E3 2013 - Disney Infinity Hands-On Impressions

6/14/2013 at 5:23 PM

To Infinity, and... You get the idea.

After Skylanders took the world by storm, it was only a matter of time before someone else followed suit. When Disney Infinity was announced, it only made sense. With the range of characters and IPs that Disney owns, it's easy to see the kind of legs this game could have. We got about 30 minutes of playtime with the game on the show floor.

First off, just like Skylanders, Disney Infinity is based around the concept of figurines with small chips inside that interact with a platform that can tell what figure is placed on it, then load them into the game. The twist with Infinity is that the platform can load characters, tilesets, powerups and entire game worlds, depending on what you place on it.

Disney Infinity contains two basic modes - the Playset mode, where you're locked within a certain universe to play set missions, and the Toybox mode, which lets you mix and match to your heart's content, creating environments and behaviors, similar to games like Little Big Planet.

Since my kid is super into Cars, I was given the opportunity to check out the Cars playset, where Lightning McQueen and his pals race through Radiator Springs, compete in races, trick competitions, and even some vehicular combat. Back in town, there are plenty of other activities to take part in, such as rounding up speeding cars or customizing the NPCs that roam throughout.

Other playsets are more cooperative in nature, such as The Incredibles and Pirates of the Caribbean. Regardless of what mode or playset you're using, the game supports two player local play and four player online play. I asked if the game would support combo co-op, and got a bit of a half-hearted "yes", so I'll leave that feature up in the air for now.

The Toybox mode is where you can build adventures for yourself and your friends, using the full range of figurines and coins. In my demo time I was shown a user created soccer stadium, complete with fireworks displays whenever someone scored, an arena full of enemies to be defeated by you and your friends, and some pits full of goop that increase or decrease the size of the characters. I rampaged around for a while with a gigantic Davy Jones on a tiny horse, fending off waves of Agrabah guards from Aladdin.

In essence, the game will be as co-op as you want it to be. Certain playsets will be designed as cooperative experiences, and the Toybox mode should be fun to run around with buddies, especially since the developer I spoke to mentioned that their internal testers had recreated Contra using its toolset. Levels you create on your own machine can be uploaded into the figures and brought over to your friends' games, regardless of what platform they're using. 

Overall, I was impressed with what I saw - the deep IP pockets Disney has should keep the playsets and figurines coming, and it doesn't take much imagination to think about how they could extend the concept to the Marvel and Star Wars universes in the future.

Disney Infinity will be available on August 18th for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, WiiU and 3DS. It supports two player local co-op and four player online co-op.