Review: Disney Infinity

Disney Infinity starts with an empowering tutorial, telling you that every great idea begins with a spark of imagination and over time, with care and a sense of adventure, ideas begin to grow until they are so bright they can't be contained.  From this, the storybook-like narrator tells you that imagination becomes reality.  As the interactive tutorial rolls on, letting you loose on the world, you are told that imagination can take you anywhere, but you have to take the first step.

It is this introduction that really sets the tone for Disney Infinity, giving you a sense of the wealth of possibilities and gameplay mechanics that awaits you. As you make your way through the 10 minute interactive introduction, playing as a range of characters and trying numerous control styles, the narrator tells you your imagination is the gateway to new discoveries, shaping you and others around you.  That's when Mickey and other recognisable Disney characters appear and the possibilities before you explode into life.

I've never played an introduction as beautiful as Disney Infinity's before and it certainly got the message across.  By the end of the introduction I actually had goosebumps from the way it pulled everything together so well.  The sense of possibility is delivered expertly through the changing worlds and wonderful presentation encountered.  From Tangled inspired woodlands to the Wild West, Monsters University campus, Metro City and beyond, including oceans full of warring pirates complete with cannons, krakens and islands stretching into the distance, you can't help but be impressed by the scope shown.  Yet, as soon as you've seen all of this potential you are put back into a box to learn the intricacies of the way in which infinity fits together.

Disney Infinity

And this is a smart design choice enticing you to get back to such diversity.  You see, Disney Infinity comes with 3 action figures and an infinity base which reads figures and other 'add ons' such as power disks and playset pieces - which are the gateway to specific Disney universes.  Without the hand-holding that came in at various times, I felt lost - such is the scope of the game. It's like being let loose in a toy store as a child.  Where do you go first? You want to do everything!

Right out of the box you get Sully, Mr Incredible and Jack Sparrow as well as a random power disk and the Monsters University, Pirates and Incredibles playset piece.  I got a Bolt power disk which gave my character extra strength when it sat under his figure on the base, but others have found items such as Abu the monkey as his elephant transformation or a Tangled skyline for the creation (ToyBox) mode.

From the off it's up to you which adventure you want to go on.  I selected my choices through the streamlined GamePad interface (which can be sent to play off-TV too) and chose Pirates of the Caribbean as that Jack figure and his subsequent slurred pirate drawl was perfect.  So off I went, placing good old Jack on the infinity pad and jumping right into a large town under attack.  As I made my way through all three games I came to experience a diversity of play rarely seen in one title.  You see, what is most surprising in Infinity is just how solid all of the elements are and how they seem to gel so well.  Many Disney tie-ins have fallen short of their source material due to taking the quickest possible route to release but Infinity shows that with imagination, a sense of adventure and certainly over time, something great can indeed be made.  It is from this angle that you start to see Infinity practice what it preaches from that stirring introduction.

And it doesn't let up.  Missions in all of the bundled playsets are varied enough to keep you playing and with added split screen co-op, (unfortunately both have to play on the TV) there's hours of fun to be had. This can include completing missions from the main story arc or finding NPC missions to complete. Treasures and hidden unlockables also exist within worlds, housing accessories such as bikes, paintball guns, gliders, upgradable pirate ships and swords and the very structures and characters used in the main adventures. These hidden treasures and unlockables are a huge part of Infinity's charm as you can use the items you find in the creation mode.  With more items at your disposal you can then create more.

Disney Infinity

And the ToyBox is where your imagination can truly go wild.  But taking the first step is daunting. It's like playing Minecraft for the first time - you just have this blank canvas in front of you and off you go. Thankfully there are a range of tutorials which are hidden in the menus.  They are easy to follow and grow in complexity from learning how to landscape, to becoming a programmer of the games various creativitoys which are used to influence your world.  The only drawback to the ToyBox mode is that you have to unlock many items via 'spins', which are earned or found in the pre-made adventures/hub.  This does slightly limit you as you have to spin for items, spending one spin each time.  Here you might find you run out of spins or don't get the items you want - but after a while that's what kept me going back to Infinity's adventure modes such is the strong desire to get more spins for the ToyBox.  The Wi iU ToyBox mode is solid and it's good to see the items on the GamePad which makes it a little easier to build your worlds. Unfortunately there is a delay of 3/4 seconds every time you switch to the free roaming 'spark' mode so I mirrored the on-screen action by turning on the off-TV mode.  This seemed to alleviate the delay which made things run a lot quicker.

Disney Infinity If you want more content for the game or your ToyBox you can buy other sets such as The Lone Ranger or Cars sets for more adventures, characters and unlockable spins.  Another playset is launching in October entitled 'Toy Story in Space' and new characters will come on their own but without playsets.  With these characters comes the potential to build up your character base to your liking and if you hunger for more classic content, you can buy packs of power disks which do have a range of old Disney licensed content. Unfortunately you might get a few of the same power disks as you can't see what is in the bags. I've seen worlds created with Alice in Wonderland backgrounds and have seen accessories such as Mulan's horse and Tron and Nightmare Before Christmas skins. Thankfully in the ToyBox any character can interact (apart from the cars characters which are antisocial due to their lack of limbs!) so you can mess about until your heart is content.  Some of the worlds created through mixed licenses are wonderful.  Who would have thought Tron and Sugar Rush from Wreck-It-Ralph would fit so well?  If you wish to see an example, view the Peach's Castle world I created below.

So is Disney truly infinite?  Well, yes and no.  The adventure modes are solid Disney adventures wrapped up with strong co-op modes that are slightly hamstrung by requiring characters from the same universe to work.  That's a shame as you can't take Jack Sparrow to Monsters University or Mr. Incredible to sea.  For an 'infinite' game, that's pretty limiting but it does make sense in the context of each adventure. Mike and Sully would look out of place steering a huge pirate ship afterall.

Yet the ToyBox is what elevates Infinity to something much more.  I liken it to LittleBigPlanet, which grew exponentially as more users bought into the creation tools and brought their own twists to the developers framework.  Nicely, Infinity worlds made in the ToyBox mode work on any console so there should be plenty of content available in the future.  How Disney manage this will be interesting as current content releases sporadically with no 'genres' or 'tags' like we saw in Sackboy's adventures.  But for the here and now, what we have is an amalgamation of Disney brands (primarily from the Pixar era) that have been brought to life with the ToyBox mode and it's feature set - which enables you to play with friends both on and offline.

It is in this facet then that, as Infinity's narrator tells us, over time with care and a sense of adventure, ideas will begin to grow until they are so bright they can't be contained.  Here's hoping Infinity lives up to its potential and new playsets and features continue to be added.  The promised add-on content and the upcoming free iPad ToyBox app that lets anyone create worlds should just be the start...

N-Europe Final Verdict

Disney Infinity seems like the starting point for something that is going to continue to grow and spark our imaginations. The adventure modes are varied and the ToyBox mode is astounding. The only limiting thing about Disney Infinity might be how much you are willing to spend...

  • Gameplay4
  • Playability4
  • Visuals4
  • Audio3
  • Lifespan5
Final Score



A Disney game with real heart
Wonderful amount of varied content
Beautiful, stylised graphics
Gorgeous action figures


Some minor audio glitches
2 of the same characters needed for co-op adventure mode
Doesn't tap into Disney back catalogue enough
Some frame rate blips - especially in co-op

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