To Infinity and Beyond!
Toy Story 3 Preview

By Kirk Jacklin & Jorge Figueiredo - April 23rd, 2010


Last week we were invited to check out some of Disney Interactive’s new offerings, namely Guilty Party and Toy Story 3. Disney is always fun to check out because they usually have the added challenge of accommodating a larger demographic than other companies (Street Fighter IV is not officially for kids, is it?); they always do a great job when it comes to games that involve the whole family. We settled onto some comfy couches in an office in downtown Toronto – amidst a pile of plush friends and some stand-up cardboard likenesses of well-known characters – and watched Wideload Games and Avalanche Software show off their shiny new games. In this second segment we take a look at Avalanche’s offering…

Toy Story 3

In 2007 Avalance Software was invited to Pixar to check out storyboards for the next Toy Story movie. What they ended up experiencing was something powerful and moving. They wanted to give players a sense of wonder and fun; what better way to do that than to let people play with Andy’s toys?

The game board interface for the game is quite creative, setting the mood from the get-go. As with most movie tie-ins, Toy Story 3 has a story mode made up of specific scenes from the movie. The levels are all made up of platforming challenges, both as “real-world” scenarios (like trying to retrieve an object from the top shelf in Andy’s bedroom) or within the imaginary realm of the toys themselves. Completing missions allows you to gain points that you can use towards purchasing items in the sandbox mode, which, in an interesting twist, is actually a very large part of the gaming experience; larger than the story mode.

Andy’s Room

The sandbox mode (called the Toy Box) is the main feature of the game; it is essentially the world of Woody’s Round up where the player can choose to be one of Andy’s toys and interact with a fully customizable world. The environment, which is essentially a playset, is made up of buildings, challenges, and other toys; there are also various minigames placed about the town. The more achievements you hit, the more points you get, and you can use these points to purchase new toys, customization tools, and more! You can pick up practically anything in the playset and manipulate it.

Pretty much everything in the playset is customizable; you have a handy-dandy tool box that allows you to change many aspects of what you see all around you. All of the customization tools that you start with (and buy) are in the tool box (and in some of the buildings – like the barber shop, for instance). The a nice incentive for interaction is a positive feedback loop: while you have to spend rewards to get new tools, customizing the world around you actually leads to more rewards!

Toy Box

Toy Box also has a lot of tools to help you so that you can stay on track: a mission log keeps track of multiple missions; a compass mode to help you stay on track; a Pictomatic viewer, which demonstrates scenes you can create with various toys that net you some rewards; very clear visual cues, that allow you to see various objectives from a distance; there are so many more aids, too!

Toy Box doesn’t get boring either. In addition to the achievements and customizations, there are some great racing mini games, Pixar balls to throw around, and various disaster scenarios that hit your town when you become better at the game. Avalanche not only spent a lot of time designing a game that appeals to a very wide age range; they also designed it for different playing styles: achievers, explorers, customizers, everyone is welcome!

A winning franchise deserves a winning game, and Toy Story 3 looks like it’s a winner!

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