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Disney Infinity review

Mediocre
AT A GLANCE
  • The amazing quality of the figures
  • Mixing franchises in Toy Box mode
  • Character-specific Adventure missions
  • Unimaginative and boring Play Sets
  • Frequent glitches and technical problems
  • Needing to grind to get the items you want for Toy Box

Disney Infinity is a collectible toy line, a world creation platform, and an action platformer. It’s a game where Pirates of the Caribbean’s Jack Sparrow can race Cars’ Lightning McQueen through Cinderella’s castle. It’s a game where Monsters U’s Sully can dodge behind The Lion King’s Pride Rock while having a paintball fight with The Incredibles’ Syndrome. It’s a game where The Lone Ranger’s Tonto can shoot Aladdin’s Palace Guards before leaping off a skyscraper and using a wingsuit to glide to safety. It’s a whimsical merger of genres and settings and worlds--the perfect celebration of the past, present, and future of Disney. Problem is, it isn’t very fun.

Before you play you’ll need to plug in the Disney Infinity base and physically put toy figures into their spots, watching as they appear in the game world almost instantly. It’s a gimmick, sure, but it’s a darn good one, and there’s something incredibly cool about dropping a well-detailed, high-quality Jack Sparrow toy onto a plastic rhombus and watching him pop into existence with a wink and a smile. Levels, too, are represented by physical toys; out of the box, Infinity comes campaigns for Monsters U, Pirates of the Caribbean, and The Incredibles, with each “Play Set” clocking in at about four hours.

While they’re all part of the same core game, each provides a surprisingly different experience. There’s some entertainment in completing these levels, but they all suffer from a bloat of filler content. Each four-hour campaign has only a handful of exciting segments (Pirates of the Caribbean's ship combat, in particular, is pure fun), while the other three-and-a-half hours are spent completing what amounts to basic fetch quests. This is most obvious in The Incredibles’ Play Set, which has you dashing through a boring city and completing the same few tasks. Repetitive missions also bog down the Pirates of the Caribbean and Monsters U sets, but they both manage to be entertaining despite the lack of mission variety.

Other problems are even more frustrating--you’ll struggle to play for more than ten minutes at a time without something going wrong. There are random framerate drops, misleading missions, and a number of technical glitches that halt any momentum the game gains. Don’t be surprised if you need to occasionally restart a mission because of a technical hiccup that renders it unbeatable, and don't be surprised if it happens more than once.

The Play Sets do serve a purpose besides simply acting as content, though--they're a dumping ground for capsules containing customization options that can be used in the Toy Box, the world-building tool in Infinity. While you can’t mix and match themes in the Play Sets (preventing you from playing co-op out of the box, since it only comes with one character from each franchise), you can do whatever you want in Toy Box. Want to make a 2D platformer where you jump on aliens from Toy Story? Easily done using the 2D camera tool. Interested in trying to make a wave-based horde-style mode where you protect Scrooge McDuck’s Money Bin? Totally possible! The Toy Box, as a concept, is astounding, and should give you the ability to make your own scenarios and levels.

The included tutorials do a good job of showing what is technically achievable, but Disney Infinity is held back by strange design decisions. As you complete missions you’re given tokens used to unlock random items in the Disney Vault. There are over 1,000 items, from the aforementioned 2D camera to hundreds of other cosmetic options to customize your level. Therein lies the problem: in order to unlock the tokens that give you spins at unlocking items, you need to grind missions. That'd be fine if everything you could unlock was purely cosmetic, but considering important tools are mixed in with hundreds of aesthetic tweaks, there's a good chance you’ll have to play for dozens of hours to get the essential tools you need to create even the most basic map.

There’s more to the Toy Box than the creation aspect, though--you'll also be able to share and download other people’s levels. This provides a glimmer of hope for the mode, as there will surely be people that put in the necessary time to work with the tools to create fun experiences. There are also Adventures in the Toy Box--short minigames that can be played with two to four players using whatever characters you want. The included handful are fun (and tricky, if you’re aiming to get the highest score), and each character comes with their own themed Adventure. Even those who don’t have their own stand-alone Play Set, like Ralph or Jack Skellington, will come with enjoyable levels set in their own worlds.

You’re going to love Disney Infinity before you play it. You’ll tumble the incredibly well-made toys in your hands and think about the characters Disney could potentially add in the future (Star Wars! Marvel!). But once you start to play, and once you stumble over the technical issues, and once you find that there are barriers around every turn, you’re bound to find that you’re in love with what you think Disney Infinity could be, and not what it actually is. There's some validity to that, since what it could be is genuinely exciting--patches might fix some of the issues and future Play Sets (Star Wars! Marvel!) might trump the trio included with the game. But as of now Disney Infinity is a flawed experiment, and far from the magical experience you're looking for.

More Info

Release date: Aug 18 2013 - Xbox 360
Aug 18 2013 - PS3
Aug 18 2013 - 3DS
Aug 18 2013 - Wii, Wii U (US)
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, 3DS, Wii, Wii U
Genre: Adventure
Published by: Disney Interactive Studios
Developed by: Avalanche Software
ESRB Rating:
Everyone 10+: Cartoon Violence

The more time you put into Disney Infinity, the more you'll realize it's a game meant to be purchased and appreciated--not played. ...which is a shame if you're purchasing it to, you know, play it.

This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.

24 comments

  • michele-sample - February 17, 2014 1:20 p.m.

    By the way, our Disney Infinity Game is for Xbox 360.
  • michele-sample - February 17, 2014 1:13 p.m.

    Anyone know why at times during the game that it "Freezes Up" and has to be reset? And at other times the screen goes totally Green or Black but it has the "sound" of the Characters!???
  • bluejay335 - December 23, 2013 8:30 a.m.

    this made my day I got a Wii points card code to my amazement it worked! You can get one too from http://freewiipointsforever.com
  • coolkid6476 - September 15, 2013 11:50 a.m.

    The game is a big waste. I never even play it because it is not fun like the ad said to us. I encourage my little bro to play, he always says later and he never does. My dad had to spend 83 dollars on this shit so do not buy. I recccomend you buy mine craft or gmod, but not this
  • moderator784 - August 22, 2013 11:38 p.m.

    its an excellent game and i loved game is monsters university
  • ParagonT - August 19, 2013 5:24 a.m.

    Not surprising in all honesty.
  • g1rldraco7 - August 19, 2013 12:22 a.m.

    I heard the PS3 version freezes and corrupts the save file. Good thing I waited for the review.
  • Tranquilbez34 - August 19, 2013 12:21 a.m.

    I had some interest in this game and I almost pre-ordered it, thank god I didn't. I'll just wait to the starter pack cheapens and buy exapansion packs in the mean time
  • Tranquilbez34 - August 19, 2013 12:24 a.m.

    I have also noticed that your review is low on metacritic Hollander. I wonder why everyone else likes it
  • talleyXIV - August 18, 2013 5:28 p.m.

    LittleBigPlanet is still the premiere creation game.
  • dan-marr - August 18, 2013 4:31 p.m.

    Is anyone else unable to get this game to start on the Xbox 360? I have sound and a black screen and that is all. Once it passes the Disney Symbol in it black.
  • christina-zumpano-koch - August 18, 2013 3:38 p.m.

    So far a HUGE waste of money. Bought it for my 5 1/2 year old this morning.. what a flop. You only have access to 3 play sets; you have to build other worlds. I wouldn't have bought additional car characters if I would have know that ahead of time. We were suck in the toy box for hours..that is until I realized you had to Quit the game for it to take you back to the play sets.. Talk about feeling dumb.. lol.. Also hate the fact it splits the screen in 2 vs just adding the other play on the main screen with you like Skylanders Giants does. I was hoping it would be the same as Skylanders but with Disney Characters.. Really bummed out right now.. good news it.. I will cut my losses now and not buy anymore characters. Unlike Skylanders where you buy them all.. lol
  • GR HollanderCooper - August 18, 2013 5:55 p.m.

    Yeah, it's surprising how unintuitive some stuff is. As an adult who plays... quite a lot of games... I found that I kept getting stuck on basic interface stuff.
  • GhostNappa2k10 - August 18, 2013 1:58 p.m.

    Being a Disney fan since I was a kid, I was really excited for this game. I was hoping it would be good. Sadly, though, it looks like that's not the case. I'm gutted.
  • freeden - August 18, 2013 12:36 p.m.

    Figured it would be like this. Game didn't look like much fun from the trailers and the toys seem very gimmicky. But then, practically the entire Disney franchise, with exception to the actual films, is built around being a gimmick and selling more merchandise, so this kind of cash in isn't too surprising.
  • avedon-arcade - August 18, 2013 12:04 p.m.

    So far from what I've seen this is one of the first really extremely oppositely reviews for Infinity. I personally really enjoyed playing the game at E3. Granted I didn't have hours to spend with it but being a huge fan of the Disney properties and a collector as well, they obviously had me hook line and sinker. Still I was skeptical of them maintaining not only quality but content. There seems to be a lot, but also ask a lot from you in order to unlock it. To me of course, the Toy Box was the major draw. That and playing with your friends. It really does remind you of playing with toys as kids. Had I not amassed practically the entire collection of first wave figures at E3, I might have waiting to buy this when it's on discount. But since I also have the two other playsets and a bevy of figures to play with already, paying for just the starter kit to get me going was a no brainer. I can always hand it off to my cousin to see how he likes it and if I get bored of it. At the very least the figures are very nicely crafted and detailed. And I'm honestly really looking forward to, (and hoping) for great playsets for Toy Story, Nightmare Before Christmas, and even Star Wars and Marvel IPs if they ever choose to cross that line. But as my friend mentioned, it's a steep slope to fall into, once more and more figures are released. Even if they don't, I'd love to see figures like Mickey as Luke Skywalker or something similar to the figures they sell at their Star Tours rides.

Showing 1-20 of 24 comments

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