This episode breaches the peace treaty with Tetsuya Nomura
When you look at the scope of Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes (2.0 Edition), it’s hard to not feel very small. This game is multiple arms of an enormous juggernaut of a megacorporation, glued together like some money-eating Frankenstein’s monster. It’s a good thing that Disney Infinity has a fairly solid core; otherwise this nefarious get-rich-quick scheme would be completely objectionable.
In Marvel Super Heroes’ starter edition, you get three figures (Iron Man, Thor, and Black Widow), the Avengers playset, and the Toy Box disc. It costs $75, and contains just about everything worth buying from the first wave of Marvel figures. Hypothetically, you could spend hundreds of dollars buying three playsets and nine single figures, but only a handful of them are particularly exciting.
Not to say most of the figures are bad. Rather, they play like standard action-platformer characters. Rocket Raccoon, for example, fires guns that have no weight or power to them, but they deal a standard amount of damage. Venom has powerful attacks, but it’s a chore to get him from point A to point B. The best Disney Infinity figures have both robust movement and powerful, responsive attacks. Of course, there are exceptions — Iron Fist is an excellent fighter, but can’t get around all that well — so if you’re not a kid who is easily amused by playing as the Hulk, buy a character that can fly.
Each character is equipped with an expansive skill tree, but since each character levels up individually, you’ll end up sticking with one or two high-leveled heroes. Towards the end of a playset, the difficulty ratchets up to the point where a stronger character is all but mandatory. Thor can basically mow down waves of enemies on his own and he can fly; why should I bother slamming Black Widow against enormous Frost Giants for hours on end?
The available playsets — Avengers, Spider-Man, and Guardians of the Galaxy — each contain a level of verticality that demands flight. Collectibles litter the map like debris after 10-car pileup, and a surprising amount of them are floating in the air. The maps are quite large, and missions are often miles apart.
As for the missions themselves, they play like a decent licensed game from the PS2 era. Defeating enemies results in an explosive cornucopia of little pixels to collect. The platforming splits the difference between ‘engaging’ and ‘boring’, and the writing is humorous, but not particularly clever. It’s perfectly acceptable children’s entertainment, lacking any kind of crossover appeal. If you’re an adult who wants to play a game with their younger child, these playsets might be for you. You may not be particularly enthralled, but your kid will have a grand old time.
What makes Disney Infinity worth a look for people outside a younger demographic is the Toy Box. At first glance, it’s a simple Minecraft-esque, Disney-branded creation tool. Dedicated players could, given enough time and bathroom breaks, recreate whole movies. But to do so would limit yourself to only half of what the Toy Box has to offer.
The Toy Box contains both game creation and procedural generation tools, so you can put together a race or a platforming challenge in a few seconds as opposed to manually placing each piece of track. It’s an excellent option for time-conscious players or kids who just want to have a mini-Helicarrier race as soon as possible. You can also group up with people online within the Toy Box, opening the door for endless comedy potential. For example, you can create enemy characters in the Toy Box. I chose to drop them in a bottomless pit.
This only matters if you can afford the game. The Marvel Super Heroes starter pack costs $75, playsets cost $35, and individual figures cost $13. Without tax, that’s $262. A cheaper ‘Toy Box Starter Set’ will be released at some point, and owners of the original Disney Infinity base will be able to take advantage of a $20 Toy Box 2.0 download. There’s no practical reason to rush out and buy the new Starter Pack, unless your kid has been demanding it for months. But if that’s the case, there’s nothing I can do to help you.
[Disclaimer: This review was set to originally post on Parade.com, but that didn’t happen. Also, we got literally every figure and playset to review. Thought that was worth mentioning]