‘Disney Infinity’: the new family gaming experience set to take over living rooms this summer

If last year was about Skylanders Giants, Disney Infinity is sure to be at the top of every child’s wish list this summer. The new game – which combines collectible Disney characters with in-game, virtual ones – was unveiled at a Hollywood event last week and will be launched in the UK on June 28. It takes the movie tie-in game to the next level with two clever innovations. Andy Robertson got to try out both the toys and the game in LA after the event. Here’s what he thought…

Disney Infinity uses physical toys to access in-game characters in a similar fashion to Skylanders. But here, of course, they are the Disney characters we already know and love rather than the newcomer toy creations from Activision. Place these Disney characters on the game’s own Portal of Power (Infinity Base as they are calling it) and they instantly appear on the screen ready to play.

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The game will be available for the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, Wii U and Nintendo 3DS when it launches in June.

In addition to the collectable toys there are also a series of tokens. Some of these provide special objects while others offer character upgrades when they are placed underneath particular figures on the Infinity Base. The clever (or frustrating) thing is that you can’t just go out and buy these tokens as they are sold in ‘blind’ packs of two. Players will need to trade these with each other if they are to obtain the full set.

This is a double-edged sword. Certainly it offers families a lot of fun – who doesn’t like collecting things, right? But, it also adds another layer of expense to an already costly hobby. Provided parents see the additional figures and tokens as a ‘nice to have extra’ rather than essential, the value Disney Infinity offers is pretty good.

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The game comes in a Starter pack (£54.99-£64.99) that includes three figures, the Infinity base and three play-sets. This means that you can play the following three adventures that last around six hours each:

The Incredibles

Monsters University

Pirates of the Caribbean

 

The gameplay is more advanced and varied that Skylanders, offering not only platforming, fighting and shooting but also driving, city and ship management as well as less combative tasks around the Monsters University play-set.

In addition to these franchise specific experiences you can bring all your toys together for the ‘Toy Box’ mode. This grants players the ability to create their own challenges, landscape and scenery through a simple interface. Seeing Mr Incredible racing Sully or Captain Jack is a surprisingly entertaining prospect as these franchises are usually kept separate.

For families Disney Infinity certainly ticks the right boxes, and offers something distinct to Skylanders Giants. Its split screen gameplay will suite a wider demographic and avoid the annoyingly tethered feel of Activision’s game. Equally the online multiplayer (up to four friends) will suit older players who want to play or create with other people not in the same location.

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The first wave of Disney Infinity will just be the start however. By creating a more modular approach to movie tie-in games Disney Interactive can now release new franchises, figures and play-sets as the year progresses.

With the figures and starter box already being listed in the UK they are likely to appear on Amazon.com any day now. I’m using the following links to track them as I imagine getting in early will be the way to ensure you get the figures you want. Now I just need to get the kids to decide — easier said than done.

Here’s a run-down of the first figures that are starting to appear online, if Skylanders is anything to go by getting in early will be what the savvy parents will be doing:

Pirates of the Caribbean figures:

• Jack Sparrow (Included in the Starter Pack)

• Hector Barbossa (Included as Single Pack and Sidekicks Pack)

• Davy Jones (Single Pack)

The Incredibles figures:

• Mr. Incredible (Included in Starter Pack)

• Elastigirl (Included in Sidekicks Pack)

• Dash (Single Pack)

• Violet (Single Pack)

• Syndrome (Single Pack)

Monsters University figures:

• James P. Sullivan (Included in Starter Pack)

• Mike Wazowski (Included in Sidekicks Pack)


Andy Robertson (@GeekDadGamer) produces Family Gamer TV and the Family Gaming blog.

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