Disney Infinity 2.0 goes a long way to bringing childhood gaming back as parents remember it.
As children, we all loved action figures. From GI Joe to He-Man, we could create a universe that was just ours and get lost in it; a place where real world rules would vanish and Star Troopers would be fighting against a Ken Doll for control of the intergalactic kingdoms. It didn’t matter to us that they didn’t belong together in the traditional “adult world” sense, or that the fantasy world of Spider-Man did not fit smoothly into the block mechanical universe of LEGO. In our childish capability for infinite imagination, anything and everything was possible.
In modern times, this form of playtime has become archaic. That is not to say this a definitively bad thing; merely that people have moved with the times, experiences now taking place within the realms of preconceived environments. However, there is no denying this limits the potential for children’s imagination, not allowing them the same freedom we had as children, since the worlds are already created, the dialogue already written and the actions pre-set.
Disney Infinity’s second instalment, Marvel Superheroes (or Disney Infinity 2.0), aims to cleverly recreate those moments of pure childhood imagination, but before we introduce you to their latest offering, it’s best we take a more technical look at what Disney Infinity is all about.
The Marvel influence
Disney Infinity is (now) a series of sandbox video games which showcases the characters owned by Disney. The first game featured characters and adventures from the likes of The Incredibles, Pirates of the Caribbean and Monsters University. This new version, 2.0, focuses on the Marvel Universe, including characters from Avengers, Spider-Man and impressively, Guardians of the Galaxy.
For those less familiar with gaming, in a sandbox game the player has minimal restrictions during play, meaning they are free to roam around the virtual world of the game, able to interact with the environment and change it at will. A popular example would be the Grand Theft Auto and Saints Row series, where the player could choose to ignore the set tasks and storyline – pretty much doing whatever they want!
The Starter Kit
The Disney Infinity 2.0 starter kit comes with a platform of sorts, called the Infinity Base. This features three dials to place the characters on and the Avenger playset, as well as three Avengers characters, namely Iron-Man, Thor and Black Widow. These are actual toy figurines, emulating some of our experiences of playing with action figures, something further enhanced by the characters in the game changing immediately when you remove and replace the figures. The “playset” is basically the story mode of the game and when placed on the platform, begins the storyline for that set of characters.
The physical interaction with the figurines is without doubt the coolest element of this game, offering an intimacy that is often lacking from modern playtime. Each character also comes with a unique set of abilities and tools, which offers different methods of tackling the tasks set by the game.
A new addition to the Disney Infinity universe is the “Skill Tree”, which allows players to gain experience and upgrade character traits and abilities, offering a toned-down version of an RPG. When you upgrade to a new skill, several “branches” stemming from that skill are unlocked, enabling the player to go in a certain direction. This presents the gamer with a choice to focus on a specific skill journey, so that, even if you gain maximum XP points, you cannot fill all of the skill tree, forcing you to think about the decisions you make and the strengths of your character. This is a big leap forward for Disney.
Other characters and playsets apart from the Avengers are sold separately, but if you had the first version of Infinity and its characters, you can still use them too – so a battle between Jack Sparrow and Black Widow on the big screen can be a very real thing. There are also various opportunities for multiplayer gaming, as your figurine retains the memory of its upgrades, which means you can take it over to a friend’s house and just place it on their Infinity Base.
Disney Infinity also comes with another game mode, the “toybox” mode, where players are allowed to literally create their own worlds and environments and then play and interact within them. The items and options on offer are pretty varied and interesting to manipulate, though there is a catch: many of them need to be unlocked by playing and completing tasks within the Playset mode. For players who want to make “Toyboxing” an easier aspect of the game, Infinity 2.0 offers in-built mini-games and templates. The “Toybox” mode is really Disney Infinity’s truest “back-to-basics” feature, providing a limitless platform for imagination.
Combining the fact that the 2.0 features characters from the popular Avengers and Guardians universes, offers complicated character building and significant story mode gameplay time (five to seven hours by our count), the game is open to both adults and children alike. For parents, with its very PG rating, Disney Infinity is a perfect gaming option; why not join your kids in building levels and defeating baddies?
Price: Starter kit: £52.00
Spider-Man and Guardians Playset: £28 each
Additional characters: £12.50 each
Compatibility: The Disney Infinity is compatible with PC and all major consoles.