That Was a Game 008 – Disney Infinity 3.0

We conclude our look at Star Wars racing games (for the moment) by checking out Disney Infinity 3.0’s “Toy Box Speedway” mode.  We also comment on the weirdness of Disney Infinity 3.0 in general, like Hulk piloting an AT-ST and Chewbacca driving through Gravity Falls!

What if I told you there was a game that allowed you to play as characters from all of Disney’s many properties – Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars  And this game was a platformer…and an open-world action game…and a Diablo clone…and a kart racer? Today we’re looking at Disney Infinity 3.0.

I’m kinda cheating here.  Usually I cover retro games that use classic licenses in weird or interesting ways.  Disney Infinity 3.0 came out in 2015.  It’s not old at all.

Disney Infinity is Disney’s entry into the “Toys to Life” genre of videogames, like Skylanders or Lego Dimensions.  You put a real-life action figure or a level pack onto a little plastic device and the action figure appears in the game.  You can buy more physical action figures that then unlock characters and levels in the videogame.

If you’re thinking, “This sounds like a money pit,” you’re not wrong.

But also, Disney Infinity is the only modern game I play right now.  Disney Infinity 1.0 came out in 2013 and focused on Cars, The Lone Ranger, and Monsters Inc.  Disney Infinity 2.0 came out in 2014 and focused on Marvel Comics characters – specifically Spider-Man, the Avengers, and the Guardians of the Galaxy.  Disney Infinity 3.0 came out in 2015 and set its sights on Star Wars – all three eras of Star Wars to be exact.

The first two Disney Infinity games were criticized for their dull combat, so this time around, Disney got the developer Ninja Theory to overhaul the combat.  Ninja Theory made the Devil May Cry reboot a few years ago, which played really well, but didn’t sell really well.  I applaud Disney for finding a good developer that just needed a more mainstream IP to showcase their talents to a wider audience.

Disney Infinity 3.0 is not as technically competent as a Devil May Cry or a Bayonetta or Arkham Asylum.  It’s a little button-mashy, but the moves look cool, which is fun for someone like me.

For example, my favorite move is where Princess Leia rams a bantha into a stormtrooper, then she leaps off the bantha and shoots them.  She can juggles a stormtrooper, then kicks them in the air.  Then the game slows into bullet-time while Leia shoots them.  Then she calls down a bunch of little soldiers to swarm the bad guys.  Just the best.

Luke has a move where he pulls bad guys to him with his Force powers, slashes at them with his lightsaber, then blasts them a few times.  Really, really satisfying.

This is a game where anybody can ride a TaunTaun and gun down probe droids and wampas.  This never happened in the movies, but it’s delightful!

Disney Infinity 3.0 been described as an open-world game for babies, which isn’t far from the truth.  It has the same sort of story-missions and fetch quests and destroy x number of MacGuffins that you’d find in a World of Warcraft or Skyrim.  There’s a lot of fetch-quests, but they’re hidden well within the lore of Star Wars – stuff like “You need to find all the members of the Mos Eisley cantina band and bring them to the bar so they can play their show.” So it’s also super silly and fun to play.

The core of Disney Infinity 3.0 are the four major campaigns or playsets  The starter set has the Star Wars prequel trilogy and that’s $65.  Then there’s the Original Trilogy playset, Force Awakens playset, and Inside Out playset, which are each $35 (although they’re always on sale).

The playsets each come with 2 figures apiece, and then each figure is another $10 to $13.  Just…try not to think about how much money I’ve spent on Disney Infinity.

But in the main Star Wars playsets at least, there’s no mixing of the other Disney universes.  Wreck-It Ralph can’t play in the Star Wars campaigns.  Which is a real bummer.  Only Han, Leia, Luke, and Chewie are playable in the Original Trilogy campaign.  Other characters from the other Star Wars trilogies, like Finn or Anakin or Asohka are unlockable if you find little tokens scattered throughout the world.

Toy Box Speedway

But Disney Infinity 3.0 is not just about playing Star Wars campaigns.  There’s a playset called Toy Box Speedway that’s basically a Mario Kart knockoff, but for Disney characters.

Here’s the deal though.  It’s a pretty good Mario Kart knockoff.  Disney contracted Sumo Digital to develop Toy Box Speedway, and Sumo Digital made some of the best Mario Kart knockoffs in recent history, with the two Sega All-Stars Racing games.  So the pedigree is there.

There’s 9 levels in all, based on various Disney properties, like Frozen, Guardians of the Galaxy, and of course, Star Wars.  Even the Disney Channel series, Gravity Falls makes an appearance!  This actually may be the only time that Gravity Falls will appear in full 3D.

Any Disney character can play in this mode and invade any of the universes.  Want Yoda to drive a landspeeder through Agrabah?  You got it!  Remember Wreck-It Ralph’s entire third act was in a kart racer?  There’s a level from that game too.  And if I want to drive Chewbacca through the Nightmare Before Christmas, gosh darn it, I can do that.

It must be said that Toy Box Speedway is another $20, and it can’t be played without buying all the other Disney Infinity stuff.  So…ummm…it’s a lot of money to play a small, but fun kart racer.

Toy Box Takeover

And then there’s Toy Box Takeover, another $20 expansion for Disney Infinity 3.0.

In Toy Box Takeover, apparently Syndrome, the bad guy from The Incredibles, has decided to pool all the Disney universes’ villains together.

This means that Venom and Darth Vader work for Syndrome.  So of course Merlin from Sword in the Stone is your mentor in the fight against Syndrome.

Which is preposterous and silly and I also love it.  Because it provides the flimsiest of excuses to get the best and brightest of Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and other Disney products to fight through waves of bad guys in levels themed on the Lone Ranger, Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Wars, and The Incredibles.

Like, Inside Out’s Anger shooting fireballs at bad guys on the Death Star.  Luke and Leia riding horses and shooting cattle rustlers.  Doesn’t make a lick of sense, and I love it.

And you have not lived until you’ve destroyed a whole bridge of stormtroopers with Hulk piloting an AT-ST.

Or fought Darth Vader as Groot.  That’s right.  I’m a tree fighting Darth Vader.

Toy Box Takeover could devolve into a simple arcade style beat ‘em up like Double Dragon or the Ninja Turtles arcade game.  But characters have pretty diverse, individualized movesets.  They also gain experience points and can level up and invest skill points into unlocking new abilities and suping up their stats.

Really, Toy Box Takeover is a simplified Diablo clone, but with Disney characters.

Toy Box Takeover even has Diablo-style pets, which are computer-controlled support characters that help attack bad guys.  These pets (or “sidekicks” as Toy Box Takeover calls them) represent even more Disney characters – usually ones that aren’t big enough to warrant making a figure out of, like Robin Hood or the Seven Dwarves.  I personally love equipping Fix-It Felix with a bazooka and letting him go to town on bad guys.

I’ve just scratched the surface of what Disney Infinity 3.0 has.  There’s a whole level creation suite; there’s a prequel trilogy campaign and a Force Awakens campaign that I barely mentioned.  There’s also an Inside Out campaign that plays like a platformer.

Disney Infinity 3.0 is the kind of cross-universe, canon-ignoring goofy  game that I really enjoy.  It’s not the best game in the world by any stretch, but I love it.  It’s a weird, weird game that loves its licenses but also knows to not take itself so seriously.  Like, it has Jar Jar Binks frozen in carbonite.  It’s that kind of game.


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