Still riding our Disney high after our recent trip this summer, everyone in my family was aching to get their hands Disney Universe. Being huge LEGO fans, we knew from the start that we saw a winner in Disney Universe and we were right. Disney Universe might not be revolutionary and may borrow ideas from other kid games but what it does right is put a twist of Disney magic to make it a must own family title. The first thing that grabs you is the fun idea of being able to place your character in a wide variety of different Disney character costumes. Each costumes comes with different abilities and can all be upgraded to new and special abilities. Half the fun of playing this title is unlocking new costumes and then powering up all the characters just to see what they will unveil next. We’ve had this game for just a short time now and it’s been extremely hard to keep it out of our console. It’s simple, fun and exactly what a family title should be, even though adults may also find it hard to tear themselves away.
In Disney Universe, you basically jump from world to world trying to defeat bad guys and freeing the Disney Universe from evil that has overtaken it. All the worlds are broken up into Disney movie themes, such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Wall-E, Alice in Wonderland, The Lion King and many more. Each world has its own look that corresponds with the movie it represents with the spot on detail that we have come to love from Disney. There’s a nice variety of things to collect and do, such as challenges that keep the levels interesting and add a large amount of replayability. Each level has three stages and even though the theme stays the same, the levels never seems repetitive or stale. In other words, you won’t be repeating the same thing over and over again in each stage.
The big draw for kids is the ability to win and collect costumes. Your little blue character can battle areas and bosses to gain access to new costumes in his travels through the worlds. Costumes are plentiful with new downloadable content already promised. Costumes include classic characters such as Mickey, Goofy, Donald and Daisy as well as numerous others like TRON, Nemo, Simba and Wall-E. All are obtained in the game and each costume comes with its own unique weapon. For example, when I first played as Captain Hook, my costume came with a watch attached to a stick unique to that character, but as I leveled him up I was rewarded with his signature hook for a hand. My daughter and I have been playing this game and jumping from character to character just to unlock as many costumes as we can and then leveling them up. Outside of defeating bosses and completing challenges, gamers can also unlock goodies through collecting Mickey Mouse ears – basically Disney’s version of coins – throughout the game. At the end of each stage, players can use these ears to purchase unlocked costumes you may have found or unlock new levels to play and gain more goodies.
Going back to weapons, there are a variety of ways you can use them to bash the bad guys, but ultimately the controls in the game are very simple. You slash with your weapon or perform double jump ground pounds to pummel your enemies into multiple Mickey ears. Be sure to be quick and pick up your rewards before they disappear. There’s nothing incredibly hard in this game which makes it a great game for younger players. Throughout the game you can grab power-ups that make things more exciting. In one level, you can obtain the Midas Touch, which allows you to turn enemies to gold or obtain the power of Medusa which allows you to turn enemies to stone and you can even obtain a Pooh Bear power which involves sporting a beehive on your head as you shoot honey. The power-ups last a short amount of time, but are nonetheless entertaining to use and watch as you play the game.
Up to four players can take part in local multiplayer and this is where Disney Universe really shines. The multiplayer mode makes the game four times as much fun and is ideal for the entire family to play together. Gameplay does add a little bit of a twist has you’ll find yourself fighting over power-ups and going head-to-head with one another in arcade style mini games for prizes. Although it’s teamwork driven, players are ranked on how well they perform throughout each level which adds a nice competitive edge. One thing I did find difficult is your health meter. It’s very difficult to see if you are close to death and most times you’ll find yourself shattering into a bunch of Mickey ears when fighting multiple enemies. Not a huge issue but sometimes can become frustrating when the action gets hot and heavy.
There’s plenty to like about Disney Universe that will satisfy audiences of all ages. If you’re a fan of any of the LEGO games, then Disney Universe has plenty of goodness and then some to keep urging you to pick up your controller. The special twist that pushes this title passsed others like it is the Disney trademark costumes and stages. There is just something magical about playing as your favorite Disney character and reliving some of your favorite moments in Disney movie history. This game may be made for kids but there isn’t any doubt that older gamers and families will find the magic that will have you eating this up. A game has something special about it when my daughter asks if she can play for a little while so she can level up her favorite characters. This is a delight for a dad like myself to review such a title while playing with my daughter, who tells me her thoughts about the title as I’m gathering my own. At the end of the day, it’s her feelings that really make this title worthy of a recommendation for other families. Disney Universe was a favorite for her and I’m sure it will be for any kids in your household.
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