Piggybacking off of the success of the Skylanders franchise, Disney Infinity hopes to capture the hearts of children who are growing up on Disney. Taking many of the newer Disney properties, Disney Infinity allows players to traverse several diverse Disney worlds, each a different game genre in itself. Unfortunately, though, the sheer amount of worlds amount for an even larger amount of expensive characters. As a result, although Disney Infinity can be incredibly memorable and unique for children, the guarantor may not be as satisfied with the price.
The starter bundle comes with three characters: Mr. Incredible, Sully, and Cpt. Jack Sparrow. Along with each character comes access to their respective play set, what gamers know as worlds. Additional characters can then be purchased in order to access new play sets. Unfortunately for parents, though, if a character is bought for a play set that is already owned, no actual gameplay is added. If a player plays through the Pirates of the Caribbean campaign as Cpt. Jack Sparrow, for example, there isn’t much value to going back through the campaign as Davy Jones. All the missions are the same, gameplay is nearly identical, and the only change is that a few previously locked chests are now accessible by the new character. Gameplay-wise, there is no value in spending $15 on a new character for a set that is already owned.
Herein lies one of the biggest problems of Disney Infinity: its price. The starter pack is priced at $75, fifteen dollars above the normal retail price of a game. Each play set provides about four hours of gameplay. Therefore, when finished with all three campaigns, the $75 only bought 12 hours of gameplay. Sure, collectibles and challenge missions can extend the life of the game by a few more hours, but in reality, Disney Infinity is quite the pricy proposition. Factor in the fact that each additional character runs players $15, and the prospect of purchasing Disney Infinity becomes a bit more daunting.
Fortunately, once the price hurdle is overcome, there is a lot of fun to be had within Disney Infinity. Kids will absolutely adore the quirky style of the game and all the detail that was put into it. Whether it is the swagger of Cpt. Jack Sparrow’s stride, the destructible environments within Metroville, or the scaring mechanics within Monsters University, all the detail that went into Disney Infinity goes an incredibly long way in ensuring that kids are immersed in the experience.
Even beyond that, the game design consistently proves that the designers at Disney are geniuses when it comes to creating the game in a way to guarantee that gamers don’t put their controller down. Since most of Disney Infinity’s target demographic has ADHD at their current age, the five-minute-long mission structure ensures that children will not be getting bored. Add in the fact that at any time players can swap from world to world, and most younger players will be hooked in for the entire duration of the experience.
Fortunately, Disney Infinity offers up a lot for those who are older gamers as well. Constant change-ups in gameplay style and genre ensure that older gamers do not get bored. One minute, players will be mashing robots, then another minute they will be racing in a car, then flying in a helicopter, then using a toilet-paper-gun to ransack a campus, then sneaking into a dorm, then doing stunts on a dirt bike, then sword fighting, and then even completing basic platforming. The list goes on and on. Every mission is unique and most of the mechanics work very well. As a result, Disney Infinity is able to not only capture the attention of younger audiences, but also allows for older gamers to have tons of fun as well.
Unfortunately, with such a wealth of content comes a decent amount of problems as well. Disney Infinity not only contains minor graphical glitches, such as clipping and frame rate drops, but more serious issues as well. Throughout my playthrough, my Wii U froze up four times, prompting a restart each time. Although not a big issue on the grand scheme of things, since the game is constantly autosaving, restarting my whole Wii U can be quite a tedious process.
Some other technical issues include a questionable camera, awful helicopter controls that don’t work, missions that are not recognized by the game as completed, and two different voice tracks that play simultaneously when they are not supposed to. When these technical issues are coupled with the fact that multiplayer can only be played when two characters are owned from the same set, and that customization within the game is incredibly shallow, we come to realize that Disney Infinity has fallen short of greatness.
The Toy Box
Aside from the main game, there is also a Toy Box mode present for those players with creative minds. Using in-game assets, players can construct worlds, design missions, and upload/download levels from the internet. Unfortunately, due to the limited amount of assets present, and the overall style of Disney Infinity, each world created fails to really feel unique; more of a rearranging of what has been already created. As a result, creation within Disney Infinity fails to be truly memorable, and user-created missions do not feel unique.
Disney Infinity has a lot going for it when it comes to brand recognition, quirkiness, and just plain fun. Unfortunately, technical issues and high costs come to be potential barriers for those looking to pick up the game. Sure, it can be a blast to play as some of your favorite Disney characters, but ultimately purchasing the full game plus extra characters is quite daunting. For those unconcerned with price, Disney Infinity will be worthwhile, but for those saving pennies, Disney Infinity may turn out to be quite the disappointment.