Disney and developer Avalanche Studios are taking a stab at Skylanders' bring-toys-to-life business model with Disney Infinity. Players transport classic and modern character figurines into the game by placing them on a special platform. One of the many modern play sets is tied to Disney’s The Lone Ranger, coming to theaters this July. Buying the set gets you Lone Ranger and Tonto figures, and unlocks a Wild West world to explore as the two characters. The kid-focused fun revolves around speeding trains, horse racing, and watered-down gunplay.
Each play set comes with unique features that you can’t find in other sets. You can’t ride horses or fire off six-shooters in The Incredibles or Monsters University, but The Lone Ranger lets you pull these features into the creative Toy Box mode. Want Sulley to ride around like a bandit across in your custom, cowboy-themed world? Go for it. Unfortunately, players won’t be able to construct a working train set like the one featured in The Lone Ranger play set, but train-shaped cars are available.
Developer Avalanche is gearing Disney Infinity towards kids, and that shows in the straightforward gameplay. I immediately felt at home playing on a 360 controller. Every horse in the game is as well behaved as The Lone Ranger’s loyal steed Silver, which makes riding easy. An automatic lock-on targeting system makes gunning down enemy bandits simple. Parents shouldn’t worry about gun violence; the firefights pack all the brutality of a cork-gun fight. The accessible controls make it easy to jump into missions like retrieving animals for a traveling circus or galloping against the clock through checkpoint races.
Plains, ranches, and a small town populate the moderately sized open world. The Lone Ranger’s Wild West is colorful and clean, despite the gritty aesthetics you might expect. A sizeable locomotive chugs across the land on a sprawling, branching set of tracks. One of my favorite things to do is gallop alongside the train and leap aboard. Hopping across train cars and standing atop the engine is fun for gamers of all ages.
Disney Infinity’s colorful, varied play set worlds look promising, but it’s yet to be seen how much content they deliver in terms of playtime and replayablity. If swapping through a big cast of beloved characters and exploring a wide range of locales is your thing, you might be in for a treat when it launches on August 18 for 360, PS3, Wii, Wii U, PC, and 3DS.
For more information on pricing and other details, read this preview.