Disney Infinity is not your standard-issue video game.
For one thing, the title, which is available for the Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 3, and the Nintendo Wii U and Wii, will set you back a hefty $74.99 for the "starter kit" alone. For another, Disney Infinity, like Skylanders, revolves around plastic figurines that open up – via a device called an "Infinity Base" – individual gaming experiences.
Drop a figurine into the base, and you're off and running. But is Disney Infinity any good? Well, let's go to the reviews.
"The starter kit comes with figurines of Mr. Incredible, Capt. Jack Sparrow and Sulley, and 'play sets' for their corresponding movies: 'The Incredibles,' 'Pirates of the Caribbean' and 'Monsters University,' " writes Lou Kesten of the Associated Press. "Additional characters cost $13 each; 'Cars' and 'The Lone Ranger' play sets cost $35 each. It's hardly the optimal lineup: Disney's hand-drawn animated classics are absent, and I'd happily trade Tonto for, say, Scrooge McDuck."
The figurines, part two
"The toys themselves are well-made statues; they’re not poseable, but each one really captures the personality of that character with a charismatic stance," writes Daniel Krupa of IGN. "The toys have their own unique style that sparked desire in my inner Disney fan. It’s a good thing, too, because Disney Infinity is really all about celebrating the wonder of toys, and that concept is really sold through some lovely deft touches."
Each figurine "offers 6-8 hours of story-driven, mission-based gaming within that world," writes Jinny Gudmundsen of USA Today. "These missions vary, depending on which world you are in. For example, in Monsters U, the missions relate to using Sulley's scare powers to clean up after rival Fear Tech pulled some pranks... Where this game shines is in its Toy Box mode. Kids can simply explore (and find more digital toy capsules); design and customize their own worlds (ala Minecraft); and create their own games, whether that be racing, sports, platforming or other."
The Toy Box...
"The introductory interactive video for the Toy Box is aimed at sparking your imagination and it is so well done it could bring tears to your eyes. It will show you all of the characters you can play and the endless variety of things you can do in the Magic Kingdom’s digital realm," writes Dean Takahashi of VentureBeat. "This is the part that will make you feel like a kid again, as if you were mashing up characters from different stories on your living room floor."
"The mechanics all flow together very well," writes Andy Robertson of Forbes. "The combat, that slowly expands from single attacks into various combos, complements the various missions. At any one time you can usually choose from a variety of things to do, and if you aren’t feeling all that productive you can simply tour the open world collecting items for the Toy Box and hunting for money and Sparks (the Toy Box currency strangely mirroring the moniker of the Xbox One’s world builder, Project Spark)."
"[Y]ou’ll struggle to play for more than ten minutes at a time without something going wrong," writes Hollander Cooper of GamesRadar. "There are random framerate drops, misleading missions, and a number of technical glitches that halt any momentum the game gains. Don’t be surprised if you need to occasionally restart a mission because of a technical hiccup that renders it unbeatable, and don't be surprised if it happens more than once."
The bottom line
"With its amusing, movie-specific adventures and its deep yet easy-to-use Toy Box, the Disney Infinity starter kit provides more than enough activity to be well worth the $75 price," writes Mr. Kesten of the AP. "But cost-conscious parents should be wary. Once you start adding characters, play sets and power discs, your future investment in Infinity could be, well, infinite."