In the run up to Christmas there is the obvious deluge of kiddies titles to review and while some of them are incredible and well worth the investment while others are simple rehashes that are just trying to cash in on your hard earned cash.
But what about Disney Universe which is a brand new IP from the massive conglomerate that is Disney?
My first reactions after seeing the Disney Universe promo video is that it looked like a LittleBigPlanet clone, the characters movements and cuteness seemed to be directly stolen from Media Molecules smash hit and just altered slightly to accommodate the Disney licenses.
And to be honest it was the first thing I thought off again as I started up the title. They really could have done a bit more to differentiate these 2 characters.
The game starts off with you choosing your character and costume and signing in up to 4 players to take on the universe in co-op. I booted it up with my 8 year old daughter and we entered the world and lay waste to the pirate marauders.
The game play is really simplistic with you either melee attacking the waves of enemies or solving simplistic problems by dragging items between different places.
Every now and then you are granted a special ability for a limited amount of time that will allow you to attack different. Generally this means you now have a range attack and can take out the enemies from a distance.
While the smash and grab nature of the game is entertaining it doesn’t keep you hooked for very long and after about half an hour my daughter was bored of this game and wanted to play something else and I can’t say I felt that different.
Every level is beautifully rendered but the combat and gameplay is identical and it generally revolves around smashing the hit button until no more baddies exist and then walking over to the next part of the stage for more enemies to spawn and repeating.
If you paid close attention you would see that a lot of the enemies are in fact different and the levels and puzzles are unique and entertaining. However you don’t need to look closely and generally the target market of this game won’t look closely so the intricacies are being wasted on them by the shear amount of enemies and hack and slash gameplay that you have to resort to.
The big drawing card for Disney Universe is the ability to wear suits from the Disney.. well universe so that you can play as characters from Monsters Inc, Cinderella and Aladdin to name a few. In reality this isn’t fun and is simply a way to waste 5 minutes while trying to choose a character in the beginning.
The game itself is technically solid, as expected, but it just doesn’t have that fun factor that you’d expect to find in a Disney title. It does however have potential and I’m hoping a sequel is made with the gameplay just slightly altered. Take out the random hack and slash gameplay techniques and add in a bit more ability and then we may have a game worthy of the Disney name.
The gameplay itself leaves a lot to be desired with what can best be described as a generic hack and slash rather than a Disney adventure.
Design and Presentation: 8.5/10
The game looks amazing and would score even higher if it didn’t lean so heavily on a character design from another title.
The games lengthy enough and the stages complex enough to keep your child happy for quite some time. If they don’t have better titles to play that is.
In all honesty if this wasn’t a Disney title it would likely score higher but we expect more from Disney and the marketing and media money behind this builds expectations that weren’t matched by the title.[Reviewed on a PS3]
Last Updated: November 14, 2011