Disney Infinity 2.0 (Wii U, PS3, PS4, PC, 360, XBox One)

Disney Infinity FiguresLast year, Disney got into the “real toy figures used in a videogame” market with it’s new Disney Infinity line. While the game had story modes, accessible via the correct figures, the main attraction was a Toy Box mode where gamers could construct, trade, and play in worlds of their own design. Disney Infinity returns this year with the creatively titled “2.0” version. The new story mode has advantages and disadvantages over last year’s game, but the new Toy Box mode has seen some major improvements, so that it easily eclipses the Story Mode part of the game.

Disney Infinity 2.0 belongs to an increasingly popular genre of videogames. Gamers purchase a videogame but may ALSO collect plastic figurines which are combined with the videogame to unlock additional content. Not just a way to siphon off your money, the plastic figurines also store information about that character and its experiences in the game. This allows gamers to bring their figures to their friends’ houses and continue their experience there.

As mentioned, there are two ways to play the game. First, one can use the characters to play through story based levels designed just for use with that particular figure. Spiderman and his common allies and villains in specific Spiderman related adventures. The second way to play is through an open-ended sandbox mode called Toy Box mode. In this mode, gamers are able to construct their own worlds (or “levels”) for open-ended play. This could include constructing raceways, battlegrounds, and the like. Players begin is a large number of items with which to build their world, but even more can be unlocked through gameplay. In Toy Box mode, any figure can be used (including figures from last year’s Disney Infinity game)

Disney infinity starter

Disney Infinity 2.0 now comes in two flavors, the Marvel Super Heroes starter pack (containing Iron Man, Thor, and Black Widow) and the Toy Box starter set (containing Stitch and Merida from Brave). I highly recommend the Marvel Super Heroes version. While both provide mission-based fun in the Toy Box mode, the Marvel starter version has a specific Story Mode (only available to specific figures – including the starter ones) for its figures while the figures in the Toy Box starter set do not have an equivalent set of “Story Mode missions”. The software is the same for both sets, so unlocking the Marvel “Story Modes” is simply accomplished by purchasing some Marvel figures.

Gamers who enjoyed (or didn’t) last year’s version of Infinity will find many new improvements with the 2.0 edition. Characters now have “skill trees” allowing each figure to become even more individualized as they gain experience. Some characters now have the ability to fly (or climb, or swing), freeing up another dimension with which to play. The Story Mode is huge compared to last years areas – possibly 4x larger than the original’s largest story area. Also, just one character will unlock all the corresponding quests for that family. (ie. Just having Hawkeye will unlock all the Avengers missions – a few characters can even be used in more than one Story Mode area.) Perhaps best of all, all 1.0 characters, items, and whatnot can be used in the Story Mode in the new version. Gamers can even go online to download their Toy Box toys earned through last year’s gameplay.

I consider the Story Mode to be roughly comparable to last year’s effort (different in some ways, better in others) but Disney wisely put its greatest effort into improving its primary advantage over other games of this type: the Toy Box mode. The original Toy Box had many options to explore and some gamers were able to accomplish great things. Better yet, the Toy Box was accessible to any figure – thus requiring no additional figure purchases. However, the entire thing was confusing to a large number of gamers. There was a steep learning curve and building anything from scratch was time consuming and tedious. In Infinity 2.0 this has changed. There are new “mission” types which can be accessed in Toy Box mode. Gamers can play through tower defense type games, dungeon crawls, races, platforming challenges, and more. The best part of the new Toy Box mode, however is an amazing set of options to let the game build its own levels! Yes, with just a bit of guiding, the game uses templates to create worlds containing raceways, castles, platform levels, mini-missions, and more. For consummate builders, the new version adds in the ability to decorate the insides of buildings too.

With minor improvements to the (Marvel) Story Mode, such as multiplayer right out of the box, and a greatly expanded Toy Box mode, this year’s Disney Infinity 2.0 stands as one of the best games of the year. Infinity’s developers wisely chose to take the brand’s best feature (the Toy Box mode) and put serious effort into making it even better. While the cost of the game can easily be prohibitive (so hard to restrain oneself from adding figures and other power-up items), it stands out as one of the best games out there to encourage kid’s (and adult’s) creativity.

disney infinity screenshot

Kid Factor: Lots of cartoon violence, but no blood and other yucky stuff. It’s officially rated 10+ but I wouldn’t mind my much younger kids play the game. If a kid can handle the controller (joystick, Wiimote, whatever) then Disney Infinity 2.0 should not be a problem. I would say the Story Mode might be challenging – but with all the improvements to the system, such as templates, that is no longer a big problem. Besides, my own boys spent most of their time in last year’s Toy Box mode and they hardly knew how to build anything!

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