The lights are on
Disney Infinity was a big hit for Disney, which had experienced some rough years in the gaming space. The game took some of the company’s most popular brands and put them in their respective worlds with appropriately themed gameplay. Infinity also added collectable toys and a freeform Toy Box mode, which encouraged experimentation and creative play. That combination proved to be irresistible, and a sequel was a no-brainer. We’ve spent some time with the follow-up, which adds a heroic twist. Here are some of the things about Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes that we’re especially excited about.
Instant Toy BoxesSome people enjoy the satisfaction that comes with spending hours building and iterating on their own Toy Box creations. On the other hand, not everyone has the time, talent, or inclination to do that. In the new game, players can use several tools to speed up construction. In our demo, I saw an elaborate tree pop up in seconds, with branches to climb and explore, bridges to cross, and more. Each was constructed from pieces in the game’s Toy Box parts list, and players can remove elements, adjust them or otherwise tweak the tree as they see fit. Similar tools allow players to build castles, towns, and complicated platforming challenges just as easily. Avalanche says the toolset even lets users automatically build entire Toy Boxes from scratch – including terrain, enemy characters, and collectables. This will be a boon for players who enjoy exploration in games like Minecraft.
Deeper ToolsThe Toy Box is deeper this time around, with sophisticated new tools that give creators additional freedom. Highlights include the ability to connect Toy Boxes together through doors; customizable inventories and the building blocks required to create and manage in-game economies; and user-configurable NPCs. If you’re paying attention, those could be used in tandem to create simple RPGs. Once again, even if you aren’t likely to use those tools yourself, you can still reap the benefits thanks to the ability to download other users’ creations. After all, keep those creative types happy and everyone can enjoy their work.
Movin’ AroundI’ve played my share of Spider-Man games over the years, and it’s been fascinating to see how every game has its own take on how the hero gets around. He’s used his webs like the vines in Pitfall, shot around like a crazed acrobat, and – in some adventures – even spent the majority of time on foot. Avalanche had its work cut out for them in bringing Spidey to life. Since the game skews younger, they needed to ensure that kids could easily control him. At the same time, they absolutely wanted to bring a faithful version of the character onto the screen. I got to move him around Manhattan, and they seem to have landed on a great middle ground. In the air, he moves along with a nice sense of momentum, and the camera doesn’t pendulum around to barf-inducing levels. He can also stick to walls and other horizontal surfaces, and then easily climb around; he isn’t locked into place. Flying characters, like Thor and Iron Man, get around in their own way, but they’re equally easy to grasp.
Crossing OverThe heroes in Marvel’s worlds don’t live in their own discrete worlds. Unlike Rapunzel and Jack Skellington, who probably won’t ever interact with one another outside of Disney Infinity’s Toy Box, characters like Iron Man and Thor have worked with Spider-Man and a multitude of other familiar faces throughout the years. Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes capitalizes on this attitude with special crossovers. Heroes like Nova, who comes with the Spider-Man playset, can be brought into the Avengers set, where he’ll experience his own unique set of missions. I’m excited to get as much mileage as possible from the figures that I buy, and this seems like a great way to do it.
More DisneyDisney obviously wants to focus on the biggest addition to Disney Infinity – Marvel’s heroes – but they’re not the only new characters that are coming to the game. We’ll be seeing plenty of Disney characters coming to the game, like Sleeping Beauty’s nemesis Malificent, and Brave’s Merida. We may not be getting any Disney-themed playset adventures with this installment, but there’s still going to be stuff to look forward to – even if you don’t bleed Marvel.
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So they are bringing Monsters inc. like teleporters?