previews\ Apr 7, 2013 at 10:00 pm

Disney Infinity: First Look At the Cars universe


When it was first announced a couple of months ago, Disney Infinity shook up the landscape, giving the company the opportunity to introduce a Skylanders-like play model featuring figurines and "power discs" for each of the respective Disney franchises, while at the same time opening up a "sandbox" where players could put together their own levels however they see fit.  This past week, the company invited us back to get a closer look at one of the expansions it'll be introducing for the game, based on the Disney/Pixar Cars franchise.

With the initial playset come two figurines – main hero Lightning McQueen and his Porsche girlfriend Holley Shiftwell – but two additional ones can also be added to the mix, his best friend Tow Mater and racing rival Francesco Bernoulli.  Players will be able to put their figures on the light-up interactive platform (which plugs into your game console) and put them into the world, along with a Piston Cup-shaped trophy that will open it up.

This then activates the world of Radiator Springs, the small, dusty town where Lightning initially ends up in the movie.  Here, you'll see a number of familiar locations from the film, including the diner where the locals hang out and the shops where you can seek out additional challenges.  But mainly it's all about getting involved in races around the city, mainly to keep your rival Chick Hicks from taking over.  (He still holds a grudge against Lightning, especially after the conclusion of the first film.)


The Disney rep then took us to a racing challenge, which we started by driving over to an icon located near the outskirts of the city.  Here, we're able to engage in a versus contest similar to the ones we saw in the Cars 2 game a couple of years back, with the goal of reaching first place.  Avalanche Software, the developers of Infinity, have managed to add a couple of new dynamics, however.  You can now drive through fences and other obstacles, in case you need to create your own shortcut; and you can disable opponents in an effort to gain the lead.  No word yet if the game will allow you to take on others online, though it's not really looking likely.

Outside of mission structure, the expansion allows you to roam free throughout Radiator Springs.  You can explore the town and look for hidden items; take part in Stunt Challenges and do Tony Hawk-style jumps off of ramps; and even "tow" visiting cars, flinging them about however you see fit or helping out someone in case they're lost.

And of course, there's the Toy Box aspect, one where you can pretty much build your Radiator Springs world however you see fit, while inviting characters from other Disney universes, like Pirates of the Caribbean and Monsters University, to take part in the fun.  You can also use "power discs" to add décor to the proceedings, such as a Tron disc that turns the world into a gorgeous neon-lit town.  The possibilities are endless, provided you have the peripherals to unlock them all.


This Cars expansion is just a small part of Disney's plans for Infinity, as the company intends to introduce others based on such films as Wreck-It Ralph, The Incredibles and more.  We'll see just where it takes this idea when Disney Infinity arrives this August for multiple game platforms.

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