Disney Stuff - Disney Infinity

by Chris Barry, staff writer
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Welcome back to Disney Stuff.

Last Christmas, my boys were both excited about a new game for their Wii called Skylanders. I wasn't sure what it was all about so I went down to the local Toys R Us to check it out. What I found in front of me on the shelves was a stroke of marketing genius: To really get the most out of this video game you had to buy action figures that had an electronic chip of sorts in their base. The starter pack came with a small pad called a portal that connected wirelessly to your game system.

Once you turned the game on, you placed one of the Skylander figures onto the portal and they were instantly "transported" into the game and that action figure was now a playable character in the game. Needless to say, every kid that had the Skylanders game wanted as many different action figures as possible to load up their game with characters. My sons, of course, enthusiastically jumped on that bandwagon. At a minimum of $9.99 per action figure, Skylanders has earned more than $1 billion—yes, that's a "b" for billion—since its release in 2011. Game publisher Activision has reportedly sold upwards of 100 million Skylanders toys.

Somebody over at Disney must have been paying attention. If Activision could sell 100 million toys based on newly created characters, then certainly Disney's stable of recognizable and established characters gave them an instant advantage in this new market. And so it was.


The Disney Infinity artwork from the box. Photo by Chris Barry.

Disney Infinity was announced and this past Sunday, August 18, it was at long last released. MousePlanet's own Stephanie Wien was at the recent D23 Expo at Disneyland Resort and took in the Disney Interactive presentation. Disney Interactive, for those of you who don't know, is the Walt Disney Company's game developing division and is responsible for the creation of Disney Infinity (read Stephanie's report and watch the awesome MousePlanet video of the presentation here to see more).

I suppose it goes without saying that we had Disney Infinity on pre-order. Not only did we want to guarantee getting the game right away, but Disney was offering a great deal through just about all of its retailers. If you pre-ordered Infinity, you would get a free action figure of your choice and a free Power Disc Pack to enhance your characters' abilities in the game. This meant that on release day, we would have the three characters that came with the game—Mr. Incredible, Jack Sparrow, and Sulley—and one extra, as well as three of the Power Discs. The collection has begun! We chose Dash Incredible as our free figure and, naturally, the boys dug into their allowance a little, and with some help from yours truly, we also picked up Mike Wasowski, Mrs. Incredible, Randy Boggs, and Hector Barbossa. Let's take a closer look at these very cool Disney Infinity figures.

The starter pack came with these three:


The Disney Infinity Sulley figure. Photo by Chris Barry.


The Disney Infinity Mr. Incredible figure. Photo by Chris Barry.


The Disney Infinity Jack Sparrow figure. Photo by Chris Barry.

These three came in a "sidekick pack:"


The Disney Infinity Mike Wazowski figure. Photo by Chris Barry.


The Disney Infinity Elastigirl figure. Photo by Chris Barry.


The Disney Infinity Hector Barbossa figure. Photo by Chris Barry.

Dash Incredible is sold in a solo pack…


The Disney Infinity Dash Incredible figure. Photo by Chris Barry.

…as was Randall "Randy" Boggs from Monster's University:


The Disney Infinity Randy figure. Photo by Chris Barry.

Here are some of the Power Discs from the first series:


The Disney Infinity Power Discs. Photo by Chris Barry.

This is the Power Pad seen here with Mr. Incredible and son:


Dash and Mr. Incredible on the Power Pad. Photo by Chris Barry.

So what can I say after having Disney Infinity in the house for the last four days? First of all, the action figures are extremely well done. As a collector of lots of different Disney figures, I'm pretty impressed with these. They have a slightly different stylized look to them. They look like their video game counterparts as opposed to looking exactly like their original animated forms.

Of course, characters like Jack Sparrow and Barbossa are appearing in animated forms for essentially the first time (by the way if anyone at Disney is reading, and I hope you are—seeing Jack and Hector in this animated form screams for the creation of a Pirates of the Caribbean animated series. I know I'd watch, and I'm sure I wouldn't be alone).

In between games, my sons have been playing with these figures as toys, so they obviously give them a thumbs-up. I can't wait for the next series of figures to be released, and the possibility exists for so many more in the future. I can't even begin to calculate which characters from across the Disney universe will be chosen. [And yes, if you watched the video in Stephanie's article, you can only imagine how scathingly jealous I am of my MousePlanet colleagues that were in attendance that day at D23 who walked out with a Sorcerer Mickey figure! I have to wait until January to get my own.]

As far as the game goes, we've barely scratched the surface. I've mostly been playing in The Incredibles' Play Set mode and I have to say it's been… incredibly fun. My sons have started to explore the Monster's University Play Set as well, and are beginning to make more headway than their old man. The thing we haven't done so much yet is to explore the Toy Box mode. This is what will set Disney Infinity apart from the Skylanders series. It's in Toy Box mode that the creators have taken that extra special Disney step and given us the tools to mix up our favorite characters and customize vast worlds. As we unlock content in the different play set modes, items are imported into our Toy Box. We can then visit the Toy Box and use those items to enhance and create our own worlds. It's an awesome concept and I can't wait to see how it delivers. Once again, if you've watched the video, you know just how much I can't wait to unlock buildable items like Epcot's Spaceship Earth and Disneyland's Matterhorn.

Overall, I'm impressed with Disney Infinity. I think the figures are quality and the gameplay is fun. Most importantly, the door is kicked open for this to be an endlessly changing gaming experience. At one time, as far as video games were concerned, Disney was more known for taking their current animated films and churning out a decent game spread across all of the popular game platforms. In recent years, however, with the releases of Toy Story 3, the Epic Mickey series, and now Disney Infinity, Disney video games are becoming much more immersive and in line with what big Disney fans are looking for in a video game. It finally seems like there are some serious Disney fans developing serious Disney games and in turn, Disney fans and gamers alike out there are definitely benefitting.

Just like a great Disney attraction or your favorite Disney theme park or resort, Disney Infinity deserves your attention. There's a lot here to uncover, and it's going to take a while to completely reveal everything it has to offer. As far as I'm concerned, they had me at hello, so let me stop writing so I can get back to the unfolding adventure that Disney Infinity is proving itself to be.

Thanks for checking back in with Disney Stuff. If you've taken the Disney Infinity plunge this week, let me know what you think. If you haven't yet, let me hear what you think of the whole concept and of the great figures. Click on the link below; let me hear your thoughts and I'll see you next time with more of that great Disney Stuff.

Comments

  1. By itig

    Do NOT buy the Wii version of Disney Infinity. It's missing key gameplay features shown in their marketing and advertising and is inferior to the games for other platforms. There is no multiplayer support in Playset mode, only one person can build at a time in Toy Box mode and you cannot download the free Toy Boxes offered online. I've read the PS3, Xbox and Wii U versions are fun, so this is specific to the Wii version of the game.

    We learned this the hard way and my 9 year old son is heartbroken. He saved his own money to buy this game, extra characters and power discs. He loves Disney and watched every video they put out to promote the game and is so disappointed that his version of the game is not the same as what he had seen in the videos. The worst thing is that Disney did not openly communicate these issues before the product launched and don't really seem to care about those that spent the money on it. As a parent, I am very frustrated about the whole thing, and most of all, very sad for my son

  2. By cbarry

    Quote Originally Posted by itig View Post
    Do NOT buy the Wii version of Disney Infinity. It's missing key gameplay features shown in their marketing and advertising and is inferior to the games for other platforms. There is no multiplayer support in Playset mode, only one person can build at a time in Toy Box mode and you cannot download the free Toy Boxes offered online. I've read the PS3, Xbox and Wii U versions are fun, so this is specific to the Wii version of the game.

    We learned this the hard way and my 9 year old son is heartbroken. He saved his own money to buy this game, extra characters and power discs. He loves Disney and watched every video they put out to promote the game and is so disappointed that his version of the game is not the same as what he had seen in the videos. The worst thing is that Disney did not openly communicate these issues before the product launched and don't really seem to care about those that spent the money on it. As a parent, I am very frustrated about the whole thing, and most of all, very sad for my son

    True enough. The multiplayer option, or lack of, is one thing that my twins are upset about. It's one of the problems that always arises when playing on a dying platform. The Wii's days are numbered and as games advance, certain technical aspects can't be handled by a system that is essentially on its way out. It's the only system we have though, so we're making the best out of it and still thoroughly enjoying it. Disney does make mention of this shortcoming on the Infinity website.

  3. By UsBurchs

    We are pathetic when it comes to Disney anything. SUCKERS are what we are! And now, we seem to be raising a little Disney sucker as well! My son, age 9, got a Toys r Us card for his birthday. He spent a lot of it, but had about $30 left and when Disney Infinity came out, he wanted to go check it out. "We're not getting the game, yet. Put it on your Christmas list!" That was all fine and dandy, but those $30 were burning a hole in his pocket. Seeing as how they had a sale (buy one, get one 1/2 off) he ended up buying a couple of the individual figures and some power discs. "But you don't even have the game yet!" I said. No matter. He LOVES the figures and with a lot of wishing and hoping, he's SURE he'll get the game from Santa for Christmas. He loves his Skylanders and I have no doubt we will all enjoy the game . . . in a couple months! LOL! Until then, at least Santa and I know what my son wants for Christmas and I can start buying things here and there as I see them. It sure looks fun! I'm just totally bummed that they cut off the line just as I got to the Disney Infinity pavilion at D23. No special figure for me. BUMMER! I would have LOVED Mickey!!!

  4. By Tinker44

    Joined the Infinity madness this weekend, and I must say that overall I am impressed. We're playing on the WiiU platform and so far no major issues. My husband and I talked about saving it for Christmas, but he's just as bad as the kids when it comes to something new and exciting in the tech-world... moreso if it has a Disney flavour! We've spent most of our time in the "Toybox" mode and its been lots of laughs as we learn the controls and the world-building skills. We dipped into the adventure pak and were a bit surprised Mr. Incredible couldn't play in the Pirate-world alongside Captain Jack. I had thought that was the point. However, they had a blast clobbering each other in the toybox.

    The Powerdiscs are neat as well, the first 4 packs we bought there were zero duplicates, which we thought was incredibly lucky. We picked up 2 more last night and all 4 were duplicates. Bummer there... but we have family who will no doubt be picking up their own device so we'll pass those discs onward.

    A note about the D23 mickey figures... for the truly obsessed there are MANY up for auction on Ebay. And upon close inspection, there does appear to be one listing of a Sorcerer Mickey that will be a store-available version and not the D23 version. I'm willing to bet that a new crop of figures will be released in time for the upcoming holiday season especially since there will be 2 for "Frozen". I, myself, am MOST looking forward to a playset devoted to the parks and park attractions. I've certainly seen enough in the in-game vids and other literature that I think it's a question of WHEN and not IF.

  5. By familymemories

    It's really fun. We have the PS3. I played Sulley in Monsters University. There are so many missions to do.

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