REVIEW – Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition (Wii U)

Over the past few years, Disney has been creating their own video game platform, and they call it Disney Infinity. While many may see this as just another game with collectible figurines, it has really evolved into its own genre. The newest edition, version 3.0, brings a Toy Box Hub, Toy Box Expansion games, farming with sidekicks, path creator, toy dispenser, music note creator, new set pieces, Radio Disney, more Marvel and Disney characters and adventures, Star Wars, and more.

With all this new content, you might be wondering if it is worth jumping into the new version or not. Others of you have probably already got the Starter Pack, but you are curious if the expansions or new characters are worth getting. In the end, it all depends on how much time and money you want to invest in Disney Infinity. This game, or platform, is quite huge, but we are going to do our best to cover it all in this review. Do note, though, that we plan on having a video discussion based solely on Disney Infinity 3.0 sometime in the future, where we will further discuss things we mention here.

For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, let me quickly get you up to speed. Disney Infinity is really two games in one. There are Playsets, which allow you to progress through levels and worlds based on Disney properties. For example, the Star Wars Play Sets let you play through a story based in their world using Star Wars characters. The Toy Box is the other half of Disney Infinity, which allows you to create and play in a virtual “sand box” with all your figures and set pieces. You can create worlds, games, and more. And since this is the third version, there are so many characters and pieces to use in your Toy Box. Most games and modes allow for two players locally, and many allow for four players online.

Let’s start with a look at the new figures. If you have seen past figures, the new ones are just as you would expect. They are high quality, and they look fantastic. The Marvel and Star Wars characters are modeled after their cartoon-style counterparts, while the Disney ones look like the modern versions seen in TV shows and movies. As with the versions before them, these are great for any collector, even if you do not play the game. On top of using these new figures in the new version, all characters from the first two versions also work inside the Toy Box in this game. This is something I really appreciate, because it means all my old figures are still relevant. I only wish I could play the old Play Sets without firing up the previous versions.

In addition to new figures, we also get new Play Sets. As of now, there are five — three for Star Wars, one for Marvel, and one for Disney. The three that I’ve played so far are Star Wars: Twilight of the Republic, Star Wars: Rise Against the Empire, and Inside Out. I feel like the Star Wars sets more represent an actual game, and the Inside Out one got really boring since all I was doing was collecting things and popping balloons. Star Wars might have had me do some of that, but the combat was very solid. Likewise, the graphics looked better for Star Wars. Inside Out had many issues with missing frames and mouth movements not matching up with voices. If you’re a fan of Star Wars, I highly recommend getting at least the Rise Against the Empire set, which is based on the original trilogy.

The Toy Box mode has really expanded since the first Disney Infinity. Interiors, which were introduced in the second version have been improved, along with all the other features mentioned earlier. While all these new additions make for some incredible user-created games, I often find myself getting overwhelmed. If you are not willing to put the time and effort into learning how to develop games in Toy Box mode, it will not be of much use to you. The good thing, however, is the online connectivity has been much improved. It allows you to download and play the many amazing creations from others, including the official Disney Infinity development team. I will also say that the missing touch-screen controls for Wii U are still a huge missed opportunity when it comes to building.

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As mentioned earlier, though, the Toy Box has also expanded through, what Disney is appropriately calling, Toy Box Expansions. These are additional games that were fully created within the Toy Box, but are much grander in scale than the ones you can download. Toy Box Takeover has you defending the Toy Box from Syndrome (villain from The Incredibles) with the help of all the Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars characters. Toy Box Speedway is its own Mario Kart style game featuring many tracks based off of popular Disney franchises. They are not as polished as the Play Sets, though. Frame rates and unsynchronized mouths and voices abound. The Speedway one has you popping out to the main hub after each race, instead of taking you back to an area to pick your next race. They are far from perfect, but they do offer additional gameplay beyond just building and tinkering in the Toy Box.

Overall, the graphics are just okay for an HD console. Some are better than others, but I was never blown away by what I was seeing. The music, though, is always great, because it’s based on the franchise. And since Disney owns all the rights to their own franchises, you always get the music and sound effects you would expect. John Williams score plays during Star Wars levels, the Sugar Rush theme plays during the Wreck It Ralph themed Speedway race, and so forth. An unfortunate disappointment, though, were the load times. The Wii U is not known for incredibly fast load times, but I have experienced some much faster with other games that have just as much content. Even when it was loading the main menu, it takes quite a while.

One last thing to note is that this title is one of the most cross-platform games in existence today. If you have Disney Infinity on another game console, mobile phone, or tablet, you can synchronize them to the same account. This will allow you to build Toy Box levels on one platform, save them to the cloud, and pick up on another platform later. I know several people who build on their iPad when they are traveling, and then pick back up on their Wii U when they get home. Likewise, even if a Toy Box level was created by someone on another game console, you can still play it on your Wii U. There are no console-specific features or pieces that do not work on another system.

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Disney Infinity 3.0 is a huge game that has become its own game platform. You truly get so much for the investment. There is so much to do, though, that it can be overwhelming for newcomers. If you are a huge fan of Star Wars, this is a great way to play through those worlds. Aspiring game developers will also love this, since it allows you to create fully functioning games inside the Toy Box. Although, if you do not care for the Star Wars or Marvel franchises, and you are not much of of a Toy Box creator, you may want to just grab an older version for now. If you are still on the fence and if you have a smartphone or tablet, do yourself a favor and download the free version, which allows you to sample the game. The third edition of Disney Infinity is definitely not flawless, but it will provide hours of enjoyment for game developers and Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars fans.