Disney Universe Xbox 360 Review

For so many that live in Los Angeles and Southern California, Disneyland isn’t really considered as a destination vacation.  Besides the weather, it’s just another perk of living in Southern California or Florida, for that matter.  Disney Universe starts with a virtual Disney resort that may seem a little Total Recall for many older gamers.  A pleasant C3-PO-ish AI guide named V.I.C. starts off promising relaxing adventures in your favorite Disney adventures.  That idyllic corporate vision is destroyed by Hex and the disgruntled robot 99%.  Luckily, playing Disney Universe is probably more fun than camping out in a park but that could just be the cold weather talking.

Having heard of or seen something about Disney Universe probably leads to more questions than are typically posed towards a new game.  The name implies some sort of online kiddie game like a Club Penguin or something of that ilk.  Some of the videos make Disney Universe look like a Disney sandbox game.  However, none of those ideas are correct.  Disney universe combines a platformer with a top-down shooter and beat-em up game.  So, it’s kinda like Mario meets Ratchet and Clank and the Dreamcast classic, Powerstone.  Each level is broken into stages with smaller areas inside of those.

The first level available, in Disney Universe is the Pirates of the Caribbean and others like Alice in Wonderland, Aladdin, The Lion King and Wall-E can be purchased with in-game currency.  Additional costumes can also be unlocked and purchased in a similar manner.  The currency and specific unlock requirements definitely add to the replay value although, the multiplayer ability ensures you probably won’t play this game only once.  There are more than enough challenges and hidden items to keep most gamers coming back.

Once your level is selected, your costume is also selectable as well as letting up to three other players do the same.  After all that is set VIC and Hex will have a few words, the set-up for your level plays and off you go.  Your character can jump, double jump, throw, attack, pound attack and use weapons to smash their way through a semi-destructible environment.  Some objects can be shot, pulled and moved to complete puzzles or complete objectives.  Hex also special challenges represented by an arcade machine appearing in the area.  So, keep an eye out for those.

The visuals are great and what you would expect from HD consoles although, unfortunately 3D is not supported.  To nitpick a little, all of the areas are dark and the environmental palette is made up of darker albeit rich colors.  There isn’t the bright animation one might expect from a Disney game and each of the levels seems to be played in the shadowy alleys.  Contextually, it’s reasonable but there is no real relief and the shadowy darkness and techno Disney soundtrack makes you feel like an employee and will probably get to you, eventually.

Overall, there is a lot of enjoyment to be had in Disney Universe and those with younger children will be happy to know that it’s probably easy enough for them to play.  It’s really kinda like the Lego games but Disney and without all of that Lego-ization.  However, unlike the Lego games, if you get stuck, the game will use big blue arrows telling you were to go and what to do.  Don’t worry there are no repercussions for spending a little more time smashing everything on the board and collecting money.  Disney Universe, also available on Playstation 3 and Wii, is a fun and casual experience with a surprising amount of depth.

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