Phineas and Ferb Enter "Infinity" and Beyond
The Phineas and Ferb Toy Box Pack has been out for about two months, so let's take a look at one of the two last updates to Disney Infinity version 1.0. I say "two last updates" because the third set of Power Discs have also just been released.
Although we had to wait seven months after the official launch in August to get our hands on them, Disney has had this Pack ready for quite a while. Dan, Swampy and many lucky people were able to see them at the San Diego Comic Con in July 2013. In addition, the Summer of Endless Fun Tour traveled to five other cities around the U.S. and showed more of what we could expect to see in the game. As shown in the picture the right, Vincent Martella got to play Disney Infinity during one of the tour dates. I'm guessing he was taking Phineas out for a test run at the time.
When they were interviewed for Disney Infinity's Toy Box TV, Dan and Swampy told how they were approached by Disney Interactive to include Phineas and Ferb in this upcoming game. As the "pitch" went on, they became more excited about it. And just about the point where they said, "How can we be a part of this?", the Disney Interactive team showed them the figures they had already made for the game. "Well, we already happen to have sculpted your characters." Dan said he really loves the artistry, posing and attitude of the characters. At the end of the interview, he said "Thank you for treating them with such reverence. And it really felt like when we saw it, you guys were actual fans of the show and understood the characters." Swampy concurred, adding "It turned out better than our wildest dreams, and we have some pretty wild dreams."
- What's in the pack?
Before I decided to make the plunge into the world of Disney Infinity, I had been keeping tabs on what was coming up, especially once I knew Phineas and Ferb would be included. I remember people being disappointed that not all of the figures for the game would have their own playset. You had a playset for The Incredibles, Cars, Pirates of the Caribbean, Monsters University, The Lone Ranger and Toy Story. Why not a playset for the other nine characters like Anna, Wreck-It Ralph and Phineas?
The answer to that is it's being taken care of in a different way. But before I discuss that, let's go over the Toy Box Pack and how they play inside the game.
The package to the right is the U.S. version. The packaging for other locations like Australia and the U.K. have kind of a gold background. I may have mentioned before that I'm a bit of a fan of the packaging as well as the figures themselves. In fact, I'd really love to get the cardboard backing without the plastic holder glued to it so that I could see the entire artwork without any of it being covered up. I like seeing the differences the designs for different areas, but since I'm unlikely to visit either of those countries, it's just a fond wish to have an entire set.
Below that is the promotional artwork for both figures. As you can see, they're very close to the actual figures. Some of the artwork shows Perry with a yellow bill, tail and feet, but in the game, he's got the right colors.
When you're playing in the Toy Box, Phineas and Perry have two different styles of fighting. Perry can be described as a brawler. He has a lot of fighting moves, from backflips and acrobatics to the Platypus Pummel where he lies on his back and kicks upwards. You can also throw Perry's fedora at an enemy. It kind of weaves around in the air before it hits its target, but once it does, it will return to him, kind of like what Captain America's shield does.
Phineas is more of an archer. He primarily uses his Baseball Launcher to shoot at targets. When you're fighting an enemy up close, you really can only do a tuck-and-roll to hit them. At first, I was wishing he could fight a bit more like Perry, but then I realized that would be out of character. We don't see Phineas using his fists in the show.
In Disney Infinity, every character has a jump attack. You jump in the air, press the fire button, and when they hit the ground, the ground is dented as a shock wave flows outward. Naturally, with Agent P, it's his tail that does the damage.
The Toy Box Pack comes with two Power Discs. The first is "Danville Sky", which shows the skyline of Downtown Danville, complete with Doofenshmirtz Evil Incorporated and the Coolest Coaster Ever. While you have that disc on the game base, shortened versions of Gitchee Gitchee Goo and Ain't Got Rhythm play. The second disc is the Tri-State Area Terrain, which changes the appearance of the building and terrain pieces. Two of the buildings you can play around with include Doofenshmirtz Evil Incorporated and a water slide that you can climb and ride down.
I need to note that there is one major thing missing from this Pack: sound for Perry. While you're playing, Phineas will make comments or noises when he's standing idle, hitting something or falls. Most of the noises I've heard while playing with Perry have been from the enemies being hit. Perry never makes his chattering noise. That should have been included.
- Crystal figures
Disney has different exclusivity programs that they cycle through. One is that a retailer like GameStop or Walmart can sell an item for a couple of weeks before others can. The other is items that only one retailer can sell an item.
Crystal figures, also known as the Infinite Series, are the latter kind of exclusive items. In the U.S., Toys R Us has several. In the U.K., it's kind of split up between different companies. At the moment, you will only find the crystal version of Agent P at Game (Game Retail Limited) and it's out of stock right now. Hopefully, crystal Agent P will become available in the U.S. at some point in the future.
A crystal figure lets you earn experience faster and they have better abilities. When you're playing with the crystal version of Lightning McQueen, it has greater boost than the regular McQueen figure and it can boost much farther.
The Hall of Heroes is where you can see your progress in the game. Once you get a character to level 1, a bronze statue of them appears in the Hall. The statue changes to silver and gold as you level up. Regular characters appear in alcoves around the building. Crystal versions of the characters have their own pedestals near the entrance to the Hall. The Power Discs you have used appear in rings along the floor of the Hall. Series 3 of the Power Discs just recently became available.
Once you have statues of all 29 characters, whether in regular or crystal, it unlocks the lightsaber. It's a pretty powerful weapon, but it's only usable in the Toy Box, and it's the only Star Wars item at the moment.
- Toy Box Challenges
Earlier, I mentioned that you don't have playsets for all of the characters in Disney Infinity. Playsets are full games with missions and quests. Toy Boxes are kind of like mini-playsets. When you buy the Phineas and Ferb Toy Box Pack, you get two. "Agent P and the Infinity-Inator" is described as an 80s-style side-scrolling platformer. "Phineas' Pinball Mania" is inspired by the Big Idea from "Bowl-R-Ama Drama".
But you can make your own Toy Boxes, and each week, Disney Infinity has a Toy Box Challenge where players compete to make a Toy Box around a particular theme. All of the submissions are evaluated and the best five are made available through the Toy Box Share menu in the game for everyone to download. To date, seven relating to P&F have made the final five, and here they are:
- Egg Hunt Challenge
- 4. EasterInDanville — Agent P hid 15 eggs in Danville for you to find (3 in each location)! While you're at it, find 4 of his costume pieces!
- 3. Saving Agent R — The Egg Bomb-inator turned all eggs to bombs! Find at least 5 of them to destroy Dr. D's barrier and save Agent R!
- Phineas and Ferb Challenge
- 5. Save Meap — Big Mitch has captured Meap! Rescue Meap and bring him back to his spaceship. Mitch is sure to get a time out this time!
- 4. My Name is Doof — At a PFT concert, Doof hypnotizes the audience & steals PFT's equipment. Find 4 instruments & shut down Doof's broadcast!
- 3. The Unbuildinator — Help Phineas & Ferb complete their project by finding the secret entrance to the Agency! Then destroy Dr. D's new inator!
- 2. Badbeard's Ballad — Rescue Grumpy before Badbeard can steal his beard! Defeat Maccas to activate nearby super cannons.
- 1. Summer-Winter — This is Phineas and Ferb's S'Winter episode! Explore, climb the mountain and play all the mini-games you find on the way.
- Infinite possibilities, infinite replayability
Many computer games have a basic flaw in that once you get to the end, there isn't much incentive to go back and re-play the game because events in the game will happen pretty much the same way every time. But classic games and toys that are open-ended encourage playing over and over again. The ability to create and share Toy Boxes ensures you're not going to get tired of Infinity.
But even if you've grown comfortable playing with all the characters and in the Toy Box, there's much more to come. There will always be new downloads available in the Toy Box Share. Also, Disney had released the Playsets, Toy Box Packs, individual figures and Power Discs pretty consistently during the past eight months. This fall, we'll see Disney Infinity 2.0 Edition, with The Avengers, a whole slew of Marvel characters and some new gameplay mechanics.
I have also heard more people that are involved in the game say that they've been shown what's in store for the future. Just as Marvel has been planning out their Cinematic Universe so that the stories help support each other and set up events for other stories, I get the sense that Disney Interactive already knows what they want to do with their future releases beyond the 2.0 Edition that we already know about. Disney Infinity is going to be around for a very long time.
This gives me plenty of time to practice in the game. I'm still having a hard time with the fact that as the camera has to move due to a nearby object, you can suddenly start running or driving in a different direction even if you're still holding the thumbstick in the same position you were three seconds ago. For example, I can be running to the left, but if the camera swings to the right, suddenly my character makes a left turn. In my mind, regardless of what the camera does, it should continue running in the same direction if I haven't moved the thumbstick. Once I let go and push on it again, then the character can start running in a new direction.
I also have a long way to go before I can get the lightsaber. I have all 29 figures and a few of the crystal figures, but haven't played with all of them yet. I think about half of the alcoves in the Hall of Heroes are empty.
If you're interested in Disney Infinity, you can find out much, much more on the Disney Infinity Wiki.