What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know Disney Infinity is an action adventure game that uses real toy figurines to introduce characters into the game. Inspired by Activision's toy-based Skylanders games, the $74.99 base game -- which includes a stand on which players set figurines to transport characters into the game, plus three figurines -- can be augmented with additional real-world toys that start at $12.99 per figurine. Beyond the cost, kids will engage in cartoon-like violence with weapons including swords and guns. There's no blood or gore (the toy-like characters simply break apart and disappear), but there is a first-person aiming mechanic. All of this said, the game's Toy Box mode is a great outlet for creativity, allowing players to express themselves through the creation of worlds and games of their own design.
What kids can learn
- making new creations
- producing new content
- meeting challenges together
- digital creation
- using and applying technology
Engagement, Approach, Support
The cute design and simplicity of play set adventures will draw kids in, but the overwhelming, somewhat confusing nature of the Toy Box mode could prove off-putting for some players.
Toy Box mode encourages kids to experiment, create, and share. Kids will learn through trial and error. Observation, analysis, and tenacity will lead them to imagine and build bigger and better creations.
The manual contains scant instructions. Some in-game tutorials exists, but players are largely left to figure things out on their own. The Disney Infinity website offers some basic tips.
What's it about?
Inspired by Activision's Skylanders, DISNEY INFINITY offers players the ability to play as dozens of beloved Disney characters -- so long as they own the corresponding toy figure. The starter pack comes with three figurines -- Mr. Incredible, Captain Jack Sparrow, and the always lovable monster Sulley. It also comes with three \"play sets,\" open-world narrative adventures based on the characters' corresponding films. These sets let players run around completing scores of quick little missions. Other characters (purchased separately for $12.99 or in add-on play sets for $34.99) can be used in play sets only if they appeared in the movie, so you won't see Captain Jack swaggering around the Monsters University campus.
Beyond the play sets there's a mode called Toy Box in which players can take on quick one-off challenges (races, arena battles, etc.) and visit an evolving amphitheater to admire the characters they've collected. But the meat of the Toy Box mode comes in creating worlds of your own design. Kids start with 250 toys and gradually unlock hundreds more -- balls, lights, buildings, hills, trees, textures -- that they can place as they like in their own Toy Boxes, developing worlds and even simple games that can then be shared with others.
Is it any good?
There's so much going on that it will take a while for most players to begin feeling really comfortable with everything at their disposal. Indeed, there's a good chance many kids will simply ignore most of the Toy Box offerings altogether (at least initially) and just work through the play set adventures, which are much easier to digest. However, for those interested in all the Toy Box mode has to offer, there are Mastery Adventures, which serve as basic tutorials. Discovering how to use the game- and world-altering command elements and logic blocks in the Toy Box editor can take some time. But for kids willing to stick with it, there are some powerful game creation tools at their disposal. And it is super fun to have all the Disney characters meet in one big sandbox.
However, it's impossible to ignore the cost of it all. Purchasing everything available at launch will cost more than $250. And a second wave of toys is coming shortly thereafter. From the Hall of Heroes, where you see not just the characters you have, but also those you don't, to chests that can be opened only by specific characters, everything in the game seems designed to make the player want to buy more. Even in the starter pack, you can't play any of the three included play sets in cooperative mode until you purchase a second character for each corresponding film. Disney Infinity is often fun and undeniably huge. The programmable toys in the Toy Box are brilliant. But it's also a somewhat chaotic and heavy into convincing families to buy more.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the impact of violence in games. In highly cartoonish kids' games is there a meaningful difference between stomping a fantastical foe and using a gun and first-person targeting to shoot a human-like enemy?
Families can also discuss consumerism. When companies release groups of linked products that don't cost much individually, it's often with the intent to encourage people to gradually buy them all before they realize how much money they're spending in total. What are some ways in which you might exercise self-control in these situations?
|Platforms:||Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Wii U, PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360|
|Available online?||Not available online|
|Release date:||August 18, 2013|
|Topics:||Cars and trucks, Princesses and fairies, Superheroes|
|ESRB rating:||E10+ for Cartoon Violence |