A Fatherly Review of Disney Infinity
As the father of a 9-year-old daughter and a 3-year-old son, it is quite a challenge to find a game that both can play together. At least not with my son constantly complaining that he needs help, and my daughter constantly complaining that her little brother is holding her back. Most games they play together end up becoming a stark reminder that sibling rivalry is still very much alive and well. In fact, it is quite difficult to find just about anything they are willing to do together without it turning into a screaming match.
But then we got our hands on a copy of Disney Infinity, and that changed everything. At least while they were playing that game. We had the starter pack, which came bundled with one character each from Pirates of the Caribbean, Monsters University and The Incredibles. We went ahead and bought additional characters so that they could both play in the three worlds together, as well as a Cars pack since my son is a rabid Lightning McQueen fan.
They started with The Incredibles. My daughter, already accustomed to the controls of the PS3, blazed her way through the first mission, while my son stumbled behind, constantly bumping into walls, falling in water and smashing through bad guys to the best of his ability as usual. But something was different about the way they were playing this game. They weren't fighting with each other. Not a peep, other than the occasional "Oh yeah!" and "Woohoo!"
As it turns out, the worlds of Infinity are pretty much open sandboxes that allow each individual player to go wherever they want independently. My daughter can do missions and does not have to wait for her brother or help him keep up, and my son can just roam around and explore at his leisure. All in the same world, at the same time.
The missions are challenging and fun enough for my daughter to enjoy, and the mechanics are simple and friendly enough for my son to stumble his way through the world with ease. My daughter clears the path in front of him, and he smashes everything she left behind. When he dies (as he frequently does), there is no noticeable loss to him. He instantly respawns close to where he died, and just keeps on trucking like nothing ever happened. After watching him play, I am convinced that the "Infinity" represents how many lives you have in this game.
As an avid gamer myself, and a fan of Pirates of the Caribbean, I enjoyed playing in the PotC world while my son tagged along. Although the missions were extremely simple, and the story was quite silly and childish, as a fan of sandbox games there was plenty of fun to be had outside of the missions.
After the first town, we acquired a customizable ship which allowed us to freely sail the seas hunting for pirates. It was especially enjoyable while I took the helm, and my son manned the cannons. Together we ruled the seas! Yarrr! It wasn't long before my daughter wanted to take control of the ship, and my son happily continued to sink every pirate ship that had the misfortune of blocking his view.
Now, that's not to say that there have been no quarrels over this game. The variety of choices occasionally leave them squabbling over which world they are going to play in. My daughter might want to play in Monsters University, while my son wants to play in Cars. The nice thing is when they can't agree on which world to play in, they can just play together in the toybox.
The toybox is a creative world that allows them to play any character they want, and build their own world with pieces they have acquired throughout the other game worlds. They can place buildings, structures, villain spawners and other various objects and toys they have found in each world they have played. My daughter enjoys building structures, and my son enjoys roaming around fighting randomly spawning villains or racing around as Lightning McQueen.
Overall, I would say that I would never buy this game for myself. As a long time gamer, the challenges are simply too easy, and the stories are quite short. I blasted my way through the PotC missions in only a few hours. The nice thing is that we still have three more worlds to play, and even more that we haven't even purchased yet. We can also go back and hunt pirates or fight crime any time we like! With the sandbox environment, the fun doesn't have to end just because we beat the world.
As a father of two young children, I don't think I could have found a better game. They both love the game, and as their father, I love that we have found something that they both can enjoy together, if only for a short period between homework and other activities. There is also the fact that as the father of a 3-year-old, it has been challenging finding a PS3 game that is forgiving enough for my son to actually be able to play and enjoy. Disney Infinity is exactly what we needed.
I am looking forward to trying the other worlds that Infinity has to offer, and highly recommend this game to anyone with small children. The worlds and characters are beautifully done, and the variety of worlds, activities, customizations and prizes to find and unlock are simply fantastic.
The only challenge as a parent is getting them to stop playing when it's dinner time. ;)
Xavier'sMarch 23, 2014, 12:29 pmFeatured CorrespondentReally cool review!
Mary YeagerMarch 12, 2014, 2:24 amSenior InternYour kids sound like mine. lol. All fighting till the Infinity is broken out..then it's on. Great review!
Samuel FranklinMarch 12, 2014, 12:48 amFeatured ContributorI've got friends in similar positions and it sounds like Disney Infinity is filling a nice hole in the market. Great read.