Disney Infinity is the latest game in the Disney franchise and anticipated to drive massive sales opportunities for the company. After repeated failed attempts to produce a game people actually want to spend money on, Disney decides to follow the Skylanders route and produce a game with a physical component. From a business perspective, the product makes total sense, but does it sufficiently entice consumers to spend their hard-earned cash in an already stretched economy? Only time will tell.
Skylanders has only been around since 2011, but it has produced staggering numbers. By late 2012, Skylanders has succeeded to drive over US$ 500 million in sales and with the recent addition of Skylanders Swap Force, this number has grown even further. Producing games with physical collectables certainly shows great potential to have a continuous flow of income for the large publishers and necessarily so. Disney gave Avalanche Software approximately US$ 100 million to produce the game compatible with Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii and Wii U and a modified version for the Nintendo 3DS and it purportedly stated that it better make it’s money back, or Disney Interactive potentially needs to get ready for some major headcount cuts.
The end-result is Disney Infinity: a reasonably stable game that runs on all the major platforms and may potentially see additional releases for PC and next-gen consoles, although currently still unconfirmed. After some minor hiccups during launch – most notably Playstation 3 players being unable to play online – the game is launched with 3 play sets out of the box. Play sets are virtually stand-alone games that can be completed with a variety of different characters from that world. The Starter Pack comes with Monsters University’s Sully, Pirates of the Caribbean’s Captain Jack Sparrow and The Incredibles’ Mr Incredible.
[tabs titles=”Monsters University, Pirates of the Caribbean, Incredibles”] [pane]The Monsters University play set is playable as either Sully, Mike Wazowski (sold separately) or Randall (sold separately). The story takes place during Fear week, where Monsters U needs to fight Fear Tech to gather the highest number of scare points in a competition to collect Fear Tokens. The world consists of 4 separate playable areas, most of them playable without any additional loading. Besides playing the main storyline missions, side-missions are available, as well as the ability to complete a number of challenges and gathering up all available collectables. The available challenges can be split up in 1 character-specific challenge and a number of running, racing, shooting and collecting challenges. Overall playtime to complete all available story missions, side missions and collectables can range between 5-10 hours easily.[/pane] [pane]The Pirates of the Caribbean play set can be played as Captain Jack Sparrow, Captain Barbossa (sold separately) or Davy Jones (sold separately). The story involves collecting 5 pieces of the ‘Krakens Bane’ s0 that you can defeat Davy Jones and the Kraken. The game has you traveling to far away islands using a ship you are able to captain and exploring small cities and almost deserted islands. Although there are multiple islands, you’ll be finishing most of the games in 2 cities. There are main storyline missions, but also several side-missions. You are able to complete a selection of challenges, some character specific and can hunt for all the collectibles spread across the various locations. Completing the entire main story line as well as all the side-missions, challenges and collectibles can take an average player between 5-10 hours.[/pane] [pane]The Incredibles play set has the largest number of playable characters: Mr Incredible, Mrs Incredible (sold separately), Violet (sold separately), Dash (sold separately) and Syndrome (sold separately). In this play set, gamers must fight the enemy Syndrome and re-establish a base of operations for all super-heroes. While fighting a variety of evil villains, you make your way through the various parts of the city, which can be considered as 4 separate playing areas, although all immediately connected. The city is split into 2 main portions and the island on which the operations base is located is where most of the missions are obtained and handed in. Players will have the ability to complete several main storyline missions, as well as several entertaining side missions. Fly your Incredicopter and race around in a gadget-packed race car while fighting enemies and exploring all nooks and crannies within the city’s limits. Once again, there are a range of challenges, both player exclusive as well as generic ones, focusing on racing, flying, running and shooting your way to the top. A range of collectibles can be found be exploring in between, on top and under buildings and bridges. Total playtime of all components ranges between 5-10 hours.[/pane] [/tabs]
With a total game play-time of 15-30 hours, Disney Infinity is already giving you a pretty reasonable return on your initial investment, however this is far from the entire experience of the game. Having said that, there certainly was room for improvement. Playing play sets as characters from other movies would have been entertaining, however this might have made story’s more difficult. Additionally, having a separate – although perhaps smaller – storyline mission for each playable character would have provided additional motivation to collect all characters. Currently, other than having the ability to complete a character-specific challenge and unlocking a safe with a collection of toys for that play set, there is little to encourage players to collect each and every figurine for the game. Perhaps this will still be added in later renditions of the games or through an in-game update.
With additional play sets for Disney Infinity available upon launch in the form of a Cars play set and a Lone Ranger play set, there is something for everyone. A recently announced and soon to be available Toy Story play set provides even further entertainment for both young and old players and Toy Box mode promises “infinite fun”, although the question is whether users will enjoy building new worlds to play through. Nevertheless, the character line-up is most certainly impressive, just have a look below!
Avalanche Software has to be commended for creating a game with several large games, each individually being almost worth the purchase of the game’s starter pack and provided replay-value through the Toy Box. Since release they have also shared approximately 25-30 new smaller toy boxes through the Toy Box Share feature (internet connection required). Each of these toy boxes has been either designed and developed by the development studio, or it has been created by the user community and has been shared with all players after a careful vetting process. One can only hope that they’ll continue to develop more toy boxes for people to enjoy.
The question remains whether further play sets will be developed for the initial Disney Infinity starter pack, or whether Disney Interactive will be following the route of Skylanders and require customers to buy yet another entirely new game several months down the road. Knowing Disney’s thirst for money, it is quite likely that whatever we’ve seen so far (3 play sets with the initial purchase, 3 additional play set addons and a range of around 23 playable characters) it is quite likely we’ve seen it all. However, one can hope that they will release Series 3 onwards as an in-game update or as an Add-on package that can be purchased at a much-reduced cost.
Finally, we have not yet talked about the Power Discs. These discs provide additional fun in the Toy Box mode. By placing either a round or a hexagonal disc on the base, players can customise the game through visual changes, character power-ups and more. Examples are a Dumbo the flying Elephant power disc, Fix-It Felix Repair Power or a Sugar Rush back-drop and background music. Already around 30-40 power discs are going to be available through the Series 1 and Series 2 releases and adding additional discs would make complete sense. The Hall of Heroes seems to point towards the same.
Are you already playing Disney Infinity and want to know everything there is to explore in this game? Have a look at IGN’s Disney Infinity Guide, a great Wiki with cheats, tricks, walkthroughs and more!
Buy your Starter Packs, Single Characters, Character Packs, Play Sets, Power Discs and even a Strategy Guide from Games Home today! Check out the Disney Infinity Landing Page for more information about the current and upcoming items.