Disney Infinity review

by Ben Salter 5 Comments 20 Likes 35,724 Views 28/08/2013 Back to Wii U reviews Disney Infinity

A childhood Toy Box finally comes to life.

I’m currently in the midst of the insanity of moving house (apartment, actually), and almost finished the seemingly endless cycle of discarding unused items and figuring out what really deserves prime real estate on my limited shelf space. While a great many old promo discs and collector’s statues have been relegated to a dusty old box, my newfound Disney Infinity collection has secured its position as a centrepiece of my gaming display. It all begins with the highly detailed collectable figurines of Captain Jack Sparrow, Mike and Sully, and other iconic Disney toys.

This is not only Disney’s most ambitious video game project, it’s one one of the biggest gambles the industry has seen this generation. Mash-ups can be hit and miss, and it’s hard to ignore the extremely high cost factor — you’re going to be spending a lot on Play Sets and extra characters — for a game that’s aimed at children, but will find a faithful following amongst kidless collectors.

I don’t have children, but I’m inviting my bearded friends over for a play date to check out my news toys!

Disney Infinity is divided into two modes: the Play Sets, which come with three characters and an open world platforming adventure to match within their own worlds, and the Toy Box. The content is powered by the physical toys, or figurines, that sit atop the USB-connected base, much like Skylanders. While the inspiration from Activision’s money-spinning juggernaut is acknowledged, Infinity shares little in terms of gameplay, focusing on platforming over combat for the most part.

You’re not playing as Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow, but rather as the licensed toy, as if you’re a nine-year-old sitting on your bedroom floor, creating an imaginary world a million miles away. Disney Infinity recreates the magic that only a child’s imagination can provide.

You’re not playing as Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow, but rather as the licensed toy, as if you’re a nine-year-old sitting on your bedroom floor, creating an imaginary world a million miles away. Disney Infinity recreates the magic that only a child’s imagination can provide.

The toys themselves are quality built figurines attached to a base used to transmit data to the game. They’re moulded into a stationary pose, as if they’ve been frozen, so they can’t be played with like an action-figure — instead they spring to life in the virtual world.

Each of the Play Sets offers its own distinct style, depending on the characters, with plenty of laid-back variety. It’s clearly targeted at a youthful preteen market, and adults will get more enjoyment out of the nostalgic Disney charm and addictive collectables than the predetermined missions and challenges. Yet, at the same time, very young children will struggle with some of the platforming segments that feel as if they’ve been designed as a parent-child bonding exercise.

While the Play Set modes serve as a structured adventure, they soon grow repetitive as a fairly easy platformer — but that’s perfect for younger children new to gaming, growing up in the era of Super Guide and unlimited lives. 

It’s the Toy Box that sets Disney Infinity apart and allows it to blossom into a world of infinite possibilities. It’s a chance to see worlds once reserved for wild imaginations and handheld toys come to life before your eyes. The Toy Box gives you the tools to build your own worlds, from any of the Disney properties your figurines provide, and then explore, play and share them with your friends.

You can do anything you want, from turning Cinderalla's stagecoach into a rocket-shooting, beast of a machine, to creating a race track made out of candy to recreate Rainbow Road, and get the Monsters to play a spot of oversized football. In its simplest form, Disney Infinity's Toy Box is a place to go a crazy with a breadth of seemingly limitless content.

It’s expanded by Power Discs, tazo-esque items that are bought randomly in packets of two and placed under the character on the base to inject new items, abilities and stats into the Toy Box. The blind-box nature of the packaging ensures you’ll get doubles, making school yard trades a necessity like the tokens found in chip packets of yesteryear.

Minecraft players will feel at home in the structureless sandbox, while less imaginative players can ease themselves in with a prebuilt playground to tinker with. The creation options are a little convoluted but with time become simple enough for anyone who’s ever designed a masterpiece in MS Paint, and the wealth of options will ensure there’s plenty of surprises weeks, and months, into the experience.

The conundrum for parents is drawing the line despite pleas from charming kiddies. You’ll need at least a couple of Play Sets, the Starter Pack and its three characters alone won’t be enough, but with more to be released over the coming months, buying them all now would be a mistake. While some of the toys and items in the Toy Box are unlocked by completing missions, others are tied to specific figurines. Whereas the Toy Box is open to all characters, the Play Set mode is restricted to specific properties, so Sully can’t join Jack Sparrow, for example — making at least one of the launch Play Sets a mandatory addition.

The real test for Infinity will be time. It’s launched with an impressive array of characters, but will the fun grow exponentially as the character roster does? The possibilities, at least right now, seem limitless, but long term it is entirely dependent on regular cast updates and a consumer willingness to go out and buy them.

The Final Verdict

Disney Infinity is all about imagination. It’s the virtual recreation of the amazing worlds you brought to life on your childhood bedroom floor, limited only by the power of your mind. The predetermined missions and challenges offers a more structured, albeit repetitive, experience and it’s the infinite Toy Box where Disney Infinity really shines. The collectable, and mandatory, toy figurines send the total cost of the complete collection skyrocketing, but even a limited selection of toys will leave any Disney fan with more than enough content to be satisfied for months to come.

Disney Infinity

Got Right
  • + Toys come to life!
  • + Limited only by your imagination
  • + Great for parents and kids to play together
  • + An unbelievable amount of content
Got Wrong
  • - Becomes repetitive
  • - The full package is expensive
Platform: Wii / PS3 / Xbox / WiiU
Similar to: Skylanders
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Disney Infinity review Comments

  • Matteh 163230 XP 28/08/2013
    I'd play it if it wasn't based around the stupid figurines you have to buy. -_-
  • Olly 34243 XP 29/08/2013 +2
    Good review, I love the game but I want some of the older stuff like an Aladdin Playset would be awesome [Derp]
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  • rancid13 976 XP 31/08/2013
    older stuff will no doubt be implemented eventually.
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