Much like Activision’s Skylanders before it, Disney Infinity is a game which uses real world figurines to influence the 3D platforming gameplay. The difference with Infinity is that the characters are all drawn from Disney’s stable of characters. These are all pretty memorable figures – Sully from Monsters Inc., Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean, the titular family from The Incredibles, with many more characters from Cars and even Wreck-It Ralph on their way.
And I think these characters are Infinity’s biggest advantage over Skylanders. While Skylanders figurines have become certainly had a rapid rise to fame, Disney’s franchises are unbelievably and timelessly popular with children, with Disney merchandise covering toy shops wall to wall. Add the fact that these figurines are now not only collectible but playable in a game and it’s clear that Infinity could be the next big thing.
The gameplay takes the form of a simple enough 3D platformer, with the ability to switch out characters by simply placing a corresponding figurine onto the Infinity Base. That switching mechanic is impressively smooth. For example, I was riding in a car with Mr. Incredible and, about a second after switching the figurines, I was playing as Jack Sparrow instead, riding in the very same car.
The Infinity Base has two hexagonal spaces for figurines – one for each player – and a third for Power Discs, which feature items such as weapons or vehicles. The one I used dropped in Mulan’s horse, which I was able to ride around the Toy Box with any of the characters.
Alternative Power Discs can also change the theme of the Toy Box, which is essentially an open, customisable free play arena where you’re able to mess around with your characters with childish glee. Although I didn’t get my hands on the customisation itself, the video below does a good job of showing off the extensive creation elements.
The real meat of the game is found with the Play Sets. Each of the figurines belongs to a Play Set, with unique adventures available in accordance with their theme.
For example, Mr. Incredible’s adventure involved battling robotic enemies and freeing civilians from glass cases. While the combat felt quite clunky, it definitely showed promise, with different accolades available for how many people you saves in the allotted time.
Jack Sparrow’s adventure was quite different, featuring a pirate town with lots of balloons across rooftops – the challenge being to collect as many as possible before time ran out. I can’t say that it worked all that well, the gameplay definitely needs fine-tuned before release, but it did the job.
Unfortunately the build of the game I was playing crashed entirely before I was able to play any of the other characters’ adventures and spend more time with other parts of the game, like customisation. Hopefully this was just an old build, with newer ones being more stable and featuring gameplay that flows a bit better; we’ll likely get a better view of that closer to release.
Overall, while I had a few issues with how it played, it’s easy to see that Infinity will be a big hit. The Play Set figurines and Power Discs work fantastically with the Infinity Base and, although I’ve not experienced it personally, the Toy Box creation looks very promising indeed, allowing players to create their own virtual worlds for their real world counterparts.
Infinity is definitely a game aimed towards children though. I wouldn’t call it shallow, as there’s a wealth of characters and customisation, but the gameplay feels very simple, with a clean and friendly art style permeating each Play Set, more akin to a collection of toys than Disney’s animated movie style.
I’m not entirely sure how Skylanders: Swap Force plays, but it’ll have to work very hard to better the collection of Disney’s already immensely popular characters. Just remember, they own Marvel and Star Wars now too. This could be very big indeed.
- Developer:Avalanche Software
- Publisher:Disney Interactive Studio
- Platforms:PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, Wii U, 3DS, PC
- Release Date:20/08/13