Those who dismissed Disney Infinity as a kid’s game may want to look again. Disney recently unveiled this year’s update - and it includes some rather tasty Marvel characters and new adventures.
If you’ve not kept up, Disney Infinity works with a collectable range of sculpted figurines that unlock characters in-game. Whether it’s a sneaky way to sell toys or a novel way to interact is up for debate. But either way, with Marvel in the mix it’s on our radar.
READ MORE: These are the 200 greatest games of all time
So What is it?
There will undoubtedly be more franchises to follow but Infinity 2.0 kicks off with a wave of Avengers characters: Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, Thor, Hulk and Hawkeye. The FGTV blog has more on the full line-up in this video.
The first thing that strikes you is the attention to detail. We’d not looked that closely at Mr Incredible or Sully from the first Infinity game, but get nosey with the Marvel figures and it’s hard not to be impressed. They strike a balance between the game’s usual cartoony cell-shaded style and the heft of each Marvel character.
The video-game side of things is also beefed up this year. While it retains the playful aesthetic that will sit well with families, for core gamers there is much more going on.
Characters are now classified in different classes, with melee and ranged attacks being shown in detail at the announcement event. This leads into one of the biggest changes in Infinity 2.0: extensive branching skill trees that let you mould your favourite Marvel character into the perfect killing machine.
By making permanent choices about each of your characters you not only customise your experience but have it saved instantly to your figure. Take that to a friend’s for some multiplayer and your guy or gal comes with you, customisations and all.
Sandbox of tricks
Another good place for co-operative fun is the Toy Box game creator area. Here you can pull in all sorts of objects and items at the touch of a button to battle friends. No rules means things get messy fast, but this is still the best sand-box entertainment we’ve had since Crackdown.
Best of all, as you progress through the adventure you win new Marvel items and gadgets to use in your creations. The real meat of the Toy Box mode is found when you start introducing game logic and make your own levels, and in Infinity 2.0 this has been made easier, with more starting points plus helper-bots who run around and tidy up after you.
READ MORE: Child Of Light review
More after the break...
What's in the box?
The Starter Pack includes the game, three Avengers figures (Iron Man, Thor, and Black Widow), the Infinity 2.0 USB base, two Power Discs, and The Avengers play set piece. The bundle will sell for about £48-53, depending on chosen platform.
If you’re super stoked for the game, you can pre-order a limited edition collector’s package for PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 3 that includes all six Avengers characters (adding Hawkeye, Captain America, and Hulk, all sold separately otherwise) and a light-up diorama spotlighting the Frost Beast boss from the Avengers play set. But you’ll have to shell out £109-115 for that hefty package.
Also available separately are Power Discs, which add new abilities and skins to the game. Less welcome is that these are sold in foil 'blind packs,’ so you can’t see what you’re getting before you buy them. There are dozens of Power Discs, adding extras such as a Stark Industries Tech theme, Captain America's World War II costume, and Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. hover car.
READ MORE: LittleBigPlanet 3: First Play preview
Much more Marvel
The Avengers is an ideal choice for the starter pack, considering the film’s popularity and the diversity of the cast, but additional play sets will be sold separately that dig into what look like equally awesome game worlds.
You’ll be able to swing around New York City in the Spider-Man play set, which comes with Spidey himself and Nova, along with the little plastic globe that starts up the scenario when placed on the Infinity base. Venom, Green Goblin, Nick Fury, and Iron Fist figures are also available (and sold separately) to expand out the set.
And what looks to be the surprise of the summer, Guardians of the Galaxy has inspired its own set that really shows how Infinity can power very distinctive, self-contained play experiences. That package comes with Star Lord and Gamora, with Rocket, Drax, Groot, and Ronan the Accuser figures available separately.
While Infinity 2.0 is primarily a Marvel-centric experience, you’ll be able to bring in classic Disney characters both old and new, with fresh figurines releasing this autumn. Maleficent, Merida (from Brave), Tinker Bell, Stitch, and Baymax (from Big Hero 6) are all due out late this year.
READ MORE: Mario Kart 8 review
When's it out?
Put it all together and Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes could be a major hit with both younger gamers and comic book addicts. Provided it delivers on its promise of more in depth gameplay to go along with the more mature Marvel theme it will certainly give competitor Skylanders Trap Team a run for its money.
Disney Infinity 2.0 starter packs will be available from 19 September on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U, PC and iOS.
Andy Robertson is a freelance games expert for the BBC and runs a Gaming YouTube channel