This is an exciting time for Disney Infinity fans. The Toy Box Summit just wrapped up in Anaheim yesterday, with some of the best toy box designers coming together to work in the upcoming Disney Infinity 3.0 toy box for the first time. D23, the Disney fan festival, starts today, also in Anaheim, and we should be getting a better look at the next Disney Infinity during a presentation on Sunday. And of course Disney Infinity 3.0 itself will be out in a couple of weeks, with the starter pack and various Star Wars figures hitting North American shelves on 8/30.
Before we blast into the future, though, let’s look back on the past of Disney Infinity. Dozens of figures and power discs have been released in the last two years, all of them playable in the game’s toy box mode. And a number of high quality toy box games and maps have been built by the community and released for all to enjoy online. But there have only been nine official play sets so far. These are professionally designed games that are based on various Disney movies, are packaged with new characters and usually take somewhere between three and five hours to play through. If you’re the type who doesn’t care about user-generated content, and who isn’t interested in building your own toy box worlds, these play sets are probably what you think of when you think of Disney Infinity. These nine play sets are all charming in their own way, and all make great use of the specific figures that are playable in them, but they aren’t all on the same level of quality. I’ve plumbed the depths of my own opinions to gin up this comprehensive ranking of all nine play sets, from the three that were packaged with the original starter pack back in 2013, to the Marvel sets released last year. And yes, I’ll periodically update these rankings when enough new play sets are released. Take a look and let us know what you think in the comments below.
1 of 9
9. The Avengers: Despite its cornucopia of cameos, including drop-ins from Captain Marvel, Luke Cage and the Wasp, the open-world Avengers play set makes a bad impression for Disney Infinity. It might be the most repetitive of the play sets, with its endless frost giant battles and similar mission types. And unlike the Spider-Man play set, there's basically no variety in the environments—you'll be fighting your way through this ice-covered slice of Manhattan for the entire run. It's not all bad, though—the first hour or two is great fun, and it's probably the best way to level up your Avengers characters.
2 of 9
8. Spider-Man: The Spider-Man play set is another action-heavy open world, but it's more diverse than the Avengers one, with a handful of different environments to play through. You'll often dip into the sewers or into OsCorp buildings to rescue scientists and fight the Green Goblin's legion of alien symbiotes. The collection of playable characters also provides a novel mix of personalities and skills, from Iron Fist's kung fu cool to Nova's wide-eyed power cosmic. It's still a little too repetitive, and the storyline doesn't quite make sense, but it's a step up on the Avengers set that came with Disney Infinity 2.0.
3 of 9
7. The Lone Ranger: Maybe the movie wouldn't have been a bust if it had the same spirit as the play set. This is almost like a PG-rated Red Dead Redemption, with the Lone Ranger and Tonto tussling with bandits and rustlers in a cartoonish old west town. In retrospect it's a baffling choice for one of the few official play sets to be released so far, but it's a setting and style of play that's unlike any of the other sets so far, making it a fine addition to your collection.
4 of 9
6. The Incredibles: The Incredibles set that came with the original Disney Infinity starter pack is a clear precursor to the Spider-Man and Avengers sets. All three are free-roaming, superhero beat-'em-ups set in a big city sandbox. The Incredibles set is shorter and simpler than those later two, but that actually works in its favor. It's not long enough to grow too repetitive, and there's no sense of disappointment over a hinted-at greater depth that doesn't come to pass, as in the New York-based Marvel games. It captures the spirit of The Incredibles like no game before it, which makes it a success.
5 of 9
5. Guardians of the Galaxy: The play set based on the surprise smash movie is tighter than the other Marvel play sets despite also offering a greater variety in play. Instead of a sprawling Manhattan it's set in Knowhere, the hollowed-out head of a giant space giant called a Celestial that's adrift in space, which means the environment is broken up into a series of distinct chambers. Instead of the straight-forward brawling of the other Marvel sets, it combines beat-'em-up action with spaceship fights and platforming. Also the Guardians characters have a nice variety of skills and play styles. All of this makes this one of the less repetitive play sets in the entire game.
6 of 9
4. Monsters University: That original Disney Infinity starter kit did a great job of showing how much variety the game could offer. One of three shorter scenarios included in the first play set, Monsters University is one of the few pranking games I can think of. It's less about beating people up or racing than it is pranking and scaring your rival monsters. It might grow a little tiresome before it ends, but there's nothing else like it in Disney Infinity.
7 of 9
3. Toy Story in Space: This play set might be the funniest of the entire lot, thanks to appearances from a few of the movies' original voice actors and a heavy presence from the Little Green Men from the first movie's pizza parlor crane toy. Most of the play set involves saving those aliens from various mishaps and disasters, with the platforming almost verging on puzzle territory at times. It never gets too repetitive or bogged down with button mashing, and it's so fun and so effortlessly a part of the Toy Story world (even if it's based on the Buzz Lightyear of Star Command cartoon) that it's hard not to love this play set.
8 of 9
2. Pirates of the Caribbean: The last of three play sets included with the original starter pack, the Pirates game can be seen as an expanded ad for what you can create in Disney Infinity's toy box. It combines hack'n'slash action with sea combat and more exploration than you'd probably expect. Of those three original play sets it's the closest to a full-fledged, stand-alone game, with a large world to play through and enough changes in play style to keep you from ever growing bored.
9 of 9
1. Cars: It's mystifying how the Cars movies can be the least interesting Pixar films and yet make for such a great play set and such an amazing theme park experience at Disney California Adventure. Like the Route 66 of the park, the play set is a beautiful little cartoon recreation of the Southwest, with a gorgeous desert backdrop and mountains and ravines that are fun to drive through. And of course driving is basically all you do here, as unlike the other Infinity characters the Cars aren't remotely humanoid. I'm generally not a big racing game fan, but this is a more arcade-style form of racing, and like Mario Kart it's both fast-paced and simple to understand. Extra depth comes through a city-building dynamic, where you grow your Radiator Springs and gradually unlock buildings and characters from the movies. It's a beautiful world that doesn't feel like any other play set, and thus my favorite of the nine they've released so far.