Disney Infinity is sure to be on a lot of kids' gift lists this holiday season. The game, a hybrid of virtual and physical toys, matches current hot properties with the company's bottomless bucket of nostalgia and ends up with a video game that's both fun to play and to collect.
Plenty of the characters were obviously selected based on Disney's 2013 feature-film lineup ("Monsters University," "The Lone Ranger") and toy aisle favorites ("Cars," "Toy Story"). The basic edition comes with three "play sets" and one character for each. Although each play set includes unique elements, the overall structure focuses on open-world exploration, with plenty of unlockables. This is clearly the best video game most of these characters have ever been in.
Disney fanatics will love the deep fan service that goes beyond the play set-based characters. Toy Box mode lets you mix and match parts from all across the Disney empire, from "DuckTales" to "Mary Poppins." In Toy Box, you can build your own worlds, where a "Wreck-It Ralph" racetrack can circle around Epcot's Spaceship Earth and Pride Rock from "The Lion King," and share them with other players.
Creating Toy Box levels can be tricky, but the Wii U GamePad screen helps organize the intense collection of unlocked building materials. There's some unfortunate slowdown during this process, as the game almost overreaches its technical grasp as you're dropping in Matterhorns and full-size pirate ships.
The good news is the game is wildly fun to play, making it an experience worthy of the Disney brand.
RATING E10(+) for Everyone ages 10 and older
PLOT Create stories and play ex- periences with the Disney gang.
DETAILS Wii, Wii U, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, $74.99
BOTTOM LINE This is no Mickey Mouse job.