Published on December 18th, 2011 | by Chris Ramirez, Editor

Disney Universe Review

Developer: Disney Interactive
Platform: Xbox 360 [Reviewed], MAC, PC, PlayStation 3, Wii
MSRP: $49.99
Release Date: October 25, 2011

Fun, mayhem, and craziness; Disney Universe delivers. By adopting the formula of Little Big Planet and the Lego Star Wars franchise, Disney Universe is fun for both adults and kids alike.

Let me start off first by saying–the storyline in Disney Universe is not relevant. The Disney Universe itself is an interactive program that allows players to explore some of their favorite movies in a safe environment. Something went wrong with the program and evil bots started to take over. It is up to the players to go back in to defeat the bots in each level.

The graphics are fun and fitting for the mayhem you encounter in Disney Universe. The graphics have a cartoonish style but they are not dated. The water looks and acts like water, fire has the inconsistency of actual fire, and smoke slowly fills the air upon encounter. The game is side-scrolling, but character and set models are all done in a current 3D engine. You will be left in awe looking at the level detail. There is a harsh cut between the interactive parts of the level and the backgrounds. This transition brings a whimsical storybook feel to the game and adds to its appeal.

The main draw of the game is the local four player co-operative mode. In a time where online multiplayer is a requirement, the lack of an online mode in this game is not a huge drawback. Disney Interactive developed the game to be played in the same living room, side-by-side. Similar to the LegoW games, Disney Universe brings back memories of classic multiplayer-side-scrolling-beat’em’ up arcade experiences. Being a family game, the online multiplayer is not missed, but having it would have been a nice addition.

The object of the game is to defeat the bots and collect as many Mickey coins as possible. The game consists of six environments inspired by Disney and Pixar films. The levels include Pirates of the Caribbean, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, Lion King, Aladdin, Monsters Inc., and Wall-E. Levels are unlocked by purchasing them using the Mickey coins that you have collected. Each level consists of combat, puzzles, and challenges.

Combat in Disney Universe adopts the style of the Lego games and classic beat’em up side scrolling games. Players only have a jump and attack buttons available. Players fight through different enemies including boss battles. However, levels offer power-ups to players who can reach them first. These power-ups include projectile weapons, boxing gloves, and other beat’em weaponry–such as a sword. In addition to using objects for battle, players could use various other objects solve puzzles. These interactive objects include items like cannons, bombs, water balloons, and even animals that you could ride. What you can do to your enemies, you can do to follow players. This makes combat even more frantic and fun.

One of the marketing aspects for Disney Universe is the suits players can pick of classic Disney characters. These suits do not disappoint. Players can pick from classic Disney characters to new aged characters. Characters include Mickey Mouse to Gibbs from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. There more than 40 suits to pick from. Each suit has its own special weaponry and can be leveled-up four times. Leveling changes the weaponry and attack damage. Suits are trapped within the levels and obtained after completing a boss battle. The suits are then available for players to unlock by using the Mickey coins players collect. The suits leveling system, different abilities, and having to purchase new suits once unlocked offer hours of replay value.

Disney Universe puzzles are simple. They include using keys to access a different section of the level, building switches and levers, and using vehicles to blast your way new paths. The game is defaulted to have a help arrow that points to current objectives. This is useful for younger gamers; however, this can become annoying to older gamers and adults. Thankfully, Disney Interactive gave the option to turn off the arrow. With the arrow off, the puzzles become much more enjoyable to solve despite their simplicity.

The challenges in Disney Universe are what set this game apart from other similar titles in the genre. Taking a note from the mini races found in Little Big Planet, the challenges are integrated in the levels themselves. An arcade machine will pop up in the level and it is up to players when they want to activate the challenges. Thus, challenges do not break up any momentum during combat or keep players from figuring out puzzles. The challenges range from defeating a certain number of enemies in a specified time limit, to other simple challenges such as surviving an attack. One of the funniest challenges I encountered was defeating enemies in “whack a mole style.” These challenges are fast and enjoyable to play.

The soundtrack of the game is upbeat and ties into the games overall aesthetic. Each level is accompanied by a remix of the familiar soundtrack for that particular environment. By simply remixing the soundtrack instead of creating a new one, players get further immersed in the gameplay and environments. The soundboard of the game accompanies the frenzy and mayhem that is happening on screen. The soundboard is similar to what you will hear in any classic cartoons. This is a great fit to further engulf the players in the game.

Final Truth:

Disney Universe is a frantic—yet enjoyable game for children and adults. You’ll be able to create mayhem in environments inspired by your favorite Disney and Pixar films, but enjoy exploration and puzzle solving while in those landscapes. By having the ability to attack another player brings another fun element during combat and puzzle solving. With a simple leveling system, over 40 suits, and six levels to unlock, you’ll find yourself and your family returning to the Disney Universe for more craziness and over the top action. Disney Interactive also promises downloadable content, such as more suits and levels, to keep you and your family continuing the mayhem of which isDisney Universe.

[xrr label=”Rating: 8.5/10″ rating=8.5/10]

+ Cooperative
+ Combat
+ Replay Value
– Online Multiplayer

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About the Author

HI! I am fanatic of all things gaming from cabinet, cartridge, disc, to digital distribution. I am the Editor with an emphasis on family and indie games. I collect toys, figures, and Pops! and enjoy taking photos of my collection and more. Visit my Instagram @CheckPointChris. Subscribe on my Facebook under Chris Ramirez, follow me on Twitter and Twitch @CheckpointChris.

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