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'Disney Infinity' lets you create levels on the go with new iPad app

'Disney Infinity' lets you create levels on the go with new iPad app


Virtual toy boxes, in tablet form

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Disney Infinity Toy Box app
Disney Infinity Toy Box app

The most compelling aspect of Disney Infinity is its Toy Box: a mode that lets you build pretty much whatever you want, using toys and objects unlocked during the single player campaign. It's a flexible and easy-to-use tool, and it really lets you mash together locations and characters from multiple Disney properties all in one place. You can have Jack Sparrow driving Mr. Incredible's car through Cinderella's castle, while guards from Aladdin chase him around. Today, the company is launching a new iPad app that makes this mode even better. The appropriately named Toy Box app lets you build on the go, syncing with the console versions of the game so that you can tweak your designs away from the television.

The toy boxes you create are identical from one version to the next

Setting everything up is incredibly simple. You just need to register for a Disney ID account (if you don't already have one) and then sign into it on both devices. From here you can upload any of your creations to the cloud, where they can be accessed from either the full game or the app. I was able to seamlessly transfer levels between the Xbox 360 and iPad versions, making changes on one device, and then swapping to the other. And all of the content I unlocked on the 360 was available to use on my tablet. You can also use codes from figures purchased at retail to unlock them in the iPad app. Provided you remember to save and re-upload your level, all of the tweaks and additions you make to a level are in tact when you chance devices. The iPad version is naturally much lower-res visually, but other than that the toy boxes you create are identical from one version to the next.

It's a great way to let players work on their Toy Box creations outside of the console game, and the touchscreen controls work well enough for navigating menus and placing objects (though they're not a substantial upgrade over simply using a controller). One place where the touch controls fall flat, though, is when it comes to handling your character. In Disney Infinity you can build as you play, as the game lets you control a character from a third-person perspective so that you can run around the world just as a player would. It's great for testing out things like race tracks or platforming stages to see if they work right. The Toy Box app lets you do the same, but its attempt to mimic the console controls just doesn't work well. Character movement isn't precise, which can make pulling off jumps quite difficult.

Its attempt to mimic the console controls doesn't work well

Of course, this is a relatively minor complaint for what amounts to a free and very useful add-on for the console game. And because it costs nothing, the Toy Box also serves as a demo of sorts — you can play it even without owning the main version of the game, though your content options will be extremely limited. It doesn't solve Disney Infinity's biggest problem — unlocking all of the best content for the Toy Box mode still requires a long slog through boring single-player missions — but it's a useful tool for those who enjoy building in Disney's gaming universe.