Overview of the Game
This game provides you with six worlds to explore: Monsters Inc., Aladdin, Pirates of the Caribbean, Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, WALL-E, and Lion King. You can enter any of these six worlds as your favorite Disney character, regardless of whether your character was created to be a part of that world or not. For example, you can be one-eyed Mike Wazowski from Monsters, Inc. while hanging with the undead on a ship from Pirates of the Caribbean.
How to Play
You become a Disney character by donning a character suit which makes you look a little bobble-headed. Each suit comes with its own unique tool or weapon (which is upgradeable as you play). At first there are only six suits, but you can eventually unlock 45, including Disney characters not from these worlds.
Just as you are about to enter this fun universe, which has been billed as having "no danger," it becomes hacked by Hex, a mischievous fellow who takes great pleasure in corrupting the Disney worlds and inserting danger in what was to be a "safe" adventure. You are now recruited to visit each of the six movie worlds to fix the hacks.
Hex's hacks show up in many ways, but the most obvious is represented by his sending a variety of bad guys to beat you up. Hex's minions might also build barriers to keep you from moving around the world. He places curses in unexpected places, like one that turns you into a chicken, which temporarily disables your character. But his worst trick is that he has also nabbed other visitors and encased them in a box so they can't move. Your ultimate goal in each world is to find and rescue the trapped guests.
The Six Worlds
You start in the Pirates of the Caribbean world. Each world has three locations that represent highpoints from each film. Within each location are three levels. The last level in a world will have an encounter with a "boss" -- something that is a little more difficult to win or defeat. In all, you will have 54 levels of gameplay.
As you explore each world, you will find Mickey Mouse coins to collect, as well as other items unique to that world. These coins are used to unlock the remaining five worlds.
While each of the six worlds is different, reflecting the perspective of a unique developer, each contains environments to puzzle through and baddies to dispatch. The setting of each world looks like the movie upon which it is based, and the accompanying music resembles the soundtrack from the movie.
As you might expect, the world of "Pirates of the Caribbean" is filled with levels involving ships or under the water. Its puzzles are about how to unroll rope ladders so that you climb up a mast, or turn a giant wheel to make a ledge appear. One battle involves shooting cannons at incoming pirate ships.
By contrast, environmental puzzles found in the world of "Monsters, Inc." are about finding key cards to open up doors into kids bedrooms. You'll find puzzles that require you to pull a lever that turns the whole room upside down, resulting in your walking and fighting bad guys on the ceiling.
does a lot of things right. It has a great hint system in the form of big blue arrows showing you what to do next (which can be turned off). You have unlimited lives, so you never have to worry about dying. It has tons of collectables to keep you searching and optional mini-games. And unlocking new costumes, each with its own abilities, motivates you to replay a level as a different character.
Because of the constant onslaught of bad guys trying to stop you as you work through the puzzles, Disney Universe
earned an "E10+" rating from the ESRB. While this cartoon violence is mild, in that enemies that you whack eventually just disappear and leave you coins to collect, it is a constant in the game.
This mash-up creates wild -- frenetically so at times -- fun, but only for kids who like a lot of battling with their puzzle exploration. It is particularly good for kids who love playing action games with friends. The game adjusts the puzzles and number of bad guys you have to defeat depending on how many of up to four players are playing.
As good as this game is, Disney Universe
doesn't have an universal appeal to all Disney fans. This is a combat game with puzzles, not a gentle puzzle adventure. While it looks a little like LittleBigPlanet
, it has lots more danger and not quite as much charm. Surprisingly, the Wii version doesn't use motion controls.
All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.