September 05, 2015

Disney Infinity 3.0 - Inside Out PlaySet - Maxi-Geek Review

Last year Disney Infinity launched with a large range of playsets, but they were very much all the same, just with different characters, it appears that this year the team behind the game wanted to do all they can to avoid that as Inside Out is as far away removed from the other launch playset as you can get, but while being different it is not better.

The story takes place after the events of the movie, but don’t worry if you have not seen the movie, there are no spoilers here. Riley has been babysitting and as she is drifting off to sleep in front of the TV, she bumps the remote and the channel changes to a swamp creature movie, the emotions, mainly Fear decide that even though it was for the briefest of moments Riley might be scared of them for life, unless they clean up her imagination. This leads all the emotions on an adventure through the various parts of Riley’s mind with some strange and interesting elements to be found.

Whereas the other playset is more combat focused, this playset is more focused on platforming, which is a nice change of pace. In fact, there is little combat to be found here, only when you get to the later levels will you start to have to worry about attacking. Each of the five emotions all have special skills that allow them to help Riley out, Joy being the happiest of them all is lighter than air and can float around in the air for a limited time, Anger being such a hothead can run across lava, Sadness can walk across clouds without them disappearing, Disgust can bounce of those clouds and get higher than anyone else and Fear can run faster than everyone else, using a combination of each of the characters, you will need to make your way through a range of levels that will through a lot of obstacles at you.

Most of the time you will just need to move from the start of the world towards the recall tube at the end of them, collecting as many balloons as you can throughout the stage. These balloons can be found everywhere, on the ground in front of you, off to the side requiring some mad skills to collect or even appearing when you break the right box. In fact, in order to complete the level with three stars you will need to complete each stage, collect every balloon and do it with in 7 minutes; What is cool is that you will be most unlikely to do it first time in each run, which gives you a reason to go back and try again. Each stage feels suited for one character more than others, but they are actually well balanced, meaning you can get through every stage with one character if you want.

The problem that the playset has is that the difficulty in platforming ramps up quite considerably in the later levels and as it was designed for younger gamers in mind, the increase in platforming finesse is questionable. The levels swap between a 3D view and a 2D scrolling view and depending on the view, the level difficulty will change quite a lot, the 2d view is a lot easier to deal with for younger players as they will only need to worry about moving left and right, but in the 3D view point, its all directions which can be tricky for younger players, once you add in elements like the bull that can be destroyed or the tornados things can get harder faster.

The other concern with the game is that you need to find and collect memory maker pages in each level, of which there are 5, collecting enough lets you play the memory maker game, which then in turn unlocks more levels to play through. The problem is the pages are pretty well hidden, so you will need to have a look around for them everywhere, but even then once you have completed the three levels you were playing, the game will let you continue, but it does not take you to the next level, it will return you to one you have already passed through, I mean there were a few times where I was repeating levels without realizing it. Where people will complain about the other playset being very repetitive, Inside Out suffers from it as well and while it’s nice to switch between 3d and 2d views the fun levels are the ones when you have to roll an inflated bat around in order to reach the end.

From a presentation point of the view, the characters and worlds look as they do from the movie, just not the same visual quality, but they still look right. Each of the worlds contains connecting themes and elements, the headquarters is also very faithful to the movie, but apart from choosing your level or playing the memory maker game. While you are here though, you will hear quips from each of the emotions, most of which will play out when you go to one of the interactive elements. When you are in the world, the characters will all react to things in their own way, Anger really loves it when there is lava as he can walk on it without taking damage, Sadness will make comments about how she hopes things she is doing are ok, when you complete a task. Speaking of those emotions, Lewis Black and Phyllis Smith both return from their movie roles to voice the characters again, the other emotions however are not.

Inside Out is a fun playset and is built for younger gamers in mind, but the increase in difficulty later on and the strange way of unlocking levels wills top younger gamers from accessing the game as easily as they could. As a follow up to the movie, the story is light and very little happens, but it is fun to explore the worlds of imagination.

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