If you’re not aware of this game, it uses much the same technology as the popular Skylanders game. The game comes with a special base unit, and, when you place real figurines on the base, they translate into the game, allowing you to play that particular monster or character. In this case, however, the figurines are of Disney characters, such as Sully from Monsters, Inc., Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean, and Mr. Incredible from The Incredibles.
I suspect this is going to be an enormous hit for Disney, and I’d like to tell you why.
We’ve barely scratched the surface of the storyline parts of the game, but it has them. It’s possible to do a full storyline with the Incredibles fighting Syndrome, for example, or Captain Jack Sparrow working to rescue his crew and do pirate things. Two people can play together, and they can play different characters. Right now, we have both the Mr. Incredible and Dash figures, so there’s a lot of tandem play of them through the Incredibles storyline. Once we get the Elastigirl and Violet figures, there might be more options with characters that have totally different powers.
As each new “playset” comes out, it seems likely that there’ll be more storylines. Playsets have already been announced for The Lone Ranger, Cars, and Toy Story in Space. Each one will almost certainly have new stories, items, and characters from their respective franchises.
Beyond the scripted play, however, there are challenge adventures – little mini-games where you collect balls in a timed session, or try to knock opponents out of a playing field as the field slowly disappears beneath you. There’s also the Toy Box, which gets its own section.
The Toy Box
In addition to the storylines you’re given to play through, you’re also given an incredibly versatile set of expanding building tools. You can use these tools to create your own challenges, adventures, and settings in the game.
As we ran around the basic world, we found ourselves very organically using the toy box to solve problems. Couldn’t get to an item we wanted? We would open the editor and make bridges out to it. Didn’t like the sky? There’s a tool to change it. Some of the sets include things like racing terrain for driving around, enemies to fights, and what they call creativi-toys – items that can be linked together to create an effect.
Although I never played it myself, experimenting with the Toy Box reminded me of what I’ve seen of Minecraft, and I have a feeling that people who enjoy building block type games will love this aspect of it. I know I found myself pondering its uses in storytelling as we ran around collecting XP. And although the basic building blocks are just that – basic – there’s clearly room for expansion, which brings me to the real reason I think this game is going to rock it out.
The basic game comes with Sully, Mr. Incredible, and Captain Jack Sparrow, but maybe those characters don’t appeal to you. Maybe your kids love the characters from Cars? Well, no worries; they’re coming soon. Or maybe you’ve seen some sneak peeks of the new movie Frozen and want to play with those characters? They’re coming, as are favorites like Jack Skellington, Rapunzel, and Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey.
Now, when you collect these characters, you’re not just buying a download – you’re buying a figurine which unlocks the character in the game. So you’ve got both the character to play in the game and a really cool stylized figurine of a favorite character. It’s brilliant!
On top of this, there are power discs that you can buy that add items and themes to your game. We have Stitch’s blaster (a very powerful ranged weapon), Cinderella’s Coach (a very fast racing vehicle), and the Tulgey Wood (an Alice-in-Wonderland environment pack). Now, what’s cool about the Coach and the Tulgey Wood is that they come with soundtrack pieces. So if you’re racing around in Cinderella’s Coach, there’s music and sound effects from Cinderella going on. If you’re in the Tulgey Wood, you hear music from Alice in Wonderland. Other discs give your characters stat bumps or add new toys to the toy box, and some can be combined together to create specific combination effects.
Yes, you see where I’m going with this. Once you start grabbing them, you’re probably going to want them all. Personally, I’m hungering for the Tangled theming, as one part of it fills the sky with floating lanterns, which looks pretty stunning in the previews I’ve seen.
I feel like Disney Infinity fills that niche of game that I’m always pleased by. Just like I would rather play DC Universe Online than City of Heroes because I already have an attachment to the characters, I’d rather play a game like this with Disney characters than something like Skylander where I have no previous emotional attachment. Plus, there’s the humor value of seeing incongruous images in the Toy Box like Captain Barbossa flying around on a Tron Recognizer.
All in all, although my experience with this game is yet new, I’m impressed, and I think it’s going to be huge.
Have you tried Disney Infinity yet? Do you agree with me? Disagree? Let us all know.