Activision’s mighty “Skylanders” series is no doubt a success, and the newly released “Disney Infinity” also will leave kids begging their parents to buy them more collectible figurines.
The starter pack consists of Sulley from “Monsters University,” Mr. Incredible from “The Incredibles” and Captain Jack Sparrow from “Pirates of the Caribbean.” But wait, there’s more. More figurines from each of these franchises can be purchased individually or in special packs, unlocking them for gameplay.
Each Play Set comes with a short campaign putting you in the universe of each character. Sulley uses stealth techniques to scare his Fear Tech rivals; Mr. Incredible punches a lot of robots in his quest to stop the evil Syndrome; and Jack Sparrow must sail the seas to stop his nemesis, Davy Jones. I found Jack Sparrow’s campaign to be the best one, as it felt like a more fleshed-out game with its mix of sailing and on-ground gameplay.
Sulley’s adventure is much more slower paced, and it quickly becomes boring. To reach the full potential of each Play Set, you’ll have to spend much more money after the initial $74.99 purchase. Each campaign can be played co-op, but only figurines specific to their universe can be used together. Mr. Incredible can’t team up with Sulley to scare his rivals, but you can purchase Sulley’s buddy, the green and one-eyed Mike, separately to join the universe. Also, some parts of the campaign can only be unlocked by certain characters, which is a little disappointing.
The massive Toy Box mode in “Disney Infinity” shows the game’s truest potential. Here, players can pick through hundreds upon hundreds of objects to make their own perfect world. Race tracks, sports games, battle arenas and much more can be created.
Elsewhere, the terrain can be altered, houses can be plunked down like balloon house from Pixar’s “Up,” and each world can be populated with tiny versions of Disney characters.
It’s very easy to lose many hours in this mode, and it definitely is the brightest part of the game.
It’s a little overwhelming at first after the game kind of plops you into the Toy Box after a fun, playable introduction. I admit I lack creativity in these type of games, so you’ll never see a tour of a magical world from me on YouTube, but the in-game tutorials are very helpful.
Unfortunately, on the Wii U version I played, loading times aren’t exactly fast when you want to switch over to a different part of the game. Also, there are numerous menu options to slog through, at times slowing the pace considerably. Slowdown continues after a character loads into the world, at one time so bad my Wii U actually froze.
The starter pack will give you some mileage, especially with the massive Toy Box mode. But “Disney Infinity” does a great job at encouraging you to buy extra content. Besides character-specific unlockables in the solo campaigns, there’s a Hall of Heroes section where you can proudly display all the characters’ statues — as long as you buy them in real life. There are a bunch of them, too, even spots for future releases like from “Toy Story,” “Wreck-It Ralph” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” I foresee many Disney figurines on kids’ Christmas lists this year.
Two other Play Sets are available right now: “Cars” and “The Lone Ranger.” These cost $34.99 each and come with new campaigns and all sorts of other goodies. Individual figurines cost $12.99 each and special three-packs will save you a little money at $29.99.
Don’t forget about Power Disc packs, either. These objects are placed underneath figurines on the Disney Infinity Base to give them special power-ups and to enhance the environment. Two discs come in a pack for $4.99, but watch out: These are blind packs, so you don’t know what you’re getting. Right now there are 20 available, and unless you’re the luckiest person in the world, be prepared for duplicates.
Disney Interactive Studios has invested a lot of money into making “Disney Infinity” the next big thing. Despite a lack of polish here and there, it looks good so far. Kids will enjoy everything it has to offer — and parents’ wallets will cry.