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Disney Infinity review

Katharine Byrne
26 Sep 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
52
inc VAT

Beautiful open worlds that really capture the spirit of the films and a fun world-builder, but the main Play Sets lack substance

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For a company synonymous with magic and childhood wonder, Disney Infinity should have been the blockbuster game of the summer. Its combination of collectible Skylanders-esque figures and a Minecraftian world builder have been proven breadwinners elsewhere in the industry, so you would think the added dose of everyone's favourite Disney and Pixar characters would only serve to sweeten the deal.

It certainly starts off well, offering brief, tantalising glimpses of all the various Play Sets as it takes you through the opening tutorial. Every stone and street lamp seems alive with adventure as you roll from one environment to the next, and as the land unfurls from the leafy campus grounds of Monsters University into the roaring seas of Pirates of the Caribbean and the sprawling metropolis of The Incredibles, its promise of a boundless Disney universe never seems stronger. With just a little imagination, the game tells us, anything is possible.

Disney Infinity - Base

The stylised toys are lovingly made and each portal on the Infinity Base can support an additional Power Disc underneath the main figures and Play Set orbs

In truth, imagination is something Disney Infinity is sorely lacking, for as soon as the tutorial’s over, you’re deposited in the Toy Box. Here you can build your own worlds using every piece of Disney-themed paraphernalia you can think of, but your opening selection of toys is limited to say the least. When the best items amount to a handful of flat green terrain pieces, some shrubs, race track pieces and Cinderella’s castle, the starry-eyed wonder of the tutorial already seems a little hollow, and you’d have to be very creative indeed to construct anything better than the pre-built world already available to you.

To really let your imagination fly, you’ll need to play through each of Disney Infinity’s individual Play Sets. These are short games based around Disney's flagship franchises and the starter pack includes Monsters University, Pirates of the Caribbean and The Incredibles. Others such as The Lone Ranger and Cars are available separately, but will set you back around another £27 each time. Here, you’ll find red and green pop cap toys scattered throughout each Play Set, and collecting these will help grow what’s inside your Toy Box. Purchasing items with in-game currency also unlocks more stuff to play with, and levelling up your figures lets you have a go in the Disney Vault where you can spend coins for random prizes.

Disney Infinity - Pirates

Sailing plays a big part in Pirates of the Caribbean, and you'll soon swap your dingy for a full-sized galleon

It’s a cunning way of tying the two main game modes together, but in practice it’s a rather slow and laborious process that will likely try the patience of even the most ardent Disney fans. Some Play Sets, for instance, are more suited to being turned into games than others. Pirates of the Caribbean is by far the strongest of the three starter sets as its swashbuckling eye for adventure lends itself well to the game’s inherent focus on exploration. As you sail seamlessly from one island to the next (without a single loading screen to break up the action, we might add), the hunt for the next pop cap toy becomes so tightly intertwined with your main objective that you actively want to explore every last nook and cranny so you don’t leave anything behind once you raise the anchor.

Local citizens are also on hand to give you quests to help round out the time you spend in each place, but most amount to fairly inane tasks that only take mere seconds to complete, such as finding someone’s lost sister who happens to be standing within spitting distance of the quest-giver. We were even asked to throw someone into the sea on two separate occasions. Kids might get a kick out of it, but too often they fall into a repetitive tedium that does little to enrich your main quest.