Let’s get this right out of the way: Disney Infinity is nothing like Skylanders, Activision’s hit figurine-video game, despite the shared idea of toy figurines. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, you can either lower or higher our expectations.
Developed by Avalanche Software, Infinity is all about bringing your favorite Disney characters to life within their own worlds via plastic toy figurines. Available on Xbox 360, PS3, Wii and Wii U, the $74.99 Infinity “Starter Kit” includes a copy of the game, the Infinity Base, a power disc, starter play set and three character figurines: Mr. Incredible, Sulley and Jack Sparrow. It’s everything you need to start.
Additional figurines cost $12.99 each and play set pieces sell between $29.99 and $39.99 (2-3 figurines matching figurines are usually ncluded).
Infinity is not a video game in the traditional sense. It is a fusion of toys and video game with one goal: bring out your inner child and the “magic” in you.
Infinity is two types of games rolled into one — “Play Set” and “Toy Box” modes — where the former is an action-adventure set within a Disney theme world and the latter is an open-world DIY creation smorgasbord.
In Play Set, you set “play sets” on the Infinity base and then add a corresponding toy figurine from within that world. For example, if you’ve got the Incredibles play set on the base, you’ll also need a toy figurine from that world, such as Mr. Incredible. The same applies for Monsters University and Sulley, and Pirates of the Caribbean and Jack Sparrow. Sadly, you won’t be able to bring one character from one world into another, so no Mr. Incredible in the Monsters University play set.
Don’t expect a deep story from Play Set mode, though — it’s mission-based. For instance, as Sulley in Monsters University, you have to complete “scare” four monsters. Complete a mission and you get coins to buy items. Additionally, each play set world is littered with tons of items, which can be collected and saved for use in Toy Box mode.
Although Infinity isn’t a difficult game by any means and the controls are pretty easy and straightforward, I couldn’t help but feel the three starter worlds were designed primarily for younger players. That’s perfect if you’re a parent and have kids, but somewhat stale if you’re an adult looking to indulge in a deeper Disney fantasy. Kingdom Hearts, Infinity is not.
That said, multiplayer co-op is also a fun way to engage your kids in Infinity, even if the split-screen brings its own share of glitchy issues at times. (I still think Skylanders’ multiplayer co-op works better and is more entertaining, since it encourages more teamwork.)
Toy Box mode is where Infinity gets wild and weird. As its name implies, Toy Box mode is a huge cluster-of-an-open-world designed for customization and exploration. Here, you can mess with all of the items collected and saved in your Play Set campaigns. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of designing game levels (I leave that to the actual video game designers), but I can see its appeal. If you’re creative or just like to mess with things, Toy Box is going to be heaven.
True to Disney’s animation chops, Infinity is a gorgeous, gorgeous game. Each play set world is massive, with colorful environments and objects that would make Pixar incredibly proud. Characters are fluid, animated and full of charming facial expressions, and generally vibrant in every possible way.
The music is exactly what you’d expect from a Disney flick. It’s bouncy, flighty and whimsical — no doubt to appeal to Infinity’s younger target audience.
Presentation wise, Avalanche has done a superb job to ensure Infinity looks and sounds as rich and exuberant as Disney’s animated flicks.
Infinity is a fun-filled adventure, especially if you’re a huge Disney fan. Again, if you’re a fan of Skylanders (as I am), you might find Infinity a tougher game to follow. The sandbox design and heavy emphasis on creation will appeal to gamers that like customizations and designing levels, but will put everyone else off.
The Good: Gorgeous animated graphics and lively audio. Figurine toys are high-quality. Massive level designs with plenty of missions distractions provide endless hours of replay value. Toy Box mode is great for creators.
The Bad: Infinity is expensive. To really enjoy the game, you’ll need to drop the cash for more figurines and more play sets. Multiplayer co-op is glitch-laden, too. Characters can’t intermingle between different Disney worlds — ex: Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean play set won’t work in the world of Cars.