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Play to Infinity and Beyond
Company: Disney Interactive
Product: Disney Infinity
Sooner or later, everyone figured someone was going to challenge Skylanders. I always figured it would be Nintendo with an all-too-obvious Poke’mon game, but Disney was always the next best guess. Announced earlier this week, Disney Infinity is a cross-platform mash-up of Skylanders with a bit of Little Big Planet tossed in, making for one incredibly ambitious project.

Launching this June, Disney Infinity takes the Skylanders concept and turns in on its head. At its base, you can take collectable figures based on Disney and Pixar properties and transport them into the game via a RF-enabled base. Nearly thirty figures will be available at launch, all culled from the Pirates of the Caribbean, Monsters, Inc., and Incredibles franchises. An official list isn’t available, though you’ll see favorites like Mike, Sully and Captain Jack Sparrow in the initial run. Also expect to see characters from Cars, Toy Story, and Phineas & Ferb. I’m sure the eventual appearance of a certain mouse is in the cards and, who knows, we may even see Marvel and Star Wars characters pop-up at some point in the distant future.

Each character unlocks character-specific worlds (called PlaySets) in Adventure Mode, each with their own challenges, collectables and missions based around that character’s (or, characters') abilities. The Incredibles areas will cater to super-heroics while Pirates of the Caribbean will include lots of naval combat. Each area will act as its own unique game, offering up to 10 hours of playtime. The catch is, while in Adventure Mode, characters are restricted to their own worlds. In other words, you won’t be able to fight Omnidroids with Captain Jack Sparrow.

Adding new toys to a Playset adds more customization options to an ever-expanding game world.

Additionally, you’ll be able to purchase Power Discs that stack under the figure while on its base, further increasing their in-game abilities. For instance, sliding a Bolt Power Disc under a character will give it a power boost while a Finn McMissle token grants a homing missile power-up. Players can stack up to two Power Discs under a character, allowing you to mix and match boosts. These will be available as "blind" blister packs similar to baseball cards.

Where Disney Infinity really takes off is Toy Box Mode, a giant free-roaming mode that looks to take the best elements of Minecraft and Little Big Planet. The mode is actually based on the similarly-named mode found in Toy Story 3: The Game, which really helped to catapult that game from "ho-hum" movie tie-in game to one of my favorite Xbox 360 games. Here, you’ll able to import your figures into the world and do whatever you want. Each new import offers new toys to fill your virtual toy box.

In addition to building your own personal Disney World (familiar park structures like Spaceship Earth and Cinderella’s Castle are available), you can take you toys and create your own games using the Toy Box’s editing tools, your collection of toys and the logic editor. Disney Infinity will also include 4-player online play, so you can invite your friends to your Toy Box and let them check out your player-made games.

Disney Infinity will launch this June, giving collectors a little under 5 months to start saving.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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