Disney owns basically everything under the sun, so it makes sense for the company to take all of its beloved properties and transform them into a video game-slash-toy franchise. And so Disney Infinity pulls from every corner of Disney's media umbrella, letting you craft your own adventures with the in-game design tools. The series has changed a lot since its first entry, though, so keep on reading if you'd like a introductory glance at what Disney Infinity's all about.
What is it? A mish-mash of Disney properties combined with a surprisingly deep, if cumbersome, suite of level and game-creation tools.
Who is it for? Disney/Star Wars/Marvel fans, or people who dig creative games like Minecraft or LittleBigPlanet
What do the toys do? Everything you can buy fleshes out the two modes in Disney Infinity: the adventures that come in the starter packs and playsets, and the Toy Box mode. The adventures are standard action-platforming games set in a variety of themes, from Disney cartoons to the Marvel and Star Wars universes. With rare exception, characters within each property are locked to a specific adventure - Mr. Incredible can't hop into any of the Star Wars adventures, for example. The playsets offer a guided experience, and can last a few hours depending on which set you're playing.
The Toy Box, however, takes everything in Disney Infinity and tosses it all into a big pile you can mess with. You can make a Wreck-It Ralph racetrack and have the characters from Frozen race it while riding in Tron's light-cycles, or have Woody from Toy Story run through a Tatooine-inspired landscape. You have a lot more freedom to mess around in this mode, and while the playsets are a fun diversion, Toy Box is clearly the star of Disney Infinity.
What should I buy? There are three different sets of Disney Infinity, and they each correspond to a different theme. The first Disney Infinity game is more about actual Disney properties - Toy Story, Monsters, Inc., Pirates of the Caribbean, and so on. Disney Infinity 2.0 is all about Marvel characters, like Spider-Man and Iron Man. And Disney Infinity 3.0 is all about Star Wars. There are some gameplay and control differences between the three versions, but they operate more or less the same. The adventures that come with the playsets and starter packs are more or less locked to these different themes, so if that's what you're looking for, choose the set that interests you the most. Toy Box mode, however, lets you mix and match characters from all the sets up to and including the one you're currently playing, so if you're just interested in building levels, buy 3.0 and collect whatever figures suit your fancy.
So, you've got the figures, which let you play as various Disney characters, and you've got power discs, which add items and patterns you can use in Toy Box mode, as well as granting your in-game character various power-ups. The power discs are also totally not required to enjoy your Disney Infinity experience. The biggest problem with them is that, up until this year, power discs were sold in blind packs of two, so you had no idea which ones you were getting until you opened them, and some are far more rare than others. You know exactly what you're getting with 3.0's power disc packs, but they're still totally optional.
Are they rare? Other than some Toys R Us-exclusive variants and various power discs, most of the actual figures and playsets are pretty easy to find.