Six weeks after the launch of the "Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes" starter pack, an alternative with a more traditional Disney theme hit the market in time for the holidays.
The "Disney Infinity: Toy Box Starter Pack (2.0 Edition)" retails for $59.99 and includes a game disc, platform, two figurines (Merida and Stitch) and two Toy Box games — "Stitch's Tropical Rescue" and "Brave Forest Siege."
So what's the difference, other than one featuring a billionaire in a flying suit of iron and the other a medieval Scotish princess with a bow? Buyers will want to do their homework in order to avoid confusion, disappointment or duplicate purchases.
"Disney Infinity 2.0" is the second game in a franchise that uses separately sold plastic figures to import characters into the digital game. There are two distinct modes of play — "toy box" and "play set." All that's required for toy box mode is the game disc, platform and figures. This mode encourages creative building and affords the user a massive library of elements to create the user's own worlds and challenges. Its shere scope is impressive, and any Disney Infinity character, including those from the first version of the game, can be imported and used in "Disney Infinity 2.0" toy box mode.
Play sets are plastic pieces that open a structured world with set objectives based on a specific franchise, such as Avengers, Spider-Man or Guardians of the Galaxy. Only certain characters are compatible with each play set. The "Marvel Super Heroes" starter pack comes with an Avengers play set, but others must be purchased separately at $34.99 each.
The game disc and platform that come with the "Disney Infinity: Toy Box Starter Pack (2.0 Edition)" are identical to what's found in the "Marvel Super Heroes" starter pack, so there's no need to purchase both.
While the first wave of 2.0 figures were all Marvel superhero-themed, "Original" characters (which sell for $13.99 each) are more traditional Disney. Merida, Stitch, Maleficent, Tinker Bell, Donald Duck, Aladdin, Jasmine, Hiro and Baymax are currently available.
The most important thing to know is that Original characters are limited to toy box mode. There are no play sets available for these figures, and they can't be used in the Marvel-themed play sets.
That's a problem if the gamer is partial to play set mode. But for kids who spend most of their time in toy box, Original characters are a welcome addition and can enhance the randomness of the "Disney Infinity" character mash-up experience. Now, Donald Duck can team up with the Incredible Hulk to battle Frost Giants, Agrabah guards and the Fear Tech student patrol.
The two toy box power discs that come with the "Toy Box Starter Pack" do provide more structured environments in toy box mode for more traditional gameplay, but not to the extent that a play set piece does.
Like Marvel characters, Original figures have a "skill tree" that can be built out as players accomplish certain tasks. And the Originals lineup certainly provides variety. Merida's character, for instance, is swift, agile and deadly with a bow, whether she's swinging it or firing an arrow. The Baymax figure from the recent film "Big Hero 6" features rocket propulsion and some nifty martial arts-style moves.
A word of caution, though. Parents who purchase "Disney Infinity 2.0" characters without upgrading to the new game will have some disappointed kids on Christmas morning. The new figures are not compatible with the original "Disney Infinity" game that was released in 2013.
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