Disney Infinity Videogame & Video World Review!
Thanks Ted Sallis for your indepth look and review of the game!
Disney INFINITY offers fans of Disney Pixar properties and especially fans of the Disney Pixar Cars franchise a unique way to play. Now obviously the game Skylanders was the pioneer, being the first game to incorporate collecting toys that you could then use in the game. RFD Chips in the base are read by the pad which tells the game what asset to load into the game. But Disney Infinity takes it to the next level with it’s huge cast of recognized and beloved characters and the ability to actually create your own virtual world or play in theirs.
The game itself if multiplatform meaning no matter what game system you have there is a starter set that will work with it. This is the only part of the deal that is platform specific in fact, once you have your starter set for your specific system all the figures and add on sets are universal.
The Starter sets all come with the game software disk and the INFINITY base which plugs into your system of choice. The base has recessed areas for two character bases and the playset piece. The starter set comes with three figures. Sully from Monsters University, Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean and Mr. Incredible from the Incredibles. The Starter playset piece contains prebuilt virtual worlds for the three characters to run around and do various adventurous type things. This set is required and will run you a pretty hefty 75 bucks.
Cars fans will want to grab the add on adventure containing Lightning McQueen and Holley Shiftwell which retails for around 35 dollars. Mater and Francesco Bernoulli are available seperately for 13 dollars apiece.
The toys themselves are very nicely sculpted and painted. There is a unifying style to all the figures that makes them look like they belong together without losing the instant recognizability of the character. The Cars characters as a group are some of the best looking with very little change to the overall look of the characters. In addition to the main four characters mentioned there is a notable variant. At launch Toys R Us released a clear ‘Crystal” version of lighting McQueen which when placed on the INFINITY base brings a clear version of Lightning into the game. These are still trickling out to stores for some time and reappear online at the TRU.com website from time to time as well.
One interesting aspect to the use of RFD tech in these is that if you prefer to collect Mint in Box, you can. Setting the toy still in the package on the INFINITY base has the same effect as if it was loose.
Hey! You’re saying right about now, I just did math and that’s a lot of money. That is a fact, no denying it is an expensive bunch of toys. So why not spend that money on a super chase car or maybe that long desired Bessie? Well because once you’ve laid out the cash Disney INFINITY offers up one of the most amazing interactive recreations of Radiator Springs you’ve ever seen that you can actually use your toys in to do all kinds of really fun things.
When you first start out your adventure you will notice a few notable landmarks missing on the main drag. Where’s the Cozy Cone? Where’s Sarge’s Surplus hut? Fear not, as you complete various missions which act as tutorials to teach you how to operate the various functions of your car, from running races to rescuing other cars and even tractor tipping, the landscape quickly fills in to a very faithful recreation of the town from the movies. Outside of town is surrounded by rocky cliffs that are full of caves and tracks that lead to more races and even an over the top stunt area where you can hone your skills.
As the town fills in the various characters you’ve come to know and love come into play. It’s clear they got the original voice actors to do the dialogue or some very talented soundalikes. Ramone sounds like Ramone, Flo sounds like Flo. An icon will appear over characters when they want to interact with you and give you a mission. Doing these favors for your friends brings rewards in the form of cash and more assets and toys.
Everything you do in the game no matter how seemingly pointless brings with it in game cash to spend on toys and assets for the Toybox (more on that later) and also Sparks, which are the experience points that level up your various cars and expand their abilities. Spread throughout the landscape are small capsules that look like gumball machine prize capsules for you to collect. These contain more assets and toys that can be used in game and in the toybox.
This part alone would be worth the price of admission in my opinion. My kid is 5 and loves the Cars movies and she and I collect the toys. This is hands down the best preschool game I’ve ever tried with her, with me to do the minimal reading required we can actually do missions but most of the time we just tear around town, scaring tractors, smashing up fences and towing little cars and throwing them off cliffs (they reappear a second later, none the worse for wear) and through haybales and stuff. We can each play a character on splitscreen and she loves sneaking up on me and slapping a tow chain on me and dragging me around as I struggle and beg her to let me go. She usually does, off the top of the aforementioned cliff.
With the basic game area you also have some control over the environment as entering each building’s block offers up the chance to decorate the buildings using assets you have collected in the capsules. You can also decorate the small cars that move around Radiator Springs by grabbing and towing them to Ramone’s House of Body Art. Throwing them into Ramone’s garage brings up a customizing tool that allows you to change everything from their body style to paint colors to tires and even add crazy hats and wigs to them. Once released back into the wild they stay the way you made them so long as you remember to save the game afterwards.
Once you meet Finn McMissile he opens up the C.H.R.O.M.E. missions and races which are very much like Mario Kart. There are power ups spread throughout the race course that add machine guns, mines and missile launchers to your car for brief periods. These not only rain cartoon destruction down on your race opponents but also lay waste to buildings in some cases and after the dust has settled you’ll have some cleanup work to do fixing them.
Later on you have the option of adding Monster Truck tires to your car which changes the way it handles and opens up some previously inaccessible areas and missions.
In addition to the main game or adventure, the part that really has people excited is the Toybox. Other games have had similar creation available, notably games like Minecraft and Little Big Planet, where users could actually create their own levels using in game assets and then save and share them out to other users.
Starting with large area blocks you can build your own area to play around in. Once built you can drop any character you want into it. In the Toybox all characters are welcome so you can have some pretty strange crossovers. Like Jack Sparrow in Mr. Incredible’s car racing Holley Shiftwell through a faithful recreation of Disneyland strange. Disney screens through the many submissions they receive and posts 4-5 new prebuilt Toyboxes every week or so and they also make their own Toyboxes as well. Each playset also comes with a basic prebuilt themed Toybox which can be used as a jumping off point with much of the heavy lifting already take care of.
Building in the Toybox can be very time consuming but it is engrossing and you will find it difficult to stop “playing Walt” once you start!
One element that fans of the game have not been entirely in love with are the Power Discs. These come in blind bagged packs for around 5 dollars. Each disc can be placed under a character bas on the INFINITY base to bring that asset into the Toybox. All characters in the toybox at the time also get the same asset. Buying these packs can be frustrating as you will end up with useless doubles. Toys R Us recently hosted a Power Disc trade event in store where players can meet and swap their doubles and are expecting to make this a regular fixture in stores.
Another addition to the game will be a PC and iPad version of the Toybox that players will be able to use. Each character figure also comes with a trading card with a unique code that players so players can log their toys with so when it releases all your toys will already be available. This outside of the console version promise to let you keep working on your Toybox and save it to your console from the iPad or PC.
Disney INFINITY is off to a roaring start and will only get better over time. It already looks to be a big seller this holiday season. It’s clear that there is still a lot of ground to cover as far as Disney properties being brought under the umbrella of the game. New figures and playsets will bring other popular franchises Like Phineas and Ferb and Toy Story into the game and looking at Disney’s formidable array of characters and properties, from Mickey Mouse to Marvel Super Heroes and now Star Wars the possibilities are truly, what’s the word I’m looking for here? Oh yeah INFINITE!
Thanks Ted Sallis for a great review!
You can find the official Disney Radiator Springs CARS Infinity page here.
The Amazon page with everything you need. (Collect ‘em all).
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