While I generally like Disney Infinity, I don’t have any particular attachment to the source material these Play Sets draw from. However, that all changed with the release of the Toy Story Play Set. I hold those fantastic films close to my heart and have been anxiously awaiting to experience the franchise within the game. In hindsight, I’m not really sure what I was expecting from a Toy Story Play Set, I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed with the final product.
This Play Set sends Jessie and Buzz to the Pizza Planet Aliens’ home world, where their planet is being bombarded by comets. If you’ve purchased Woody separately, you can use him as well. Once the threat has been neutralized, almost all of your efforts will be spent erecting buildings and helping the aliens out with assorted odd jobs. Not only is the premise pretty dull, but the game does a poor job of telling you where any of this is going. For the vast majority of the experience, Steff and I had no idea why we were doing these tasks or where any of it was moving the game forward.
Part of that feeling of being on a treadmill is the fact that certain characters actually do ask you for the same types of favours repeatedly. There’s at least one alien who constantly asks for a makeover, while another always wants you to fly him somewhere. It’s an opportunity to make extra money, which you’ll need to buy all the buildings. However, many of the main missions also feel like busy work with little payoff.
The clear high point for me was the experience of zipping around the screen with the boost jump and jet pack items. The former blasts you into the sky and allows you to gracefully float downward while the latter lets you horizontally fly around the world indefinitely as long as you can avoid hitting walls. Once they’re unlocked, they make traversal a joy. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised, but having the ability to fly or jump incredible heights here reminded me a lot of the thrill I felt playing Crackdown for the first time. There are some other neat things it does with you ability to shrink or grow things with specific items that adds a level of depth that the other Disney Infinity Play Sets doesn’t have.
Still, they’re not enough to counteract the set’s weak premise and marginal missions. Worse yet, there are some glaring technical issues that further hamper the final product. There are weird audio balance issues where certain characters will be barely audible for no reason. We even ran into one game-breaking glitch in the first combat simulator mission that made the level inescapable unless we turned the console off.
With such a great back story and characters to draw from, the Toy Story Play Set should have turned out better than this. Bogged down by poor design direction and technical faults, this also falls short of the bar set by the other play sets available. With Play Sets being as expensive as they are, this one is really hard to justify. Even as a huge fan of the movies, this one wasn’t worth it in hindsight.
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