Review: Disney Infinity’s Speedway Takeover

Addendum and Then Some

Disney Infinity 3.0 hit shelves a little while ago and put a bright spotlight on the Star Wars franchise (and a smaller one on Inside Out). With two Play Sets already available (Twilight of the Republic and Rise Against the Empire) and another on the way (The Force Awakens), there’s plenty of content to keep players busy for a good chunk of time (especially with the flexibility of the Toy Box and tons of downloadable content). However, should you feel the need to throw your figures into new challenges, you can purchase either (or both) of the Toy Box expansions: Toy Box Takeover and Toy Box Speedway.

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Toy Box Takeover

I jumped on the Infinity 3.0 pre-order bandwagon earlier this year, so I’ve been playing with the expansion disc for a while (it was included as a pre-order incentive with the bundle). Toy Box Takeover is essentially a dungeon-crawler that pits you against Syndrome (The Incredibles) and his army of cronies, which happens to contain some of the Marvel baddies as bosses. Players make their way through various levels, fighting and collecting flair for their Sideckicks as they go.

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While there may be an inclination to view this as a way for Disney Interactive to make a quick buck, the reality is that there is a fair amount of polish here, including a fleshed-out story to accompany the action. Syndrome, upset that there are too many heroes and not enough villains, steals both the Infinity Magic Wand and Merlin’s wand (you know, Merlin from The Sword in the Stone) and uses them to create a warped world in his own image.

Stages are laid out much like they are in most platform games, with hazards all over the place and enemies to defeat along with a number of basic puzzles to solve. More important levels end with a boss battle, but nothing that will cause players too much frustration. However, dawdling in any level causes a magical black cloud to follow you around until you pass the next milestone. Should you not make it in time and the black cloud touches you, your character will die and you’ll have to place another one on the base to jump back into the action. Fortunately, untimely deaths are easily mitigated if you have even a couple of backup figures standing by for such occasions.

Like the previous Toy Box expansions from Disney Infinity 2.0, Sidekicks feature prominently on the new disc, aiding players in combat and exploration. In fact, given the AI of your wee partners and the amount of goodies available to outfit them, I’d say the sidekicks have a much bigger role in the current iteration of Infinity. There’s even a level in which the goal is to run through a gauntlet of evil assailants to free one of a number of sidekicks.

It didn’t take too long to finish the main mission in Toy Box Takeover on the second hardest difficulty setting (I’d say the campaign can be completed in about three hours, especially if you enlist the help of a friend in the local co-op mode). Overall, I think $20 is a fair price for the production quality and the amount of fun content the disc adds to the main game. I have had it for a month and a bit, and I’m still freeing up Sidekicks for my farming operation.

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Toy Box Speedway

The second expansion disc is similar to Toy Box Takeover in the sense that it’s a mash-up of all of the properties that Disney has placed under the Infinity brand, but it’s different in the sense that it’s a kart racer. With nine tracks, three different modes (Race, Battle, and Time-Trial), and a pile of vehicles to race in, it offers a lot of the thrills of a dedicated kart racer with the added bonus of your favourite Disney characters.

The main hub of the expansion is a stadium with a track along the inside where you can switch vehicles and check out a slew of unlockable features. Each track has its own podium that displays the standings for completed races on that track, as well as the access buttons for the various races. Once engaged, players will be able to choose which track to race on, the racing level (50cc, 100cc, 250cc), and whether to run a single track or a grand prix (consisting of three tracks).

While the vehicles themselves all appear to be different, they tend to be very similar in the way they handle. It’s not a huge issue given the family-friendly audience, and the real star is the track design anyway. Each of the themed tracks are highly detailed and pay homage to whichever Disney property they’re based on. What is even better is that every subsequent lap introduces more interactive elements and hazards, slightly changing the dynamic of each pass. Driving through the winding (and spooky) Halloween Town track (based on The Nightmare Before Christmas) is fun. Trying to navigate through the same stretch while also dodging a leaping Oogie Boogie Man makes it even more so.

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However, despite the hearty effort that went into it, Toy Box Speedway lacks the depth that can be found in dedicated kart franchises like Mario Kart or ModNation Racers. The physics can be a little elusive as cars tend to slide around a fair bit, and some mild control issues plague the game (I sometimes found myself spun 180-degrees for no apparent reason). And while the engine behind Disney Infinity is impressive, from time to time it still chugs on a rig as powerful as the PS4, on Speedway more so than Takeover.

Of course, Toy Box Speedway is another $20 add-on for the main game, and the decent value lessens the sting of some of the imperfections. The simple mechanics are accessible for all ages, and the three unique race types add enough variety to keep different personalities happy. Intuitive controls allow players to get the hang of things quickly, turning local co-op into an actual test of skill (since everything else is pretty balanced), and the little touches (like the aforementioned dynamic track changes) add a lot of personality to the game.

Sure, Disney is not going to unseat Mario Kart anytime soon, but if you own Disney Infinity and you like kart racing, Toy Box Speedway is a no-brainer. The price is low enough to justify the purchase, and the bonus content that is contained within the game can be added to your inventory, giving you even more cool stuff to use while designing your own levels.

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