Don’t you dare
write off Disney Universe as “just for kids.” Are the LEGO games just for kids?
No, they’re ultra-charming interactive takes on beloved franchises that anyone
with thumbs can understand, play, and enjoy. Now imagine that style of
all-inclusive gameplay, shelled in almost a century’s worth of beloved material,
and you’ve got an appeal that covers everyone from hardcore gamers to grandmas.
will be positively giddy about the fan service here. And we’re talking about
the true classics (read: not Hanna Montana). Disney dorks will be rewarded with
costumes from The Lion King, Aladdin, and of course the original “Fab Five.” In
our playtest, we eagerly opted for a soon-to-be-announced character (Oo De Lally!) and were rewarded
with even more shoutouts as we leveled up his costume. His weapon evolved into an arrow quiver, and eventually into an actual character. Yep, we were battin’ baddies with a petrified snake of the same film!
universe will include a half-dozen worlds on Day 1, including the universally beloved
The Lion King, along with Wall-E, Pirates of the Caribbean, Aladdin, Monsters
Inc., and Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Six worlds may not sound like much,
but each world contains three locations, and each location contains three
levels. Doing the math for you, that’s 54 levels on disc. Disney Universe is
also releasing with a lower-than-average price point ($49.99). And since the
devs have already done the heavy lifting by building the framework for level
creation, new worlds can be created quickly. We suspect the pricing is as much
about getting a quality game into our hands as it is about building a platform
for heaping helpings of DLC.
game launches with some of Disney’s biggest cash cows, these worlds also complement
one another by being thematically distinctive and covering a wide variety of
tastes. Each world is comes from a different designer, and they often vary
drastically. For instance, the Monsters Inc.’s Door Factory is very platform
heavy, yet Alice in Wonderland’s world takes a more puzzley approach. This demo’s newly playable Aladdin-themed
world – featuring the Streets of Agrabah, the Sultan’s Palace, and the Cave of
Wonder – sported a tightly woven mix of both, with added combat elements and a
race-for-your-life lava getaway.
Universe’s potential for online enhancement has us thinking of it like a
LittleBigPlanet officially skinned with a stable of characters beloved by
generations, with a greater degree of quality control since it’s restricted to
the pros. However, Disney Universe’s coolest new feature is something we would’ve
killed for when we were kids
constantly repeating the same multiplayer levels with our pals: Like many
games, players will earn all manner of rewards and other braggables, but they
can also build a Level Playlist specifically tailored to their personal
preferences. In short, Disney Universe is undoing linear shackles by allowing us
to build own adventures. Once we stack our favorite levels in the order of our
choosing, they’ll unspool seamlessly into a customized, unique experience on
have to be a Disney fanboy to see the potential of Disney Universe, both at
launch and down the line via customization and new DLC. Disney Universe hits
all platforms on October 25.
Oct 5, 2011