A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Disney Infinity 3.0: Marvel Battlegrounds is a brawling game along the lines of Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. series. Play involves constant -- though relatively mild -- melee and weapon-based combat between plastic toys that break into bits and disappear when defeated. Heroes fight both villains and other heroes, so there's not much to easily distinguish good guys from bad; it's all about who wins each short battle. Competitive play supports up to four players locally, which can make for good competition and fun rivalries among friends. Note that kids will be familiar with most, if not all of the heroes and villains in the game, which could make them want to spend money on more of Disney Infinity's collectible figures, which are sold separately and used to unlock additional content within the game. Note, too, that this is an expansion play set and that the base game -- Disney Infinity 3.0 -- is required.
What's it about?
DISNEY INFINITY 3.0: MARVEL BATTLEGROUNDS -- an expansion play set for Disney Infinity 3.0, which is required in order to play -- is a brawler for up to four players that pits heroes and villains against each other in rounds of combat that last a few minutes each. Battles take place in square arenas set everywhere from a train yard on earth to a fantastical place far off in the galaxy called The Middle of Nowhere. Players can punch, kick, shoot, throw, and block their opponents while charging up unique a special attack that can usually be unleashed once or twice per battle. Different modes have different objectives, which may include being the last hero standing, accruing the most time spent in a glowing circle, or eliminating as many enemies as you can in a set amount of time. A separate story mode delivers the same brawling action in the same locations, but with battles separated by short narrative sequences where a robotic doppelganger threat (used to explain why heroes are often fighting heroes) is revealed. The Marvel Battlegrounds play set also unlocks additional toys to be used in Disney Infinity 3.0's toy box mode.
Is it any good?
With a trio of Marvel-themed action-adventure play sets already available for Disney Infinity 2.0, it's nice to see Disney go in a fresh direction with the brawler-themed game. The button-mashing combat should prove instantly familiar to kids who've played Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. games, letting even beginner players pull off cool moves simply by repeatedly hammering the attack button. And while players who have purchased more Disney Infinity Marvel characters will have more playable heroes and villains from which to choose at the outset, Battlegrounds allows kids who have only Captain Marvel (who comes with the play set) to try others for free. A different trio of characters is made available each week, and players can earn tokens in story mode that can be used to try any other characters of their choice.
But it does feel a bit less substantial than other Disney Infinity play sets. The story mode will take most kids less than an hour to play through, which means most of the value comes from the versus mode -- which only shines if you have one or more friends with whom to play. Plus, there are only two female heroes in the 26 character roster, which could leave some girls disappointed. But while Marvel Battlegrounds may not be the biggest or most robust play set yet released for a Disney Infinity game, kids who love the Marvel universe are bound to have a lot of fun.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the impact of violence in media. Some games contextualize violence with narrative, while others -- like Marvel Battlegrounds -- let players get straight to the fighting; is one preferable over the other?
Talk about gender representation in games. Marvel Battlegrounds has more than two dozen fighters, but only two of them are female -- despite there being plenty of female characters in the comics, so how do you think this makes girl players feel? What message does it send to boys?
- Platforms: Nintendo Wii U, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One
- Price: $29.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Disney Interactive
- Release date: March 14, 2016
- Genre: Fighting
- Topics: Superheroes, Robots, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Cartoon Violence
Themes & Topics
For kids who love superheroes
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.