Play Sets they own.

And therein lies the real problem with Disney Infinity, as with any game of its kind. Sure, the starter set offers a great jumping off point, but there are far too many reminders that there is more to buy scattered around each world. In a way it feels like Disney Infinity is only part of a game without all the Play Sets. That being said, it’s hard to chastise Disney too much for this approach, as it plays directly into kids’ and adults’ innate need to “collect them all.”

Disney Infinity Review - Toy Box Mode

Disney Infinity is a smart idea done well. It represents each of the associated franchises with varied approaches, making sure the world of Incredibles is just as exciting as Monsters University, even if their gameplay opportunities aren’t all that different. Moreover, the game’s Toy Box mode takes creative freedom to another level, by letting players design their own dream Disney mash-up.

Yes, the gameplay in each Play Set reaches a tipping point, where that initial sense of discovery and excitement gives way to repetition. But there’s enough worthwhile content packed into the game that it still feels substantial, more so than a lot of family-friendly games out there. And make no mistake; Disney Infinity is geared specifically towards families, with kids likely getting the most out of the game.

The game borrows more than a few ideas from Skylanders, but it executes on those ideas in some pretty smart ways, leveraging Disney’s properties to their utmost potential. There may be better singular Disney games out there, but as a blend of multiple properties, this is the quintessential Disney experience.

Disney Infinity is available now for the 3DS, PS3, Wii, Wii U, and Xbox 360.

Follow me on Twitter @ANTaormina

Our Rating:

3.5 out of 5

TAGS: 3DS, Avalanche Software, Disney Infinity, Disney Interactive, PS3, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360

  • boogoo

    The cost of investing in this game is holding me back. The Lone Ranger play set is about 40 bucks on its own. Pretty steep pricing but, dammit, the Toy Box level and world creating looks like a blast. If they ever come out with Marvel and Star Wars play sets, I’m screeewed.

    • ponchobill

      I feel the same way. It is Star Wars that will pull me in.

      • Jalva

        Sadly disney infinity will not include Star Wars or marvel…nor will disney infinity 2…disney infinity 3 is slated for release in 2015…with rumors of a Star Wars play set pack

  • That Guy

    Glad I found this review. I plan on buying this for my kids for Christmas. Kind of a reward thing for making sure they do good in school and get their homework done. Probably could be fun for me and the lady too.

  • Elissa

    This game is amazing but the base is a price of crap. One day it works, the next day it doesn’t. Someone needs to find out what’s wrong with this.

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  • loliver

    i think disney infinity is better because you help me on my blog i link to yours so you will get more views

  • lutero0013

    This was a huge let down from the start, disney makes you explore as a ghost like character for about 10 mins before you can even get into any action and then when you try to play the game you cant even use different characters in all the worlds which forces you to have to buy alot of expansions. The skylanders style of play is alot better in my opinion and who really wants to waste time creating worlds in toy box, dont we buy games so we can enjoy them right away? We played this game for 20 mins before posting it on craigslist!

  • Devon

    This game is a great idea. Yet there are many faults. It gives a horrible explaination as to how to play to game and what to do. We couldn’t figure out what to fo for the first 30 minutes. The info booklet that comes with the game gives absolutely no information.

  • Devon

    This game is a great idea. BUT It gives a horrible explaination as to how to play to game and what to do. We couldn’t figure out what to fo for the first 30 minutes. The info booklet that comes with the game gives absolutely no information.

  • Zaida

    This game is junk. It freezes constantly. I got it for the wii and its only a one player game even though it has space for 2 guys in the platform. They give this lame excuse about it being because of the space, reality is that they are trying to make people fork over the 300 dollars for the wii u. Junk going to return it.

    • http://firefox bluedog

      what game?

  • KJM

    We bought the starter pack for our kids for Christmas and it has completely hooked us all in, including our guests ranging from ages three to thirty six years old over the holiday.

    From the start, the introduction of the game is exceptionally well done and engages the player as it explains the possibilities within.

    We have been playing nonstop for the last three days with only the starter pack plus dash (from the Incredibles) and Mike W (from Monster’s inc./University).

    With only these two extra characters, two of the three playsets included in the starter pack are two player. I assume we’ll be picking up another pirate soon to make that playset two player as well. It would be nice if they included those in the starter pack, but, you know…it is what it is.

    The part that is truly impressive is the toybox mode, which is where you can design anything you want and use any character you want. Each “playset” (basic/ragular game mode already designed with missions, etc. and uses specific characters) has the potential to unlock new “toys” to use (in the toybox mode). The possibilities of creating are extensive with only what is given to you at the start.

    The only thing that I would personally like to see altered is some sort of “click in” option for those creating; so that each object added gets easily attached to other items previously placed (particularly for kids), rather than having to meticulously place each item (often misplacing it by only a smidge). Of course, that may be user error or personal preference. But as an option I don’t see the harm in it.

    Overall, it is a huge hit.

  • Angie

    I am very disappointed in this game. The graphics are poor. For kids that have been playing other games, it’s a big let down. We have all of the characters and there just really isn’t much to do fun!

  • Tom

    Bought this as a christmas present for the kids only to discover that 2 player mode doesn’t work on the Wii. Really miffed off with Disney as you don’t find this out until the boxes are opened and the game is used therefore making it no returnable. After speaking to the customer support team they basically tell you that its just tough luck with no explanation. This game is not fit for purpose and should be withdrawn from stores or clearly marked on the outside of the box and extra pieces that it will not function correctly. Shame on Disney, I thought more of this company but turns out to be just another rogue trader.

  • cookoo_for_cocoa_puffsss_

    This is the ideal game for Disney lovers. The graphics are top notch, and the intro is the best I’ve ever played. This really is a fun and creative game. Along with its little bug fixes, the playing content is a little bit boring, if your not in to that sort of stuff. The toy ox mode is pretty cool though, even though I suck at designing stuff😂😂😂🔫🔫🔫

  • loliver

    you are mean

  • Spencer j.

    I am personally disappointed in any reviews of this and many other games reviews are supposed to show what is good and bad about a game while nowadays all they are is paid reviews to list all of the good stuff in a game. they may even reward a trailer “Best Game of the year” with out any game play at all.

    • Spencer j.

      Well atleast most of them