Wii

North America

Disney Universe

by Pedro Hernandez - November 5, 2011, 3:25 pm PDT
Total comments: 10

5

How can the wonderful world of Disney be so... boring?

Alongside being a Nintendo/video game enthusiast, I am also a big fan of Disney. Before I grabbed my first game controller, I was enthralled by the beauty of Disney animation. The best thing about it all is that both passions have crossed paths many times, yielding games such as Ducktales for the Nintendo Entertainment System, Mickey Mania for the Super NES and my all-time favorite, Square's Kingdom Hearts series. So you can bet that I was looking forward to Disney Universe, a game that looked to fully use Disney's modern and classic franchises to the fullest with clear inspiration from the LEGO game series. Unfortunately, after a hefty playthrough of the game, I came away disappointed by this shallow effort.

Developed by Eurocom (the same development house that worked on last year's Goldeneye 007), Disney Universe tells the story of a new method of amusement where Disney fans can enter digital representations of their favorite Disney worlds while being under constant watch from the system hosts. One day, however, the system is overtaken by evil robots, corrupting all the Disney worlds in the process. It is up to the player to restore order to the various Disney worlds so that they can be safe to explore once more. It is a very basic story that serves its purpose—to give a reason of being to this universe—well. But it severely lacks the charm and character appeal Disney productions are known for, and this shortcoming is where many of the game's flaws originate.

As I mentioned, Disney Universe borrows a lot of ideas from the LEGO games' playbook. Gameplay allows for up to four players, who can visit each world, complete simple puzzles and do combat with various enemy robots. Also like in the LEGO games, you cannot die. Instead, when you are defeated you lose some of your coins, coins that are then used to unlock the game's content. Unfortunately, while it tries to mimic the style of the LEGO classics, Disney Universe fails to make the gameplay engaging. Puzzles are just way too basic, and repeat themselves over the course of the gameplay. The progression is also extremely linear, failing to give players the opportunity to explore the world. To make a long story short, Disney Universe is dreadfully boring to partake in.

Two of Disney Universe's selling points are the six Disney worlds and the various Disney costumes the playable characters can don. This happens to be both the game's biggest strength and annoyance. It is a strength because Disney Universe does have a wide variety of references to past and present Disney classics, such as TRON Legacy, Tangled, Aladdin, The Lion King and more. The worlds have details that reference iconic Disney locales and moments, and the most inventive worlds can be really fun to experience. The main claim of annoyance, however, lies in how these worlds and costumes are unlocked.

Each world has three levels. In order to continue to the next world, all three levels must first be completed. Once you do, you must then buy the next set of levels using the coins you have collected. This method of unlocking worlds and levels is illogical, as you must continue to the next world anyway, so why the developers implement this tedious method is beyond me. The same logic has also been applied to the costumes. First, you must beat the level that hides the guest character who is wearing the costume. Once you do, you must buy the costume in order to unlock it. Sometimes you have to beat the same level again in order to unlock the rest. It doesn't help that the best costumes in the game (such as those based on popular Disney heroes and villains) are locked away.

At the very least, Disney Universe looks and sounds great. As previously stated, the Disney worlds feature authentic details that call back to the essence of the feature films, such as the windmill on Mad Hatter's home from Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. The costumes the characters wear are stylized while still retaining a familiar feel. The music is very bouncy, in a Radio Disney type of way, while implementing some of the familiar tunes from the franchises featured in the game.

But all the great graphics and soundtrack can't hide the fact that Disney Universe is one of the most disappointing releases of the year. Clearly the development team went through great lengths to replicate the success of the LEGO series by borrowing some of its concepts, but failed at giving us engaging game worlds, mission objectives that are easy to understand but provide a satisfying level of challenge, and a linear progression that is, to put it bluntly, isn’t boring beyond all belief. The way the game provides its additional content also proves to be offensive to the player. Ignore the cutesy music and lively characters—Disney Universe is a game best avoided.

Summary

Pros
  • Good graphics and sound
  • Great references to the Disney classics
  • Lots of costumes to unlock
Cons
  • Annoying method of content unlocking
  • Extremely boring to play
  • Painfully linear gameplay

Talkback

SilverQuilavaNovember 06, 2011

I wonder if Disney even knows what a video game is. I mean, Epic Mickey was such a joke to be honest.

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterNovember 06, 2011

Quote from: SilverQuilava

I wonder if Disney even knows what a video game is. I mean, Epic Mickey was such a joke to be honest.

In all fairness, the have released some solid games. Cars 2 Wii was pretty fun (even if I gave it a 6.5), the Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland game was surprisingly good, the recent Phineas and Ferb game was good from what I heard and Guilty Party was great last year. It seems that the hyped games are the ones that fail to live up to expectations. Both Epic Mickey and this were heavily hyped by Disney

Flames_of_chaosLukasz Balicki, Staff AlumnusNovember 07, 2011

I have actually enjoyed Epic Mickey, though I've never been interested in DU and it's a shame that this didn't turn out well considering that Eurocom is a pretty good developer. Disney needs to get Capcom back on board and make some more 2D Mickey Mouse titles.

SilverQuilavaNovember 07, 2011

Quote from: NWR_pap64

Quote from: SilverQuilava

I wonder if Disney even knows what a video game is. I mean, Epic Mickey was such a joke to be honest.

In all fairness, the have released some solid games. Cars 2 Wii was pretty fun (even if I gave it a 6.5), the Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland game was surprisingly good, the recent Phineas and Ferb game was good from what I heard and Guilty Party was great last year. It seems that the hyped games are the ones that fail to live up to expectations. Both Epic Mickey and this were heavily hyped by Disney

But its such a shame though. I looked forward to buying and playing Epic Mickey all the way through, but half way it wasn't even worth it anymore. Gameplay was too rough edged. 50 bucks spent, 25 I got back by selling it to a game store. So it was one last hurrah I guess. Seems Kingdom Hearts is the only real success nowadays... if they'll hurry up with KH3.

Fatty_The_HuttNovember 07, 2011

Toy Story 3 is fantastic, thanks to the open world "Toy Box" mode. The linear movie-tie-in levels are also quite good. I played the PS3 version so not sure if Wii version is the same.

I've played about 2 levels of Disney Universe (thanks, local library) and have indeed found it boring. Too bad.

CericNovember 07, 2011

Quote from: SilverQuilava

Quote from: NWR_pap64

Quote from: SilverQuilava

I wonder if Disney even knows what a video game is. I mean, Epic Mickey was such a joke to be honest.

In all fairness, the have released some solid games. Cars 2 Wii was pretty fun (even if I gave it a 6.5), the Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland game was surprisingly good, the recent Phineas and Ferb game was good from what I heard and Guilty Party was great last year. It seems that the hyped games are the ones that fail to live up to expectations. Both Epic Mickey and this were heavily hyped by Disney

But its such a shame though. I looked forward to buying and playing Epic Mickey all the way through, but half way it wasn't even worth it anymore. Gameplay was too rough edged. 50 bucks spent, 25 I got back by selling it to a game store. So it was one last hurrah I guess. Seems Kingdom Hearts is the only real success nowadays... if they'll hurry up with KH3.

KH3 may never be coming out...

ejamerNovember 07, 2011

Epic Mickey wasn't that bad. It just felt like the gameplay didn't receive the same polish and attention that fan service details did. I'm glad the game was made and think it was worth experiencing despite some notable faults.


(Please note: That doesn't mean I'm going to buy a sequel unless some serious improvements are made.)

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterNovember 07, 2011

Kingdom Hearts in all honesty is more of a Square Enix franchise that happens to have Disney elements in it. Square is no longer selling the franchise as a Disney RPG but another extension of their Final Fantasy empire. There hasn't been a true, original Disney game in quite a while. Disney Universe looked like it could be it, but the linear design is too boring...

CericNovember 07, 2011

Quote from: ejamer

Epic Mickey wasn't that bad. It just felt like the gameplay didn't receive the same polish and attention that fan service details did. I'm glad the game was made and think it was worth experiencing despite some notable faults.

(Please note: That doesn't mean I'm going to buy a sequel unless some serious improvements are made.)

My problem with Epic Mickey is that I enjoyed the game but I know to do everything I need to go through it more then once no matter what.  I also know that the core experience is going to be the same.  I should have been able to do everything in 1 go through and that would have made the game better.

ponarzaJanuary 13, 2012

I remember Duck Tales for the NES. It was a great game. The Lion King for the Sega Genesis. It was also a great game. Aladdin for the Sega Genesis. It was too a great game. Maybe i have grown to expect more from developers...who knows! But, what I do know I do not like the current Disney games. It seems that they are missing a certain flare.

Share + Bookmark





Disney Universe Box Art

Genre Adventure
Developer Eurocom
Players1 - 4

Worldwide Releases

na: Disney Universe
Release Oct 25, 2011
PublisherDisney Interactive
RatingEveryone 10+

Related Content

Got a news tip? Send it in!
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement