This year's Disney Infinity game has a trump card in play, Star Wars. This, along with some triple-A development assistance from the likes of Studio Gobo, Ninja Theory and Sumo Digital adds up to an impressive overall pedigree.
The game itself comes in the now-standard Starter Pack, although this year if you already have a Disney Infinity USB base you can re-use that and purchase the game on its own. Doing this you still need to buy figurines and Play Set packs to access content, but it means you can choose the parts of the game you really want.
However you bring Disney Infinity 3.0 into the house it is pretty impressive from the start. The characters look like their on-screen counterparts and work the Star Wars nostalgia well. In the pack you get the Twilight of the Republic Play Set that provides access to the first adventure through episodes I-III of the film series.
Gameplay feels tighter than last year's offering and gives the player more control over how they attack different enemies. A range of new moves have been added that make the brawling feel weightier, while at the same time requiring more skill. The lightsaber combat is fantastic with both melee attacks and the ability to rebound energy blasts back at enemies.
As ever there are quite a lot of fetch and carry tasks, but these are punctuated with more action and a wide array of side quests. The overall feel of the Play Set adventures is that they are well polished. Attention to detail has been high and fans of Star Wars will be well served — albeit in toy form that some may baulk at.
The Play Set adventure is only one part of the experience however, which is important to remember as it can be completed in around four hours. Once the story is done the world opens up to further exploration along with the nice additions of the space travel and vehicle races.
None of this particularly uses the Wii U hardware in innovative ways, aside from displaying additional information on the second screen. Still, it keeps things snappy visually and although not quite as top drawer looking as on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, the Wii U does everything it needs to to impress.
The other big part of the game is the Toy Box game creator. This year it is even more expansive than ever, offering an impressive slate of new controls and features. These range from helper agents that will automatically generate whole saves of landscape or architecture for your homemade games, to rail slides and path finding enemies.
The game is doing some impressive stuff here, and you can tell that the Wii U is creaking a little bit under the strain. While load times are quite long on all platforms, the Wii U seems to lag behind further. While this isn't too prohibitive, my kids would sometimes ask if it had crashed — when in fact it was just loading some content in.
This aside, the game creation itself is great on the Wii U. The second screen makes a real difference, although it takes a little while to get used to the controls. Having more screen real estate is exactly what you need in this part of the game; we found that we preferred to create on the Wii U rather than PlayStation 4.
The figures themselves are cross platform so you can bring along your collection from any system. However, with Skylanders adding articulated vehicles and Lego Dimensions offering buildable minifigures, the static Disney Infinity "toys" feel a little dated.
The final addition to the game are special Toy Box levels. These are sold via special Power Discs that unlock the content for both the Toy Box Takeover brawler and the Toy Box Speedway. The latter of these comes from Sumo Digital and offers a Sonic All Stars Racing-style experience, albeit with Disney characters.
Despite those load times, Disney Infinity 3.0 is a very strong addition to the franchise. The Star Wars content is handled well and the Toy Box additions will open game-making to a wider audience. While Disney could have rested on the knowledge that this year's brands would sell themselves, it's good to see that it's taken the game forward in substantial ways.