Disney Universe (Hands-On) (Wii) Preview

By Mike Mason 20.09.2011

Review for Disney Universe (Hands-On) on Wii

Screenshots are from the HD versions; Wii media unavailable at this time.

Peering around GAMEfest it became obvious that, more than ever, the order of the day was co-operative play. F1 2011, FIFA 12, Journey, Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure, Gears of War 3, Rayman Origins...the list goes on. A game that perhaps focused on it more than most, however, was Disney Universe, which looks like what would happen if LittleBigPlanet and the LEGO series eloped and brought the resulting child up on a strict diet of Disney creations.

Up to four players can join in at once, stumbling through the Disney-themed worlds as avatars that bear a passing resemblance to MySims’ stars. Rather than playing as the Disney characters themselves, Disney Universe takes the novel approach of dressing up the little guys in suits instead, fancy dress style. The result reminds of Sack Boy’s numerous costumes in LittleBigPlanet, and the range displayed included representatives of Tron, Alice in Wonderland, The Lion King, Finding Nemo, Wall-E and Lilo & Stitch. There are sure to be plenty more on disc, and extra downloadable characters are already planned.

Disney Universe’s gameplay will be familiar if you’ve ever scraped the surface of LEGO Star Wars or another of the other block-related games. Enemies are fought, basic puzzles solved by transporting item A to location B, platforms are hopped upon. Players will have to work together if they are to progress, often required to perform actions simultaneously before a pathway will open. Though if that feels too much like hard work, you can always take a break and batter each other, too. Should your character fall victim to fate, they re-appear almost immediately to have another go.

Screenshot for Disney Universe (Hands-On) on Wii

There’s a degree of competition to proceedings in the form of Mickey Mouse-shaped coins that litter the levels. The secondary aim - aside actually besting the game - is to greedily dump as many Disney dollars down your drawers as possible, stealing them from under the noses of your rivals. At the end of each stage these are tallied up, displaying who has managed to secure the most wealth. We’re not sure if that’s just for bragging rights or if it’ll lead to unlockable treats and trinkets.

We were able to test out and witness two stages in action: a Pirates of the Caribbean-style jungle island and Monsters Inc.’s power plant. It was the latter that particularly impressed, with elements from the film such as dozens upon dozens of doors on racks spinning around at high speed. To stop the game from getting stale, there’ll be multiple objectives in each area depending on how many times you have played them. For example, a lever may need to be pressed to help cross a bridge in a first play, but the second play might remove the lever altogether and put in something all-new; a third play could change things yet again. This should ensure a decent level of replayability if each act does indeed significantly alter.

Screenshot for Disney Universe (Hands-On) on Wii

Final Thoughts

Disney Universe looks likely to launch a competent campaign for kids’ approval, and focus testing has apparently proved very positive indeed for Disney so far. The style is charming and the chance to dress up as Disney characters is a desirable one, but there is definitely more than a whiff of gameplay that is overly familiar to the LEGO games already on the market. If it is done correctly, perhaps the multiple playthrough aspect will set Disney Universe aside further from the titles that its developer clearly admires.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date TBA   Australian release date Out now   


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