Disney Infinity is the new toy-meets-videogame title that works a bit like Activision’s popular video franchise Skylanders. Many have been quick to compare the two since Disney Infinity was first announced. But while the surface similarities are obvious, the two differ in many ways.
If you’ve not come across the games before, they both use toy figures, purchased separately, to access in-game characters. For Disney Infinity, a Starter Pack provides everything you need to play the game, with new characters, items, upgrades and various Disney worlds able to be unlocked with further toy purchases.
Putting a Disney figure on the included USB peripheral base that is plugged into your console makes them appear instantly in the game. You can then use that character to play the different levels. Progress is stored back on the toy and you can use it on other consoles playing the Disney Infinity game even if they are a different type – Wii, 360, PS3, etc.
This use of toys in the video game via a “Portal” or “Base” peripheral is one of the main similarities that’s drawing comparisons between Disney Infinity and the Skylanders series, the newest of which will come out later this year called Skylanders Swap Force. But scratch beneath that surface and find there are actually quite a few differences between the two games to set them apart.
Perhaps the most important difference is that the Disney Infinity game offers a whole range of familiar and favorite Disney characters to play with and as. Characters in Skylanders are largely created for that series, though Spyro and a few others are brought in from previous games. Disney is surely hoping their popular characters, and the unusual ways they will interact together within the game, will make Disney Infinity as big of a success as the Skylanders series.
To begin, Monsters University, Pirates of the Caribbean and The Incredibles are included in the Starter Pack, and there will be a Cars play-set that can be purchased separately, with plans on releasing many more play sets and character figures in the future.
In the game itself, one of the biggest differences is the basis of how you play. When it launches near the end of 2013, Skylanders Swap Force will again stick to local multiplayer with two-players sharing the same screen, like its preceding two games. But Disney Infinity goes a step further by also adding split-screen local play and four player multiplayer online (via services like Xbox Live and PlayStation Network).