I Found Dory! (In Spite of Losing Infinity)
Disney Interactive is gone. Disney Infinity is gone. The game/toy platform’s developer, Avalanche Software, is gone. What remains for those of us that bought into the concept is three base sets, a number of Play Sets, and all of the toys, Power Discs and mini-games that were part-and-parcel to the whole Infinity experience. Personally, I own all three versions, every Play Set and mini-game and 59 figures.
While the game’s much-lauded Toy Box mode and the community content produced for it never really attracted me, I was, and remain, a huge fan of the Play Sets and the overall concept. Why did Disney pull the plug, in spite of sales success that saw the DI platform out-performing its competition at retail (Lego Dimensions and the Skylander franchise?) Is there any possibility of a future for the concept? These are questions that those of us that have made large financial investments in DI would like answered.
The very curious thing is that, after the discontinuation and closure announcements that resulted in what seems to be the end of the franchise, widespread anger at Disney for their abrupt and Draconian decision and retailers discounting remaining product and pulling it from shelves, Avalanche had one more arrow in the quiver that they let fly just as the PTB at Disney landed the fatal blow – the “Finding Dory” Play Set for DI 3.0. Of course, given the current retail climate for DI, actually finding Dory proved to be a challenge worthy of Marlin and Nemo. As Best Buy (and other retailers) isn’t stocking the product in their stores, I had to hunt it down online.
With all of the negativity and challenges, and my personal feelings as a consumer betrayed by the House of Mouse, you could hardly say that I approached Dory and her Play Set with anything but bitterness and a feeling of loss. But, in Finding Dory, I found all of the reasons why I love DI and, quite possibly, one of the top Play Sets that the series has seen. If the end has truly come for the Disney Infinity platform, Avalanche couldn’t have gone out on a more positive note that, at least temporarily, will put a smile on your face and take you from a state of mourning to one of joy and a sense of healing. (I know… overly dramatic – but it kind of does!)
While the Finding Dory Play Set maintains some of the conventions of the other sets in the software platform (mission/side mission structure, Skill Tree, a variety of collectibles), its structure differs somewhat in that the Play Set is comprised of 13 horizontally and vertically scrolling levels that make up the “Marine Life Institute,” where the main objective is to find/save the fish that are in danger at the MLI and lead them to the safety of Morro Bay.
Morro Bay, in turn, is a 3D hub world where Dory receives her missions, talks to other fish, collects shells (the game’s currency), and uses those shells to purchase structures, plant life, and, in general, make the reef a swell place for the marine life to inhabit. Dory is aided by three buddies that she discovers along the way – a shrimp that can digest algae blocking her path, a Cuttle Fish that can light the way through dark passages, and a Hermit Crab that can walk on the ocean floor, pipe bottoms, etc., to help Dory get through strong currents. As far as Dory is concerned, she can shoot bubbles to activate switches and trap enemies (mechanical fish toys) – using a quick burst to break them into pieces, and use her whale call power-up, but her main objective is to just keep swimming.
In addition to its very solid and rewarding gameplay, the Play Set is also one of the best-looking of the 15 that have shipped for DI over the course of its three iterations, multiple hardware platforms and two console generations. The game also features all of the film’s main secondary voice actors, with Dory and Marlin being voiced by very good voice doubles for Ellen Degeneres and Albert Brooks.
Finding Dory (Disney Infinity 3.0 Play Set)
- Publisher: Disney Interactive
- Developer: Avalanche Software
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC
- Release Date: 6/21/16
- Price: $29.99
ICG Verdict: Hit
Well… if Disney Infinity had to end, I am glad it ended on such a positive note. And, since it looks like there will be little reason to discuss Disney Infinity in the future, I will close the topic with my personal ranking of the software platform’s 15 Play Sets, and my Top 10 figures (of the 59 that I own.)
Ranking The Play Sets:
- Lone Ranger
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Finding Dory
- Toy Story
- Inside Out
- The Incredibles
- Star Wars: Rise Against the Empire
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens
- Star Wars: Twilight of the Republic
- Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy
- Marvel’s Spider-Man
- Marvel’s The Avengers
- Monsters University
- Marvel Battlegrounds
I Still Love Me Some Lone Ranger Play Set (And I Loved the Movie – Critics Be Damned!)
My Top 10 Figures:
- Boba Fett
- Darth Vader
- Captain America (Marvel Battlegrounds)
- Jack Sparrow
- The Lone Ranger
- Lightning McQueen