The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
Playing through Disney Universe reminded me of Disneyland’s own It’s a
Small World ride. My initial exclamations of “aww” gave way to “AHH!”
after enduring the same cutie-pie shtick on repeat. Even though the
lyrics may change slightly, it’s the same cloying tune over and over and
In the game’s world, Disney Universe is a virtualized
version of a Disney theme park, giving players a chance to explore
familiar settings and visit with friendly faces from some of the
company’s biggest franchises. Before the friendly computer guide can
finish with the introductory tour, the game inside the game is infected
by a cybervillain named HEX. The formerly idyllic world is now home to
nefarious AI villains. It’s the player’s job to set things straight by
beating the ever-loving bits out of the bad guys.
When it was
first revealed at E3, Disney Universe drew comparisons to
LittleBigPlanet. While it may share a similar aesthetic if you squint
really hard, it has more in common with Traveller’s Tales series of LEGO
games. At first, there’s a lot to like. The characters are delightfully
cute, with dozens of different familiar costumes. The settings
incorporate a who’s who of classic Disney properties. The Lion King!
Aladdin! Pirates of the Caribbean. Wall-E? Eh, close enough. The
gameplay is pretty basic stuff, but it has to get better. Right?
what you see is largely what you get. Each of the different worlds
offers obvious cosmetic differences, but the overarching gameplay is
largely unchanged between them. Sure, a “key” may take the form of a
lamp or a sword or a sword swallower (don’t ask), but the functionality
is identical. Punch the bad guys, kill the bad guys, unlock the latest
barrier, move forward a little bit. The few gameplay variations (arcade
games within a game about a game!) are cute, but they’re about as
interesting in the long run as a 30-second Mario Party minigame. While
I’m all for a little hand-holding, Disney Universe takes helping the
player to ridiculous extremes. Blue arrows point players to their next
immediate objective, reducing what puzzles there are to simple fetch
Disney Universe gets more interesting when you grab three
friends (or kids) and play together, but so does just about everything.
There’s a nice little competitive element in the game, and players can
sabotage their friends’ efforts by hoarding power-ups and triggering
traps. That said, the game is so shallow and repetitive that only the
most easily amused will be able to slog their way through to the end
credits, with or without companionship.
Email the author Jeff Cork, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.