Ok let’s start at the beginning with Skylanders first before I get into Disney Infinity, when Activision brought out Skylanders - Spyro’s Adventure two years ago it was a huge gamble from Activision. The idea that players would buy a game and use related figures to expand the experience seemed too expensive and very risky since it would look like a money grab. Not only did the experiment work, but it also created a big franchise.
Disney is a juggernaut with its vast library of television and film characters which most people know. The game is split into two modes, each with different mechanics. The first is Play Sets, which takes the world of a movie or series and transforms it into an adventure with appropriate tasks. Though each play set differs in content and focus, the basics are similar.
You’re given an open world to explore with no load times, but the worlds are quite small, so don’t expect Saints Row type game. You’re free to do as you please, and there are plenty of side-quests to occupy your time. There’s also a litany of world-specific collectibles and achievements. Specific missions propel the tale forward, and they are the most important aspect if you want to progress. While the sets can be played solo, you can also play them in co-op. Due to the split-screen nature of co-op, players can play together or independently as long as they stay within the same area of the map.
Included in the starter pack are three play sets with three corresponding figures. The first play set is Monsters University with Sulley. Instead of doing an adaptation of the movie events, the game focuses on a nebulous time within the movie universe, so it’s spoiler-free for those who haven’t seen the film yet. The Monster University game begins at the start of Fear-it Week, when Monsters University and rival school Fear Tech compete in a series of tasks and games to rack up points. With school pride on the line, it’s be up to you to clean up the mess caused by Fear Tech students and then travel to their campus to create some mischief.
Monsters University is set up with a focus on stealth and platforming rather than combat. Though you fight a few Fear Tech bullies with toilet paper guns, paintball guns and a charge move, scares are your main mode of offense, and they are more effective when you sneak up on an unsuspecting target. When you aren’t scaring students, you’ll set up gag items that launch an unsuspecting student into the air, get him painted or send him down a sewer. Beyond this, you’ll collect stuff and do fetch quests, like painting over rival posters, dressing up students or getting rid of toilet paper and banners from your campus
The lack of dedicated combat limits the appeal of this play set, but it’s perfect for those who just want to goof off. There are lots of people you can throw for no good reason, and the focus on prank traps really opens up once you obtain more traps that you can chain together. There are even ramps and half-pipes on which you can perform bike tricks.
You won’t be doing anything complicated, but it’s a nice diversion. The variety of fetch quests keep the player engaged since the game spaces out activities before they start to repeat. There’s rarely a time when you don’t feel like you have anything to do, and when you consider the size of each location, that’s a good thing.
With Pirates of the Caribbean making up the second play set of Disney Infinity, and with this play set it provides an alternate take on the second and third films. Playing with the included Captain Jack Sparrow figure, you race against time to stop Davy Jones from obtaining the treasures required to rule the seas. You want the same treasures to stop the Kraken that Davy Jones controls.
The Pirates of the Caribbean play set has straightforward platforming action. You’ll solve light puzzles or jump from ledge to ledge to reach higher places or find hidden treasure chests. Swordplay is your main form of combat, and you’ll duke it out with Davy Jones’ crew. You have secondary weaponry in the form of pistols and bombs, but their reload times are quite long, so you have to mix things up to make your attacks effective.