EVERSINCE SKYLANDERS exploded onto the scene and turned the toy/gaming crossover  into a billion-dollar business model, everyone seems to want a piece of the action. But there’s no company with more potential in this area than Disney, a firm that owns some of the most popular and recognisable characters and brands on the planet. After a strong gambit last year with Disney Infinity, this follow-up cashes in on Marvel mania off the back of Avengers and Guardians Of The Galaxy Destroying box office records and while the game doesn’t look to have changed all that much at a glance, there’s quite a lot going on a layer or two beneath the surface that makes Infinity 2.0 both a better game and a worse one, depending on what you’re looking for.


Using Infinity Play Sets in place of bespoke licensed games to tie in with Disney/Pixar/Marvel movies was a masterstroke on the team’s part nobody aside from Trophy hunters will miss games like Up and Bolt, and this format offers Disney a uniform set of solid mechanics for new releases and the consumer the benefit of a reduced RRP and getting some pretty cool figurines when buying into what would once have been standalone games.

There could easily have been a standalone Guardians game, for instance, but the Play Set now takes its place, easier to develop and with toys thrown into the bargain as an added bonus. Because of the catch-all nature of Infinity’s mechanics, the Play Set games are never going to be anything spectacular, but the games they replace weren’t either, so no loss there. Still, the first game came with three Play Sets (one for each of the bundled characters) whereas here, you only get one three Avengers come in the box along with the portal and there’s just the Avengers Play Set in terms of story content. It’s pretty basic too, with a budget Lego Marvel feel to it, which is a shame when the triple Play Set of the original managed to show off a trio of different gameplay styles possible in the game’s versatile engine.

Still, we’d argue that the Play Sets aren’t the star attraction here and the unassuming little plastic hexagons that come in the box with the cool toys back this up. These enable Toy Box Games, somewhat simpler affairs created using the same tools that you have at your disposal once you start to unlock some of the more interesting logic circuits and other technical parts.

On surface level, Toy Box appears to be nothing more than a themed Minecraft ripoff but what we have here is actually an incredibly deep and complex creation suite. While plonking down a couple of houses or a racetrack might be enough to keep some people entertained, the two bundled Toy Box Games show just what is possible with this supremely flexible creation tool one is an isometric hack-and-slash RPG with companion characters and potential for randomly generated levels, while the other is a full-featured tower defence game with an action twist as your chosen hero can still get involved in the action. Just as with LittleBigPlanet’s story missions, it’s incredible to think that these are built with the same tools offered to players and so long as the community gets behind the game (which it will, because Disney), there should be no shortage of amazing user-created Toy Box challenges, levels and games to download and enjoy, even if you don’t have the requisite patience or ability to create your own.


And even if you can’t be doing with all the hassle of creating an entire world or game from scratch, you can still get creative. Interior design is a key new feature and you’re able to build, style and furnish your own house however you like. It’s just a digital doll house, sure, but it’s still a good stepping stone towards the wider creativity of Toy Box’s mad potential and by the time you’ve built your dream home, you’ll probably be ready to get out there and experiment with the intricacies of Toy Box. We made an awesome little football game where scoring a goal would trigger a pitch invasion by 150 Winnie The Poohs, which in turn crashed the game. We’d complain, but then we can’t imagine that’s something that the QA team would ever have thought to do, and it’s hardly fair to expect them to share our affinity for idiotic excess. That said, Tony Stark’s House Of Frogs didn’t fare much better, duly warning us that online players may have issue with the level at about half frog capacity before the frame rate died on its arse when the game decided that there were enough
frogs. There weren’t enough frogs. There can always be more frogs.


A single Play Set is something of a disappointment, then, but when the two packaged Toy Box games are already better than the main attraction anyway, that speaks volumes for where the meat of the game lies. Kids might get a kick out of smashing through a Play Set, but everyone else will find the Toy Box to be pretty much the entire game. And that’s fair enough, because the Toy Box is incredible. The addition of skill trees for both new arrivals and existing characters is awesome, but we’ve got a funny feeling that the community will do more with these and pretty much every other aspect of the game than the developer does itself. But then they did make the tools in the first place, so we guess we’ll let them off…

8/10