Monday, October 30, 2017

Disney Universe (PS3)


Disney Universe is a 3D platformer using various Disney properties as backdrops.  It is designed to be accessible to the younger audiences and thus, does not contain many complexities but also as a result, it is a relaxing and enjoyable game to play.  The game uses a fixed camera and areas are fairly small making this a no-issue.  Your character can double jump, do basic combos for combat and interact with certain environmental objects.  Combat uses one button and you can button mash.  However, your controllable character dies easily within a few hits.  There is a HP bar beneath your character which is hard to notice at first but enemies do various damage so even if you are at full health, you may die from one hit, but if you've three health bars left, you may survive three hits.  Making this worse are inconsistent hit boxes, so even if you thought that you were far enough to be safe, you'll get hit and die.

That being said, dying has no significant penalty since you'll respawn.  You have unlimited lives, the only negatives are that you lose some gold and it lowers your ranking at the end of the level.  The slow death animations are probably the most annoying thing about dying.  Characters only wear costumes based on Disney properties, they aren't the characters themselves which can be off-putting at first, but is pretty cool in the end.  There are a total of 45 costumes (excluding DLC), although being costumes, this also means that every character plays exactly the same, making it more tedious.  The game only contains six worlds, each with three locations and within each location are three levels.

The levels are fairly small, comprised of explorable areas that contains basic problem solving puzzles.  However, there is a hint system that displays arrows on where you need to go next and what you need to do which takes all the challenge out of it but makes the game not frustrating.  If you wish, you may turn off these hint arrows.  You will be playing in levels inspired by Pirates of the Caribbean, WALL-E and The Lion King.  It can be nostalgic seeing familiar items and environments.  Each level also contains collectables which aren't too hard to find.  Eventually though, the game feels by the numbers.  The level designs aren't bad, it's just that it reuses a lot of its mechanics with different skins.  You'll find parts to complete machinery, throw bombs to clear obstacles and find items to reveal hidden paths.

A neat thing is that the game has local co-op multiplayer of up to 4 players.  The story is basic.  The opening cutscenes state that the player is entering a virtual rendition of classic Disney worlds, which were created for the player to enjoy and experience.  We're introduced to VIC, the Virtual Information Cube, but is suddenly taken over by the villain, Hex, who has sent its minions to attack the player and set traps.  The player must then travel through the worlds to save the characters.  However, both the characters fade into the background and pretty much just give hints during loading screens.

There are humorous scenes at the beginning of every location and while there was barely any story after the opening cutscene, the ending was funny.  Perhaps most surprisingly are the boss battles which are quite exciting.  The only negative with these are that they often have one-hit kills which can be hard to avoid the first few times.  The graphics are passable; the colorful aesthetics helps a lot in making it look pretty.  The music is great albeit can be repetitive and a bit too upbeat.  Overall, Disney Universe is an enjoyable platformer.  While it lacks many of the complexities that would keep players entertained, it's relaxing and easy fun makes it a nice game to the player.

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