While many are playing the Toy Box mode within Disney Interactive Studios game Disney Infinity, the Play Set mode also offers hours of endless fun of exploration and missions. In this review, we set foot in Monsters University where Fear Week is upon the college campuses and the hated Fear Tech have come and desecrated the hallowed grounds of MU.
When starting the Play Set, you are allowed to start the game as any of the three Monsters Inc. characters released for Disney Infinity; which is Mike Wazowski, James P. Sullivan aka Sulley and Randall Boggs aka Randy. It should be noted that this does all depend on you having bought the Mike and Randy figures. Otherwise you will not have access to playing them within the Play Set or unlocking specific challenges and vaults for these characters.
This is not a recreation of the Disney/Pixar summer movie Monsters University, but a side tale of what occurred during a portion of the movie that was mentioned, but never shown. Fear Week puts both campuses in a battle to see who is the best around. Each side is at constant “war” trying to out do the other by coming up with the best pranks and scare tactics. As you first enter the MU campus, toilet paper is littered all over the buildings, trees and statues. Talking to particular monsters or “mission givers” allows you to begin the clean up of the university.
Here you’ll have two sets of mission givers. One set will be from the characters of Oozma Kappa, better known as the OK fraternity. Art, Don Carlton, Scott "Squishy" Squibbles, Terri and Terry Perry are all seen roaming both campuses giving you the main story line missions to complete. The second set of mission givers are from various monsters that provide you side missions, which require your help to pull off pranks or clean up the school. Finding who has a mission can be done in three ways; you can look where the green arrow points to that is located near your character, pressing the select button (PS3 version) and picking the find mission givers option, or by looking for monsters with a beam of light shining down upon them.
The missions vary at difficulty with some being very easy to accomplish and others giving a higher degree of difficulty, causing you to replay missions quite a few times. Since this is a free roam world, the majority of missions can be completed as you please. You can even have numerous missions going on at once for those multitasking people among us. Some missions do become repetitive causing you to want to get it done quick so you can move on to something else. Aside from the various missions within the Play Set, challenges are also offered which ask the player to perform a particular feat such as paint balling in three modes, easy, medium, and hard. After completion of a challenge in every difficulty, these become available for replay with the ability to pick your choice of difficulty.
A majority of the Monsters University challenges were easily some of the most fun I’ve had within a game, while at the same time causing me much grief when I failed. It’s an unexpected twist that I didn’t think would occur in this game from a Play Set. For instance, the challenge Timed Swine on the hard difficulty setting has you riding the Fear Tech mascot Archie the Scare Pig. Within a minute span, you’re required to pop 60 balloons placed throughout Frat Row. This caused me a lot of headaches as I would constantly get stuck behind various objects or knocked into various monsters roaming the street. I appreciated the level of difficulty considering it could have been made to not require a lot of effort into completing the challenge.
The story in the MU Play Set is really well thought out. Typical movie tie in games are usually a hit or miss genre with most not succeeding. This Play Set instead bucks what is traditionally done and attempts to enhance the movie by telling a side story. I’d recommend watching the movie as it helps you understand the motive and characteristics of each monster. Even if you don’t you’d still be able to understand what’s going on, but the subtle jokes and mannerisms of new characters such as Don Carlton might be missed.
What’s surprising about the Monsters University Play Set is the massive amount of space the game actually allowed you to play in. You are able to fully explore the MU campus, the Fear Tech campus and Frat Row. Each area allows you to scale the walls to search for red and green capsules as well as various pennants placed throughout each area. There are 20 pennants on each campus that vary on location and difficulty for obtaining them. While some are obvious, others require a keen sense of sight and/or some thinking on how you can scale the wall and jump accordingly. It does need to be noted that some items found in capsules are Play Set specific only and will not show up or can be used in the toy box mode.
The presentation stays true to the movie and doesn’t try to alter what we’re used to from the Monsters Inc. world. Monsters University is presented as the older campus and it shows as brick made buildings have vines scaling its walls. The Fear Tech campus is modern and up to date with its hard lined shaped buildings and newer looking campus. Frat Row is a college row of houses with each frats Greek symbol on the buildings. Red cups are littered around the houses staying true to the party life many college students experience or at least see.
Various issues throughout the play set did occur such as see through dotted textures throughout the buildings and landscapes. It seemed as if the area was never able to fully load and quit as you approached. Walking away and coming back to the area or building would typically fix this. Audio issues also occurred after completing a mission. During the completion sequence of a mission, anyone of the three characters would state the first three words, stop and repeat their celebration speech. This can all be fixed with a software update, but these issues break the immersiveness set by the Play Set for a bit. Another issue I've experienced in the Play Set is uncompleted gold star missions, even though the mission was completed early on. For the time being no fix has been found, but hopefully can be corrected with a future software update.
One of my favorite things from this Play Set was the music chosen to represent each area. My favorite was the MU campus with its jazz sounding music. It reminded me of something you’d hear while walking down Main Street in Disneyland. The Fear Tech campus offers synthetic 80’s beats that complements the modern looking campus. Frat Row channels metal and rock music to set the tone of a party type of atmosphere.
Completion of the main story took around four hours. When you include the side missions, another couple hours add to that total. As I wanted to complete the Play Set to 100%, finding every capsule, pennant and completing every challenge on each difficulty level took me over 12 hours. For a Play Set that is geared towards kids, it offers the amount of play through some full games strive to reach. It shows a lot of promise that the rest of the Play Sets may also offer this amount of time to play through them. Of course we will have to see.
The Monsters University Play Set is worth the time to play, even if all you’re trying to do is add more items to your toy box. It offers an immersive experience that stays true to its movie roots without trying to alter or change the Monsters Inc. world. Missions and challenges vary on difficulty, but still allow players of every age to have fun. The music adds a lot to the experience of the campuses without making you want to press mute. Various issues do break the illusion of immersiveness, but are issues that can be fixed through software updates.
In order to experience everything within the Play Set, you will need all three characters. It doesn’t cause you to not complete the story line missions or any side missions, but character specific missions and vaults will not be obtainable. This includes the main vault included in each Play Set. This requires you to have every figure for that world in order to open it. The big vault lets you obtain further items for the toy box mode.
This is a highly recommended experience to search and explore a small portion of the Monsters Inc. world. For those playing on the PS3, Xbox 360 or the Wii U, you’ll be able to enjoy 2-player local co-op, just as long as you have another character for this world. Each player can help within a mission or go off to separate locations to complete missions. This can vastly change your time of completion of the Play Set compared to playing it alone.
The next review will focus on The Incredibles Play Set, so be on the look out for it next week. If you haven’t checked out my review of the Starter Pack, you can read it right here on MiceChat!
I hope you enjoy playing through the Monsters University Play Set as much as I did. If you have any questions about the Play Set, how much you did/didn’t like the MU Play Set or anything else please do comment below!