Disney Infinity Preview

This week, Gamer Living visited Airship37 in Toronto’s Distillery District and got a chance to sit down with Disney Infinity, Disney Interactive’s upcoming attempt to steal the ‘toys as games’ crown from under Activision’s noses. So, with a delicious helping of flash-frozen popcorn and a handful of cotton candy, does Disney Infinity make the grade?

Disney Infinity Launch Event - Toronto (58)

The first thing that interested players need to know about the game is that Disney Infinity is split into two distinct modes. The first, Play Set, is a story-based mode that only accepts characters from whichever universe it is set in. For example, if you choose to play in Monsters University, you can only use characters such as Mike, Sully or Randall. Characters from other franchises such as Pirates of the Caribbean or The Incredibles won’t work outside of their own playsets. The other mode, in which players can use any figures, is Toy Box, which works in a similar manner to LittleBigPlanet. In Toy Box, players can create their own worlds, rules and games, or can merely run around causing chaos and havoc wherever they go.

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We first got a chance to try out Toy Box, and, though it may be a little too complex for children initially as there’s plenty of stuff to play around with. Terrain is broken down into pre-assigned shapes, so rather than raising and lowering certain patches of ground as you see fit, players instead place premade blocks together (much like a 3D jigsaw). Once you’ve made your world, it’s time to inhabit it with both characters and objects. There are a number of categories of each, and NPCs come from various Disney franchises, including The Muppets, Alice in Wonderland, and Pirates of the Caribbean. Objects also come from a variety of sources, and players can place The Sword in the Stone, Monstro, the whale from Pinocchio, Cinderella’s Castle, and even a variety of objects from the Disney Theme parks.

Disney Infinity Launch Event - Toronto (14)There are also Logic Toys that can be used, and these come in most useful when players are attempting to build something a little more complex. In the example I was shown, a field goal was placed (complete with ESPN branding), alongside a number of cannons. When a field goal was scored, either with a football or by throwing a character through the goal, these cannons could be set to explode with streamers and fireworks, creating an epic celebration. Similarly, landmines and cannons can be linked together to fling characters throughout the map. There are a huge number of possibilities in how to combine various objects, and considering that each map can be uploaded and (pending approval by Disney) be downloaded by your friends, this is a great opportunity to show off just how well you can make an exciting videogame level!

We got a chance to spend time with Play Set next, and this mode is a little more structured and rigid than Toy Box. Levels are set within the world of each Playset, such as Metroville from The Incredibles and the University Campus from Monsters University, and players are given various tasks, such as reaching certain areas or building particular buildings. There are also smaller tasks such as winning races or shooting targets, and players can unlock bonuses for fulfilling objectives, such as customisation options for vehicles. These bonuses can be used in both the Play Set and Toy Box mode, so players are given an excellent chance to show off their prowess in the game by using unique items or skins in their uploaded Toy Box efforts.

Disney Infinity Launch Event - Toronto (55)Similarly to Skylanders, each Disney Infinity character is able to be used on different platforms, so whether your friends have Xbox 360s or PlayStation 3s, you can be safe in the knowledge that your figurine will work at their house. Similarly, uploaded Toy Box maps are also cross-platform, meaning that you can share them with friends regardless of their console allegiance. Whichever console you have, Disney Infinity looks like a sure-fire hit, and the addition of Toy Box mode means that the game is almost limitless in the possibilities of how it can be played. Disney Interactive has already announced post-launch support with the upcoming Toy Story playset, and individual characters based on their Frozen movie, which releases in cinemas this November. Kids had better get saving their allowances, because Disney Infinity is sure to be the next big thing on the playground.

Disney Infinity launches this Sunday, August 18 – be sure to check back for a full review!

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August 15, 2013 - 12:30 pm