(Wii U)

Disney Infinity (Wii U)

Game Review

Disney Infinity Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Ron DelVillano

Infinite possibilities, infinite potential

The first impression that some on the periphery have of Disney Infinity is that it can easily be written off as a direct copy of the Skylanders blueprint. In truth, what we have here is an action-adventure game that uses real-world figures and implements them in the video game as playable characters, which is similar in formula to Skylanders, but that’s where the similarities both begin and end. Rather than thinking of it as ripping-off the Skylanders design, Disney Infinity should instead be considered as a new entry in this budding genre that combines physical toys with digital games. Nintendo, alongside developer Ambrella, is already delving into this new genre with the release of Pokémon Rumble U, and it could also be argued that games using AR technology, such as Kid Icarus: Uprising, are doing similar things as well. Suffice it to say, the popularity and demand for these types of games is definitely growing.

Jumping right in, the first thing that you’ll notice — after playing through the soul-filling, tear-jerking marvel that is the game’s introduction — is that gameplay is divided up into two sections: Play Sets and the Toy Box. Play Sets are the more structured style of play, placing you in an open world themed after one of several Disney universes. The Toy Box, on the other hand, is a completely unstructured world creation platform that allows you to build just about anything that you could ever dream up. Both portions of gameplay differ greatly from one another, but each creates an equally unique experience that shouldn’t be missed

The Infinity starter pack comes packaged with Play Sets from Monsters University, Pirates of the Caribbean, and The Incredibles. After selecting which universe you would like to play in, you then simply need to place your desired character on the included Infinity Base, and you’ll be dropped into an open world. Each Play Set contains its own plot that is conveyed through a series of story missions, but there are plenty of side missions to accept from needy citizens as well. Completing missions will earn currency that can be used to purchase items in the Play Sets that can then also be used in the Toy Box. Not unlike the popular LEGO series, the difficulty is set relatively low, and death has no tangible consequences, but it’s still fun to charge through the Play Sets and experience the worlds contained within.

Unfortunately, characters can only exist within their own universes, so you won’t be able to fight in the Pirates universe as Mr. Incredible, but that potential variety does become available when you eventually switch over to playing in the Toy Box. Play Sets also support local multiplayer, allowing for split screen action between you and a friend, but again, you will need to invest in at least one other figure from the corresponding universe if you want to play cooperatively. Despite their open world nature, each of the included Play Sets only take around seven hours or so to see and complete everything, but — at the time of writing — there are additional Play Sets featuring The Lone Ranger and Cars universes available at retail. The existence of these additional Play Sets points to the potential for unlimited expansion of the core game, very similarly to how downloadable content works with other retail titles.

As a fairly straightforward action-adventure game within the Play Sets, the controls here are kept relatively simple, but they’re not without their confusions. Controlling your character follows the standard formula of left stick to move and lettered buttons to jump and attack, but selecting objects and performing other tasks can be cumbersome. Rather than assigning one button to regularly take care of special actions, the game jumps between pressing X, Y, and A in a seemingly random pattern. The same action is always performed using the same button, but you’ll never know what button you’re supposed to press until the game explicitly tells you to do so. It’s a strange and flawed design, but once you’ve invested some time into the game, you will begin to grow accustomed to its quirks. Inconsistencies aside, the controls are tight, allowing for quick maneuvers and precision platforming when called for. You also have the option of playing the entire game off-screen on the Wii U GamePad.

Unlike the various Play Sets, Toy Box mode leaves the structured mission-based play style behind to opt for an open world creative platform. Whether your goal in life is to build and jump off of the tallest tower in the world, or if you want simply want to build a racetrack on which you can outpace all of your friends, the Toy Box allows you to make it happen. Playing through the Play Sets and earning money allows you to purchase and unlock new assets to use in the Toy Box, but then it’s completely up to you to choose what you do with them. Want to build a complex hedge maze riddled with traps? Go ahead. You’d rather build an arena and fight baddies in it Thunderdome style? That’s fine too. Whatever you can accomplish in the Toy Box is limited only by your imagination. If you’re not one for building, you also have the option of downloading previously built Toy Boxes from Disney’s server, so there’s definitely something for everyone; there’s always the promise of plenty more to come. The Toy Box also supports multiplayer exploration, allowing up to four people to join and play simultaneously online.

While most of the Disney assets become available to you through unlocking, there are certain items and effects that are only available through the use of Power Discs. These discs, when placed on the Infinity Base, give your characters special abilities such as extra strength or health, but there are also some that instead place new items or themes into your Toy Box. Collecting all of these Discs can lead to some new and interesting creative possibilities, but they are also optional purchases and completely unnecessary towards getting the most out of this game.

Standing right beside all of the great things that the Toy Box is capable of, there is also the plain fact that the system is a bit confusing at first. Not unlike the finicky controls, the Toy Box can take a while to grasp, but once you’ve got the system down it’s all smooth sailing. Exclusive to the Wii U version of Infinity, too, are the GamePad’s touchscreen controls, which are implemented intuitively into the Toy Box. Rather than having to constantly open and close menus in search of the right piece of landscape or character that you want to place in your world, the GamePad’s touchscreen allows you to access all of your assets right in your hands, never detracting from what you’ve already built on screen. This system makes for effortless switching between objects, something that is a refreshing feature when considering the complexity of some Toy Box creations.

Disney Infinity may not be the most detailed looking or graphically taxing game that we’ve ever seen, but creating a realistic and gritty game based on the Disney universe would sort of be missing the point. All of the environments here are colourful and brimming with variety, just as you would expect to see in a Disney or Pixar film. The character models are more on the cartoony end of the spectrum, fashioned to look exactly as they do in their physical figure counterparts. Keep in mind that everything in-game is supposed to be a toy, so they are designed to look the part. There are some slight graphical hiccups, such as characters getting stuck in walls or the occasional choppy animation, but this occurs no more often than one might see or expect from any other open world game. It’s admittedly tiresome to see games in which these fallacies still appear, but it doesn’t occur to the point of ruining the overall experience. There are some more grating technical flaws, such as long load times and a sometimes-wily camera, but if you’re able to overlook the occasional hitch then the complaints are mostly grasping at straws.

The soundtrack here is on par with the Disney standard, featuring music and effects from the films being represented. Characters are fully voice acted during cinematic scenes, and they even shout out some classic dialogue during gameplay. The majority of NPCs are also voice acted, giving detailed instructions on tasks that they request of you, further deepening the rabbit hole of quality that was put into making the fictional universes come to life.

Conclusion

Getting the most out of Disney Infinity is both an investment of time and money. Between collecting Play Sets, character figurines, and Power Discs, it can indeed be an expensive venture, but it’s also an investment that has the potential to pay off in a huge way. It’s not a perfect game with its occasionally flaky controls, long load times and low difficulty level, but it more than makes up for these flaws with its fun and engaging gameplay. Whether you’re more interested in the structured style of the Play Sets or the unhinged nature of the Toy Box, this game absolutely contains a little bit of something for everyone.

From what we’ve seen so far, Disney Infinity intends to live up to its name, constantly expanding its universe through the release of new figures and Play Sets, but only time will tell how long the trend will last. For our money, we hope that the franchise continues thriving for years to come.

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User Comments (62)

Squashie

#1

Squashie said:

Looks like a fantastic game! The price is a bit hefty, but I'll be picking this up nonetheless.

Mickey

#3

Mickey said:

Definitely going to get this game this Christmas! It's at the top of my wish list!

odd69

#4

odd69 said:

Seems like the perfect combination of collecting game swag and playing games all in one. I like the fact that its Disney too rather than sky sklanders

Whopper744

#6

Whopper744 said:

Me and my wife are in our mid twenties and are really enjoying this! Definitely worth it!

Firejonie

#7

Firejonie said:

Got it over the weekend. I'm having a blast with it, especially the Toy Box. Also enjoying The Incredibles campaign.

daveh30

#8

daveh30 said:

Been playing this one with my 4 year old since launch. He loves the playsets, so we play a lot of co-op in those, then after his bedtime, daddy builds in the toybox. This one has been an ever bigger time-suck than MineCraft

DestinyMan

#10

DestinyMan said:

I've been debating internally for a while whether to get this or not because of the prices and the bunch of Nintendo games coming later this year, but I may finally take the bait. Both of my parents have expressed interest in the game, and my dad isn't even a gamer at all. The Disney fan in me wants to use this to make Disney versions of Super Mario Bros. and Mario Kart to please my inner Nintendo fan, among other renditions. The Toy Box is where I would spend the bulk of the time and I could easily spend hours on it, so the big investment would be all worth it. I'll be getting the Wii U version, the best version, for Christmas.

unrandomsam

#11

unrandomsam said:

Infinite Cost is the main goal of Disney.

(I think I will get a US Saturn and Panzer Dragoon Saga instead.)

For the cost it should be absolutely perfect in every way.

jpfan1989

#12

jpfan1989 said:

So far I've only ventured into the POTC playset but I am pleased with what I've seen, I was supposed to get barbosa and a power disc but they seem to have been lost in the mail.. I need the check up on that but as for the game so far Jack is kept in character pretty well especially in the movement animations the little things that are very jack like impressed me.
I hope for a Lion King playset in the future I want Simba!

Chris720

#14

Chris720 said:

The only thing that would stop me buying this is the fact you have to character figurines to okay with that particular character which sucks. But its definitely a superb looking game.

unrandomsam

#15

unrandomsam said:

Just the powerdisks are £100 for a complete set on ebay.

(And to have the whole thing you need 4 complete sets so £400).

tovare

#16

tovare said:

I think it offers excellent value for money, alhough i would recommend either the villains or sidekick sets to play local split screen co-op through the adventures.

Gridatttack

#17

Gridatttack said:

Nice review. Thought, that limitation of only playing in the character universe in the 'story' mode is meh...

They could atleast made it so when you finished the playset for the first time, you could use any other character that its not from the series, perhaps guaranteeing a second run through the playset.

Ralizah

#18

Ralizah said:

Brother-in-law bought it for his son on the 360. It's meh. The controls are sluggish, the gameplay is limited, and most of the characters being featured are ones I have no interest in. I might take another look when I can start exploring Agribah, a mermaid kingdom or something to that effect.

rjejr

#19

rjejr said:

Nice review, makes the game sound tempting, when it hits an attractive price point (either the game should be free or the toys half of what they are now - not both, either) and when they finally cover some Disney properties that I care about.

Needing extra figures to play multiplayer in the set pieces is also holding me back. How many can play offine in toybox mode?

We're really looking forward to Lego Marvel multiplayer w/ 100 characters and no toys to buy. $50 on Amazon w/ $10 credit.

Relias

#20

Relias said:

Good Review.. and looks good.. but for 74.99.. plus figures... plus me on limited gaming budget equals no getting it right now... I might look into Skylander Giants instead.. but even that is a stretch... still the figures are available for a nice price.. and the game itself is going for a reasonable price..

Einherjar

#21

Einherjar said:

I cant stand the stuff Disney is making the last couple of years and i cant stand these figurene games, so a definite no go for me.

SphericalCrusher

#22

SphericalCrusher said:

Game is a blast! Got it to play with my son. We need to invest more time into it, but we've picked up several additional characters and pieces.

ferthepoet

#24

ferthepoet said:

I love Disney but I am against the idea of games that require you to buys toys for accessing content, if this was a normal game I'll buy it in an instant

Kaine_Morrison

#25

Kaine_Morrison said:

I just finished the Pirates Game with Jack.
He's at Level 11.
Walmart, on the week of release had the 3 packs on sale for a little less than half price, Mine just came in the mail today.
I'm going to go Play with Barbossa next.

Target this week has a buy 2 get one FREE deal!
All I need is Violet, Davy Jones and the bad guy from Incredibles.
It's sheaper doing it that way than buying the 3 pack Villians and getting Violet by herself.

I don't care for Cars or Monsters Inc/Uni!

blackside

#26

blackside said:

A complete ripoff having to buy separate toys just to play half assed wee games that aren't any good anyway...
The game is mostly getting bad reviews across the board...
I feel sorry for parents that will be forking out insane amounts of cash for this crap.

unrandomsam

#29

unrandomsam said:

@Relias You need to buy the game + playsets + powerdisks + figures. At its cost it should be the best game ever made period. (And on a completely different level to anything any else that is likely to be made for the next years).

unrandomsam

#30

unrandomsam said:

Castle of Illusion is quite good. (Think it is better than DuckTales - and its £5 cheaper). There again I only played the Master System version so the situation is unlike the DuckTales one for me.

WinterWarm

#32

WinterWarm said:

@X-Factor

Maybe the fact that the game is massive? There's also writing the review, spell-checking, and the fact that people don't write reviews exclusively for X-Factor.

Hey, anyone played the 3DS version? Is it downgraded?

HappyHappyist

#33

HappyHappyist said:

i wasn't sold on this before, but now i'm interested! too bad i'm too poor to ever own anything as expensive as something like skylanders or infinity, but it's a living. might end up playing this at a friend's house. great review!

unrandomsam

#34

unrandomsam said:

@WinterWarm From what I can tell the reviews are written primarily for Disney. (Same as all the rest there is only one I have found that mentions anything about potential costs - me being all or nothing means all I care about is the cost for the lot).

ricklongo

#36

ricklongo said:

I'd definitely get this if it weren't for the money-sink structure. Sounds like it can be pretty fun.

Marioman64

#37

Marioman64 said:

so it's little big planet for the non sony people out there, cool
I have to wonder though, for this and skylanders, are all the missions and characters in the actual game disc, or do they put the whole worlds and stuff on the characters? because if someone hacked it to allow you to play as EVERYBODY without having the actual character, they would lose TONS of money

Gerbwmu

#38

Gerbwmu said:

I picked up the game for my sons for Christmas. Got the game, Mater, Holly Shiftwell, Cars Playset, & power disks all for under $100. They both love the Cars movies so it doesn't seem all that expensive considering what I got and what my boys will get to play.

AcesHigh

#39

AcesHigh said:

I bought this game for my 3 1/2 year old and myself to play together. And I have to say, we play it ALL the time. It's a great way for him to get into the the realm of controlling characters, cause and effect, etc. Especially when he loves all the Disney characters like mad. This is a great game with tons of depth. And it's not just the Play Sets and Toy Box. Those are the two major modes. But inside each, there are special trials, missions, pre-made toy boxes and Toy Box "adventures" designed to help you learn how to play and design within your toy box. And the great thing about this universe is it's "modularity". For instance, the Monsters, Incredibles and Pirates Playsets have a different type of game play. And The Cars Play set is more centered around racing as well as the standard mission stuff. So all in all, this is a great game for you or you and your kids to "grow in to" as you can buy new disks, figures and play sets as time goes on to make it fresh. Yeah it's a lot of money. But just watch how much you get sucked in and pick and choose how you want to expand. No one says you have to buy everything.

Now for the complaints. And they are pretty big. In fact, if it weren't for how good the core of the game is, I'd probably not be playing as long as I have with my son.
1. The menus are very confusing and not very intuitive. And they seem to be almost random at times. Moving from Toy Box to Play Sets is very cumbersome. It's a different method going from one to the other and vice versa. And there are way too many confirmations. Too many button clicks to save games or move around. In essense, the UI (User Interface) feels like it was made as a middle school basic programming project.
2. This bit is maddening... when going to a play set, the default option is to start a new game as opposed to continue. While you can have multiple toy box saves, as far as I can tell, you can't with the Play Sets. Soooo... if my 3 1/2 year old starts a Play Set session and chooses "New Game" in the Incredibles because that's the default menu selection, he plays a while and the auto save kicks in, guess what happens to the hours you've spent in the previous save? Gone. The universal convention in most games I've seen to this point (they also use in the Toy Box by the way) is for the first menu option be the continue and the "New" option to be select-able. For parents playing with young children and trying to teach them to play on their own, this is a must. I've lost at least 3 late saves because of this. Just switch the default option to load the previous save. The inconsistency is a level of polish I would not expect in a retail release.
3. Using the nun-chuck in the Toy Box, pressing "+" to enter edit mode seems to be random. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.
4. Frame rate is not very good. It actually slows down quite a bit. Especially in split screen mode. Way more often than I'd like. Not sure if X360 or PS3 versions do this. ??
5. Load times are atrocious. This is like pre-Spring Update bad. This needs to be fixed if people are going to keep playing this over time and buying expansions to the overall product family.

So while the game is very fun, very promising and shows a ton fo potential for kids to grow with it, the execution and general game-governing mechanics is terrible. With all of this, I still play it daily with my son and love the bonding time it offers. I would love the developer, however, to invest in some polish if they want me to invest even more over time.

cdude

#40

cdude said:

I bought this game and the two playsets in their release week on a whim and ive been more than pleased in all honesty, granted i got the playsets at half price but, still, theres a lot here to like if youre attracted to colorful action platformers.

You dont need to buy all the figures either. In fact theres next to no reason at all to do so unless you just really like that character because 99% of every playset can be fully experienced with the characters that come with it. i've not taken a second look at the power discs either and i have no plans to.

Im just getting the playsets that come out and a favorite figure here and there and im having a ball with the whole thing. Kudos to disney for doing this right instead of going the skylanders route. Now all they ogotta do is fix some parts of the menu.

Nico07

#41

Nico07 said:

@Kaine_Morrison Toy Box has become one of my favorite areas of the game. Building treasure caves with rolling boulders and walls to scale makes for some great multiplayer mayhem levels. Of course to unlock all of the great stuff in the game you need to play through playsets and unlock vault spins. The Incredibles playset is one of my favorites, having invested over 12 hours in this section alone I am still finding challenges to complete. This game is great.

Dogpigfish

#42

Dogpigfish said:

This is a great game, but occasionally the portal can be buggy and/or have trouble reading the tokens. From the news it appears Wii U's version is the least problematic. Would be nice to have pro controller support, but the nunchuk is fairly easy to use. This game feels rushed, but the campaigns feel polished and lengthy. I like how each campaign is fairly different, but all are open world.

Dogpigfish

#43

Dogpigfish said:

Two more things, this game is basically Crackdown tailored to kids and families. Toy box is NOT minecraft. In retrospect, it's poor in delivery. The most negative part is lining up tracks and buildings as there isn't any handicap, can't be done well using a control stick. On the positive side, there are a lot of pieces to use like Little Big Planet. Maybe a watered down version of Halo Reach forge. This is a good game and well worth the $75, however expansions and figures are severely overpriced and I found that adding a different pirate served no purpose other than to play 2 player in that land. Hopefully it will be competitively priced when swap force comes out.

ThumperUK

#44

ThumperUK said:

What is interesting about this game is that the TV ad (UK) is for the WiiU version (with a line on the closing credits saying Wii version also available). I've seen more ads for this than for any other WiiU game (and not seen any for the 'wonderful' Wonderful 101). Not seen any for the PS3/Xbox. I wonder whether it is Disney or Nintendo paying for this ad, and could this finally be a game to increase the WiiU user base??

unrandomsam

#45

unrandomsam said:

@Dogpigfish For the amount it costs (For the lot including the power disks) it should have a version of Sugar Rush that is as good as Mario Kart 8. A version of Aladdin better than the Megadrive one and should be perfect in every way.

Azikira

#47

Azikira said:

Nobody seems to mention how much this game really chugs on Wii U. It's fun and all, but it has weird glitches and frequent slowdowns.

MKCustodial

#48

MKCustodial said:

I can't wait. Got a couple of questions, maybe the reviewer knows the answers to them.

1) On multiplayer online, is it multi-plataform or (in our case) Wii U only?

2) Every time I want to use an item, I have to place it on the portal? Meaning, every time I want to go through a play set, use a character or a certain land scheme on toy box, the matching real-life peace has to be in place?

3) Connected to the question above, how does the game work "locking" stuff to your system? Meaning: power discs come in blind packs, so we're bound to have repeats that can be traded with other fans. But is there anything discouraging me from getting half of the figures and a neighbor the other half, than using them all in one system?

aaronsullivan

#49

aaronsullivan said:

Why does everyone think it costs so much? It's $15 more than a retail game and it comes with actual hardware and 3 figurines that are very well made.

There's a decent amount of game in it which can be expanded over time... or not.

There are many, many deals to be had as well. As someone said Target is having a buy 2 figurines get one free this week. At launch they had the extra playsets at half off and then there was the pre-order deal.

Anyway, I have a very creative daughter (and son) and the Toy Box alone will last many more hours than most games will for them.

I do understand the dread of maybe being very tempted by the figurines because I am a fan of many of them. Certain toys will end up on my inspiration shelf when not in use. :D Still, that just means they have more value to me. In other words, NOT a rip-off. Also, these toys have cards which unlock uses online and in mobile apps, so the value is not all in the one game or just the object itself.

TheAdza

#50

TheAdza said:

I might jump in. Kind of got over Skylanders. But the until the few issues with the Wii U version are patched out, I'm not going to get it. I am in fact leaning more towards Swap Force anyway due to already having a good amount of figures, and the Disney franchises so far for Infinity don't really appeal to me. Perhaps cars does, but if this was Lion King or Up or Wall E, I'd be down to get some figures and playsets of those.

DarkEdi

#51

DarkEdi said:

How many dollars does the figures cost?

Because here in Mexico are very expensive, almost $230 pesos ($18 dlls) per figure and the pack of 3 figures is at $500 pesos ($39 dlls aprox)

The same is for Skylanders, here the figures are at $150 pesos ($12 dlls aprox) and it is the reason i never buyed that game.

MKCustodial

#53

MKCustodial said:

@DarkEdi They haven't come out here in Brazil yet, but you may consider yourself very lucky. Our takes are INSANE and exchange rates aren't helping right now. Check out OUR supposed prices, which I've already converted to dollars based on the current rates: US$ 130 for the Starter Set, which will have Portuguese dubbing, don't know if you'll be able to change it back to English like many other games that come out down here. US$ 75 for a Play Set. US$ 35 for a single figure, US$ 70 for a three-pack. And US$ 15 for the Power Disc packs.

BulbasaurusRex

#56

BulbasaurusRex said:

Eh, Toy Box mode sounds boring, and I'd much rather have the decent challenge that Skylanders provides.

EpicGamer

#57

EpicGamer said:

@MKCustodial
1. I'm not 100% sure on this, but I heard with the multiplayer, you can play with someone from ANY console. It doesn't have to be with people that JUST have the Wii U version. But, once again, I'm not tottaly sure on this. Maybe just try and see for yourself. Like, if you have a friend or relative that has it on a different console from you, then you can try it with him/her.

2. First off, yes. In order to go to a specific play set. You NEED to put the play set piece on the base. But don't worry, the starter pack has a play set with Monster's University, The Incredible, and Pirates of The Caribbean all in one piece. And, yes, you must do this with the "figures" and "power discs" as well. But, in the toy box mode, it already has some items, enemies, and stuff. If you want like REALLY awesome riding animals/vehicals or weapons, you'll need to collect some power discs. Such as Mickey's car, Mulan's horse, "Khaan," and weapons like Stitch's blaster. But, power discs aren't required for the play sets (you can't use them in the play sets), just for the toy box mode if you want extra content.

3. The figures, play sets, and power discs don't exactly "lock" to your system. The only thing that happens is, once you put a figure on the base, their will be a message at the top of the screen that says "congratulations: you have taken ownership of this figure." Basically, all that really means is the gameis confirming that you own the piece. But, if you were to take the figure to your friends house, and put it on their base, I'm pretty sure it'd just repeat that message. So, the figure is NOT locked to your system. Now, with he power discs, I'm pretty sure you could do that. I don't see why not.

jayblue

#60

jayblue said:

Just bought this can`t wait till it arrives something good to play on the u.

Nibelilt

#61

Nibelilt said:

Gah, I've been unsure of wether to keep this.

I really like how simple it is and how I can jump right into it, but I don't like the fact that all the figures are playing pretty much the same, and some parts of the toy box feel very stupidly restricted.
I do really love the figures, but I don't really know if this game is worth keeping the space and spending money for them, plus it takes up quite a lot of time.

Minecraft is a better sandbox for me and the play sets are just good(and I finished them all quite some time ago- Toy Story seems to be the only other one coming out this game). I've been tossing this up for some time now.
It's a great game, but it feels like a bit... Well, something is missing. I haven't really picked it up for a lengthy session in a couple of weeks.

Nico07

#62

Nico07 said:

Just noticed last night that a patch was applied to the game and you can now start and play the game using the Wii U Pro controller. So if you want to play the game for three days straight without the need to recharge or plug in the GamePad, now you can. :)

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