IS IT AUGUST 18th YET? That’s something we’d been hearing most days from Jordan. The smallest member of our house has been talking about little else besides Disney Infinity since we attended Disney Social Media Moms earlier in the year.
Recently, we ventured into the city to get a sneak peak at the new game. In case you have not heard of Disney Infinity, think of it as a massive online world where your favorite Disney characters come to life, interact with each other, and travel around amazing virtual worlds.
He was a little nervous taking the train. Not sure why, it’s only a train, but still, he was nervous. He was pretty worked up about the whole trip in general, which was fine because we were confident the experience would deliver.
We arrived at the Nintendo World Store in Rockefeller Center just before 3pm. When we checked in, we were given name tags with our “character team” on them. Our team was “Peter Pan” – not sure Jordan could have been happier.
Right before 3pm, we were led upstairs to experience the game for ourselves. There were several areas set up for the event = there were the game consoles themselves, a Radio Disney DJ booth in front of a huge replica of the Disney Infinity Toy Chest, and sketch artists – more on them later.
We were able to find an empty console manned by one of the cast members who had been on the creative team for the game. His name was Marcus, and unfortunately for me, he didn’t come with the game. He was super smart, fun, and most of all, patient with Jordan as he explained how to play the game. First, they picked a character for Jordan to be – out of the 20 or so, he picked Sully. Not sure why, but he was rather insistent on the big monster. Next, they switched out the character that was in the game for Sully. You got to see Sully magically “appear” in the world. Then, Marcus showed Jordan how a hex-disc could bring in Mickey Mouse’s car for Sully to ride in. That was quite a bit of fun.
After playing for a good 15 minutes, Jordan decided to let me have a turn. I told Marcus I was a little worried about Jordan being overwhelmed by the game, which I suspected might have been the case at the loud and pleasantly chaotic event. Marcus reassured me that you start Disney Infinity at a very simple place and unlock different features and options as you go. That helps you grow with the game – not everything is available at once so it’s hard to overwhelm yourself. That also works for moms like me who DON’T play video games and have no clue what to do, but really really want to play a game like this.
Sidebar – it’s not that I can’t figure out this game or any other. It’s that I’m afraid that if I started, I would never stop. Sim City and I had that kind of unhealthy relationship back in the day and I’m not eager to revisit that.
So, Marcus kept walking me through the game, even when Jordan came back and pitched a fit because he wanted to bring home a Mario stuffed animal. That was one of those, dude, keep an eye on the prize moments when he needed to be reminded we were bringing home an Infinity starter pack which was WAY COOLER than a Mario stuffie. Marcus, you had the patience of a saint. I, thankfully, had red wine, and was able to deal with the fitful boy.
We also had a great time with the sketch artists. There were about 5 of them set up at easels on the other side of the event space. When the artist asked Jordan if he wanted a Lightning, like on his shirt, or a Mike or Sully, he answered no, he wanted Figment. The artist. very politely and a little under his breath asked “Where did that come from?” Hearing his request, another artist called Jordan over saying that she could indeed draw a Figment for him. Jordan was thrilled and I can say we are going to frame that for his room. We all decided to get in on the fun – Sarah got a Mike from Monsters Inc and Daddy got a Sorcerer Mickey and I got a Minnie Mouse. All suitable for framing!
We were able to bring a Starter Pack home from the event. The Starter Pack is platform specific (you must buy the one for your gaming system – XBox, Wii, PS3, etc) and comes with the Infinity base, the game CD and 3 characters (Captain Jack Sparrow, Sully and Mr. Incredible). The base is the only element of the game that is specific to the gaming system. Every other game component can be moved between systems, so if your friend has a Wii and you have an XBox, you can still get the Disney gang together to play Infinity.
Now that we have had the game at home and have been playing with it, you may wonder what’s our verdict? The good news is the game totally lived up to the hype. Jordan can play it at a simple level, and hopefully the more he plays it, the more settings and toy boxes he will unlock, sustaining his interest in the game. I bought some additional characters for him for his birthday (Mater, Lightning and Violet) and that will probably hold him for a while.
I’d recommend Disney Infinity for kids who have some experience with complex game environments. It would be hard to come into this with no idea what you are facing. Of course, once you do immerse yourself in this world, you’ll be amazed at the way the characters perform and interact with each other. It’s really meant for kids 6-11, but it’s one game where boys as well as girls can be equally engaged. If you’re thinking of it for a holiday gift, definitely consider getting a few additional characters besides the 3, especially if you have a girl. May I suggest my doppleganger Mrs. Incredible or her daughter Violet? That was my main issue with the starter kit – it came with 2 men and a monster and no females. But that is easily rectified.
Have you experienced Infinity for yourself yet? What did you think?
Disclosure: I received a Disney Infinity starter kit to fascilitate this review. All opinions about the product are mine and mine alone.