First Impressions of Disney Universe

At the 2011 Electronic Entertainment Expo, one could hardly miss the various Disney Universe posters hanging at the exhibit hall entryways.  They kind of reminded me of the Lilo & Stitch teaser trailers where Stitch snuck into the scenes of well-known Disney movies and sabotaged the set.  Similarly, the Disney Universe posters had childlike cartoons dressed as some of the favourite Disney characters (Stitch, Aladdin and Jasmine, Tron, to name a few), in their respective movie settings.

My curiosity was piqued, but I waited until my booth tour to investigate.

Disney Interactive Media Group’s Disney Universe is the first game ever that brings together over 40 iconic classic and contemporary Disney characters.  You play as mischievous avatars that can ‘suit up’ as any of the Disney characters, each of whom has their own set of abilities and special weapon that will grow (in power and in size) as you venture on to save the universe.  There are six vast worlds to explore, filled with puzzles and enemies that will thwart your every move.  Each world is inspired by Disney /Pixar movies, and the adventures follow along the respective storylines (e.g. the Monsters Inc. world has the characters navigating through a door network).

I was eager to try this game, and my (all too brief!) hands-on session did not disappoint.  Initially, we started in the world of Alice in Wonderland, playing as an avatar dressed as Alice, golden curls and all.  The graphics for both the scenery and characters were beautifully rendered, and the environment was filled with interactive items (giant spoon catapult, anyone?).  I got a kick out of exploring the level, just running amok and disposing of the Red Queen’s cards – I mean, guards.

My brief taste of the game left me craving so much more!  The one level was filled with a quirky sense of humour, magic, and pure unadulterated fun.  Not to mention that each child-like avatar holds a ton of personality: the trouble-making grins, playfulness, and goofy slapstick action.  The detail within the game is beautiful to behold, and it makes you truly feel like you’re watching and playing in a Disney movie.  For example, when the Alice avatar had to drag a large hat, you could see the effort it takes in her strained expression and her huffing and puffing.  With the enchanting scenery and non-stop action, it was easy to fall down the rabbit hole into Disney Universe.

Allowing up to four players, Disney Universe is the perfect co-op game for friends and family, young and old.  The puzzles and quests will appeal to the more intellectual of the bunch, while the kids (and the adults’ inner-children) can run around wreaking havoc and bashing the bad guys.  If a child is too young to problem-solve, the game allows for tagalongs: Technically, only one person needs to solve the puzzles and advance to the next level, pulling the other players along.  With so much fun packed into one package, this game promises to be a must-have for families and gamers young at heart.

Luckily we won’t have to wait long to explore Disney Universe!  It hits shelves this Fall, for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii and PC.

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June 27, 2011 - 8:30 am