Gaming-On-The-Go: 'Star Wars,' Pixar And Marvel Characters Share The Screen In 'Disney Infinity: Toy Box 3.0' [Interview]


There is no escaping Disney. The company, which owns Lucasfilms—and Star Wars—and Marvel, has the ability to sweep us away into its magic, allowing us to tap into our imagination. And Disney's latest mobile game does just this.

Launched in August for iOS and Android, Disney Infinity: Toy Box 3.0 is the mobile game that brings popular characters in the franchise to life. Developed by Avalanche Software and published by Disney Interactive, 3.0 is the mobile expansion to the Disney Infinity console game that allows players to create their own universe and "mix, mash, and mash-up Star Wars, Marvel, Disney and Disney-Pixar characters together in one place."

While gamers can play with Disney favorites like Tinker Bell and Mike Wysocki, as well as Marvel favorites from The Avengers and (new this year) Age of Ultron, Disney Infinity 3.0 this time around is putting Star Wars in the forefront. And just in time, because Star Wars hysteria is in full force.

Disney Infinity 3.0 starts off with a minigame that features Star Wars, Inside Out and other classics to give gamers a taste of what they can expect in the game.

"We tried to meet everyone's expectations," mobile producer Sean Patton told Tech Times in an interview. "And everyone saw before we announced 3.0 that Star Wars was going to be a good fit for Disney Infinity, so we wanted to definitely kick it off with a bang."

And that bang includes lightsaber combat at the Droid factory, the ability to fly Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo and Chewbacca in the Millennium Falcon through space, and have Inside Out's Joy climb to capture memories.

Disney worked with Ninja Theory (Devil May Cry) to create a new combat system for Star Wars sets in the game, which includes new combos, lightsaber combat, and the awesome grappling hook by Boba Fett.

And while that opening sequence will be enough to captivate you, players can easily spend hours exploring this game since there is simply so much you can do.

Patton recommends that players start with the new Toy Box Hub, which serves as a fun tutorial that allows gamers to learn about all the new features of the game.

"The Toy Box Hub is a really fun way to get your feet wet into the creative aspects of Disney Infinity," Patton said. "Disney Infinity has two spheres of thought when it comes to gameplay: we have two new property experiences in the play sets where you are jumping in and playing a story, but on the mobile side we're really focused on the Toy Box, which is your opportunity to create your own stories with all these great Disney characters."

This feature allows players to learn how to make Toy Boxes gradually. Controlling characters such as Joy from Inside Out (check out the Pixar/Star Wars crossover where the characters of Inside Out react to the Force Awakens) or Olaf from Frozen, the player can enter their "INterior," where they can build and customize their own worlds and embark on new adventures.

There are six gameplay zones in the Hub, where you can learn and play with different gameplay options including Main Street, platforming, combat, racing and INteriors.

A great tip is to play with one character consistently to complete missions to unlock new skills and items and advance their storyline. On mobile specifically, Patton revealed that players should click on the star on the upper right corner of the main menu to play Daily Challenges, which is a "bite-sized element of gameplay that gets you right into the action," a feature that is exclusive to the mobile game. This is perfect for those who want to skip the story and instead learn new moves, or play with the three new characters that rotate weekly for free. Completing these challenges is also the best way to gain sparks, which allow you to unlock more toys in your Toy Box.

"Try to play with the same character as much as you possibly can because anything you do to level up that character will stay with the character the next time they come around, or if you decide to purchase them," Patton said. "You won't lose that progress. And if you do the Daily Challenges, you can earn sparks which can be used to level up other characters."

The game rotates three characters at a time weekly, so that you can explore new skills and abilities and jump into new stories without being forced to make in-app purchases. But if you do choose to buy a character, they can all be accessed in the "My Collections" tab on the main page. There are over 80 characters to choose from, including old favorites from 1.0 and 2.0, along with new additions like Captain America, Elsa and Olaf, and of course the cast of Star Wars.

When you get more comfortable in this expansive world, check out some of the new features on the social side of the game to connect with others on Main Street. Users can enter the worlds created by others here (as well as tune into Toy Box TV for tips), making it a great way to see what other people are doing with all the same tools. When a player creates in the Hub, you can choose to keep it to yourself, save it to the Disney cloud (so you can play on another mobile device such as your iPad), share your creations with a select group of friends you meet in the Disney community (which inspires collaboration, such as creating Frozen content together), or share it with the entire community where everyone can see. Users can also download and edit the levels created by other gamers, learning how they built their worlds.

"We have an avid community that loves to be involved and loves our product, and mobile gives us the opportunity of knowing that they are connected, so it's actually really synergistic for us," Patton said.

If you spend a bit too much time in your INterior and start to become bored, players can also check out the Toy Box Takeover that is available as an in-app purchase. Toy Box Takeover takes away the creativity, and focuses on stories, a perfect place to use the new Sidekick feature.

While the mobile version is the only way gamers can play without the toys needed for the console version, the cool thing about this game is that when you log into your Disney account in the app, your previous Toy Box characters already purchased in the starter packs carry over. The same is true for when you create toy boxes on the console, meaning you can also continue right where you left off on-the-go.

Disney Infinity: Toy Box 3.0 uses Octane engine, the same as the console version, with graphics running at 30 fps. There also are huge improvements to the visuals thanks to the heavy use of Metal, which has allowed the developers to use Xbox 360 assets with over 1,000 different shaders from the console version. This means you get a near-console experience right from your mobile phone.

Disney Infinity: Toy Box 3.0 is available to download for free for iOS and Android with in-app purchases.

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