Get your suit on!
Disney Universe is a delightful game that captures the true imagination of Disney and Pixar. Although it may seem to be aimed at a younger audience, this frantic co-op platform game is more than suitable for all members of the family. The levels are all based around some of the most favorite Disney movies; Lion King, WALL-E, Monsters Inc, Alice in Wonderland, Aladdin, and Pirates of the Caribbean. Players have the choice of 45 character outfits taken from the world of Disney movies in which to suit up, many of which need to be unlocked within the game, and additional outfits will be available to download from the Online Shop.
The game has many similarities to LittleBigPlanet, but the gameplay holds a lot more in common with the LEGO games. If you can imagine the fixed camera and smashing everything to smithereens to collect tokens, but without the over-riding LEGO theme, then you’re on the right lines. Each level is filled with a selection of objectives, such as pulling levers, collecting items that then later need to be pieced together, and trying to avoid the bad guys all at the same time. The satisfying thing about each level is that it’s themed around the movie it represents and Disney have done a good job of detailing that aspect in each of the levels. Take, for example, The Monster Inc level, you have the task of trying to move from room to room whilst capturing all of the screams in special flasks, achieved by making a small child scream at the top of their voice when scream inducing puzzles had been solved. Disney clearly have tried to capture the imagination of the movies as during another Monsters Inc. level you will find yourself swinging from a selection of door frames that are dangling from an overhead conveyor belt, which is very reminiscent of the film.
The Alice in Wonderland level involved jumping in giant tea-pots, directing over-sized teaspoons loaded with sugar cubes to take down a selection of allocated targets and collecting a variety of playing card symbols from a maze which had been locked down by a collection of timed switches. You never feel lost in Disney Universe as a blue arrow pops up on the screen to direct the player in the right direction in order to reach the objective. This is ideal in this type of game which can get incredibly frantic and leave the player unsure of where to go next.
The enemies, which include a variety of different sized robots, appear in waves to hunt you down in each level, but there are a selection of power-ups to be used against them, beyond the characters main weapon. These can be anything from your character wearing a beehive on their head and blasting swarms of bees at the enemy, to using a special gun that freezes them on the spot within a block of ice. For the vast majority of the time, you’ll be button bashing your way through each section, either trying to avoid damage from the tiny robots or trying to take down one of the higher level enemies. The smaller robots actually make things more complicated by building turrets that fire at you, spiky floor traps and even walls to block your progress.
Collect enough of the Disney tokens through each level and you’ll be able to afford to purchase other levels, which cost 2000 tokens each, or buy some of the unlocked costumes for your character to wear. Each of the costumes can be leveled up by finding special keys to unlock treasure chests and this in turn will enable the costumes to become much stronger and resilient.
While I’ve enjoyed all of the themed areas in Disney Universe, the WALL-E area is perhaps my favorite. In here your character will need to man a laser turret and shoot down blocks, repair a second turret and even maneuver a giant magnet in order to move items around a level. Each of the levels in Disney Universe has a mini game, which comes in the form of a small random arcade machine that pops up in the centre of the room. Once activated, you’ll find yourself avoiding fireballs, collecting Disney gems or shooting a selection of targets. You’re rewarded in each level with concept art, costumes and music from the Disney Universe once you’ve reached the ideal score, which further enhances the appeal and desire to smash everything and collect the tokens.
Disney Universe can be played with up to four people in local co-op, which gives everyone an opportunity to participate in the Disney craziness. The Disney Universe themed worlds are brightly coloured with a polished and well designed look that makes you feel completely immersed in the experience. The music is upbeat, giving a positive vibe from the moment you switch the game on and leaving you warm and fuzzy inside as you free each guest from every level. The creative gameplay and the local co-op gives this game the general appeal that players would enjoy without needing to be a serious Disney fan.
Once you’ve completed the six worlds, you can move onto using the playlist manager which allows you to pick up to nine of your favourite levels to be played through together. The game has a good replay factor, as players need to find everything on each level to determine whether they win silver, bronze or gold. This gives you an incentive to explore more and make every effort to collect and find all the items required. The online shop already has some free outfits available for players to download, and I am sure that we will be seeing more outfits and even levels in the near future.
Overall I’ve simply loved playing Disney Universe and it ticked all the right boxes for me. The combat button bashing may not appeal to everyone, and there is nothing here that we haven’t seen before, but Disney Universe still manages to be incredibly fun, especially when played with others in local co-op . Disney Universe captures the imagination of Disney and Pixar and quite cleverly delivers it in a truly spectacular way. Also, this is one of the cutest games I’ve played this year.