A few weeks ago, Disney Interactive invited me and my family to a Disney Infinity demo event in downtown Chicago.
And, as one hour of playtime quickly stretched into two, I realized four very important things:
Disney Infinity is genius.
I can no longer say I don’t understand gaming as a thing.
I never thought a video game could actually mainline Disney magic.
I actually want to play it. More than once.
We all know Disney has always been about the realization of childhood dreams, but until you see it in action…
In one single moment, as I watched my seven-year-old son race a Lightning McQueen across a Sugar Rush-themed landscape with a ramp of his own design sloping up Disneyland’s Matterhorn, it all made sense. The magical possibilities that continuously, endlessly, thrillingly unfold before you are the best parts of what I remember from being a kid. That nothing ever had to have a beginning or a middle or an end. It just had to exist in the moment, and it just had to be fun.
“A Goo Grower and a Goo Shrinker can put monster truck tires on Cinderella’s Coach, or a fully functional Buzz Lightyear jet pack on any character,” says Zachary Reeves, QA Tester for Disney Interactive, and my personal guide during the event. “It all starts in the Toy Box. From there, you build with cross-branded landmarks, changing backgrounds and textures, using rides from Disneyland, and even music from Disney movies,” he adds.
It’s much more than just buying toys and booster packs too, since Disney Infinity puts creativity and development squarely in the hands of the user.
Let’s break it down:
Tox Boy mode us where everything is housed – toys, objects, buildings and tools – that are then used to build your own mini Disney adventures. The littlest gamers can play here to their heart’s content, not having to know a thing about gaming. My four-year-old is all over it.
You buy the game as a Starter Pack ($74.99) that comes with a Disney Infinity Game Disc, Disney Infinity Base, and a collection of three figures: Captain Jack Sparrow, Mr. Incredible and Sulley. Each figure opens up a different narrative adventure – Pirates of the Caribbean, The Incredibles and Monsters University respectively – within the game called a Playset, and buying more 2-figure Playsets ($34.99) expands your gameplay experience. What’s more, each action figure (individually priced at $12.99) retains player data, so players can pick up where they left off anytime, anywhere. Yep, the whole thing is cross compatible across all platforms.
And, instead of dying – something I definitely don’t like about most mainstream video games – characters “break” into pieces before coming together again, making them seem like real toys from your child’s own toy box. The same thing goes for gun toy elements. All of them have caps on the ends to give them that playful feel.
“I worked on this game from beginning to end, and really love it for both kids and parents,” Reeves says. “It brings families together, and there’s truly something for everyone.”
At launch there will be just over 20 figures to collect, each one beautifully designed and intricately detailed. And, since it’s the toy versions of the characters that come to life in the games, not the movie characters, the action figures have an angular look, reflecting the appearance of their onscreen counterparts. Added to the figures are power discs (sold in 2-packs for $4.99), which can be used to improve and enhance the gaming experience in a multitude of ways. Different combinations mean different results, and the possibilities are infinite. Sense a theme?
Think of circular Power Discs as power ups. They’re Play Set oriented, which means putting them underneath a figure on the Disney Infinity Base will let them do more things within Play Sets and the Toy Box. Hexagonal Power Discs unlock special gadgets, vehicles and themes to allow for even more personalization within the Toy Box.
Power Discs with a paintbrush on them change textures and backgrounds. Power Discs with an orange ball are elements characters can interact with, and the Power Discs that have an all orange border and holographic image on the front unlock rare toys.
As for leveling up to unlock additional powers for figures? Mr. Incredible is the only one that can… for now.
Seems apropos, don’t you think?
Disney Infinity hits the Xbox 360, Wii, WII U, PlayStation 3 and 3DS on August 18.
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