DISNEY INFINITY New Disney game lets kids play with all franchises in the same world
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After an outnumbered Anakin Skywalker uses the force to get through a wave of stormtroopers, Captain Jack Sparrow jumps out of the crow’s nest atop his ship to battle enemies spawned from the deep ocean. And once those threats have been taken care of, Iron Man flies off the Avenger’s Tower to rid New York City of frost giants sent to destroy the Earth. I am not reading you the beginning of my latest fan fiction, but a description of what happens when kids play Disney’s new “interactive toy box” video game series called Disney Infinity. Released in 2013 with new expansions coming out each year, these games gather all of your favorite Disney characters, new and old, together to give kids hours upon hours of entertainment on almost any video game console you can think of. With the newest release just announced this week, I’d like to share what has made this series so insanely popular, and explain why all kids should be having fun with one of the coolest and most unique products to hit store shelves in a long time.
OK, so what exactly is Disney Infinity?
There are two main aspects of Disney Infinity. First and most importantly, is the video game that brings these worlds to life on your TV. Almost every game console is compatible with Disney Infinity, including Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita. And even if you don’t have any of the recent platforms, there are versions released for iOS and Windows PC. As compatibility differs depending on what version you purchase, double check that your specific platform is supported.
The other part of Disney Infinity is what makes it so fun for kids. Figurines depicting a plethora of popular Disney-owned franchises are available that connect to the game and let you play an adventure as that character. This is what is truly remarkable about the game. The figures alone are great collector’s items, but now kids can play with them in their own virtual world, and the customizable possibilities are nearly endless. The first release of the series mainly features classic Pixar films such as Toy Story and The Incredibles, while the 2.0 edition focused on adding many of the Marvel super heroes and villains. The just-announced 3.0 edition that releases later this year expands the universe even more with the addition of Star Wars characters from the original and prequel trilogy, as well as the upcoming sequel trilogy.
I have the game and some figures; how do I play?
The video game comes in what is called a Starter Pack, which includes the portal that is used to transport the physical figures into the video game world. Simply placing the figurine on the pad will allow you to play with that character in virtual reality. Once your character is in place, there are a couple of different ways to play.
What most kids will dive into first is the single player story mode. The Starter Pack and other character packs come with Play Sets that build the world you explore in the video game. Just as you do with the figures, placing the Play Set on the portal loads the world. Each Play Set brings you to a familiar location, such as Monster’s University for Monsters, Inc. characters and Manhattan for The Avengers characters. In most of the single player adventures, your character fights through bad guys in a series of events that culminates in a final boss battle. Players can also explore the land for collectables that can be used in the other game mode that I will explain next. Each campaign provides hours of entertainment, and select characters are compatible with several Play Sets, meaning Iron Man can explore the world inhabited by Guardians of the Galaxy characters. There is also a cooperative two-player mode available, letting siblings do battle together or giving parents the opportunity to spend some quality time with their children.
The other playing mode of the game is what makes Disney Infinity a truly unique experience, and will keep kids occupied much longer than the single player campaign. Called Toy Box, this mode lets you explore the world any way you see fit. Using items and accessories to build your own custom world, it can be inhabited by any Disney Infinity figure. These items can also be used for characters, making the customization possibilities almost endless. Want to fight wave after wave of enemies as Groot? Go right ahead. Want to fly through the sky as Buzz Lightyear? The sky is yours. Want to fly through the sky as Groot wearing Buzz Lightyear’s wings? Have a blast. The customization options are fun, and it’s great to have the ability to do something so unique without having to purchase several physical accessories for a figurine.
The release of the 3.0 edition expands on the fun had in Toy Box mode. Two new variants of Toy Box mode will release at the same time as the 3.0 edition, called Speedway and Toy Box Takeover. In Toy Box Takeover, the story goes that the villain Syndrome from The Incredibles has obtained the power to create worlds just like you can in the regular Toy Box mode. The result is an environment mixed with aspects of each franchise, as your character fights bad guys and levels up as they progress. Speedway is exactly what it sounds like, giving you the opportunity to make your own race course using items from any franchise you have collected. While these new game modes greatly extend the play time you can get at this game, each must be purchased separately.