A Play Set is a game world themed to a particular Disney franchise. Each is represented by a transparent Play Set Piece, which is placed on the Disney Infinity Base in order to access a story mode based on the franchise and its Characters. It stands in contrast to Toy Box mode, which allows players to create their own story. Each Play Set can only be played using characters from the story's world, unless the game provides Crossover Characters or Champion Coins.
Unlike Figures and Power Discs, Play Sets are not forward compatible with newer editions of Disney Infinity link. For example, the Pirates Play Set cannot be played in Disney Infinity 2.0 or Disney Infinity 3.0, and Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Play Set cannot be played in Disney Infinity 3.0.
Play Sets are available in all versions of the game except for mobile, which is why the game's mobile app is called Disney Infinity: Toy Box, because it only grants access to the Toy Box. On the PC version of the game, they are accessed using the Web Code Card that comes with each Play Set. Only the Incredibles Play Set can be accessed in the PC version of 1.0, but all can be accessed in 2.0.
Unlike the Toy Box, play sets offer a more linear mode of play, like traditional video games. Each play set can almost be thought of as its own game-within-a-game. Each one requires players to go through a set storyline, which is different for each play set. Each play set only allows players to play as charaters from the play set's franchise; for example, only The Lone Ranger and Tonto can enter The Lone Ranger Play Set, and not any other character. Some play sets also have what is known as Crossover Characters; this means that the characters cannot enter the play set until the player has collected all of the character's Crossover Coins. For example, Iron Man can enter Marvel's The Avengers Play Set from the beginning, but he can also enter Marvel's Spider-Man Play Set and Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Play Set, after all ten of the crossover coins with his face on them have been collected in each respective play set.
Most play sets offer a three-dimensional platforming style of gameplay, except for the Inside Out Play Set, which is a two-point-five-dimensional sidescrolling platformer. It has also been said that the Marvel Battlegrounds Play Set will offer a "different genre" of gameplay which will unique from what has been done in previous games, although specific details as to what this style is have been few.
Play sets require players to perform all sorts of tasks in order to accomplish their goals. To accomplish the play sets' various tasks, players ride Vehicles & Mounts, use Packs and Tools, battle enemies, and build buildings, as well as perform certain other actions unique to the specific play set. (For example, the Pirates of the Caribbean Play Set lets players sail a pirate ship, and The Lone Ranger Play Set allows them to use a train to deliver supplies to various places. The Toy Story in Space Play Set includes the addition of Goo.)
The story of a play set is advanced by completing various tasks, called missions, for the play set's missions givers, who are normally Cast Members and Play Set Townspeople, though they are Costumes in The Incredibles Play Set. A play set's mission givers give two types of missions: main missions, which are required to complete in order to complete the main storyline, and side missions, which are just extra missions that can be completed to earn collectibles and collect toys. Completing missions usually unlocks a certain number of Sparks and, in the Disney Infinity play sets, currency; the amount of each varies for each mission. Completing certain specific missions unlocks special toys (normally toys that appeared in the play set, like enemies) for use in the Toy Box.
In addition to missions, there are also challenges. Challenges are special minigames located throughout a play set which require a player to score a certain amount of points by doing a certain specific thing in a certain amount of time. In Disney Infinity, when challenges are completed, the player is awarded a sum of Sparks and currency, in addition to unlocking a harder difficulty level of the challenge. Each challenge in this game has three difficulty levels: easy, medium, and hard. In Disney Infinity 2.0, the difficulty level system was done away with and a medal system was introduced instead: depending on how many points the player scored within the time limit, the player is awarded a medal of either bonze, silver, or gold, or possibly no medal at all. The reward for completing these challenges is always Sparks, the number of which is determined by the number of points scored by the player. There is also a separate set of medals for single player and multiplayer, with a different set of goals required to be met for each in order to earn the medals.
In Disney Infinity and Disney Infinity 3.0 (the feature was removed for Disney Infinity 2.0), there is a Toy Store in each play set from which can be bought special toys and other collectables that can be used in the play set. Many of these can be used in the Toy Box, while many others are exclusive to the play set. In Disney Infinity, items in the toy store are purchased via the use of currency. Each of the play sets in that game had its own special type of currency (for example, the Monsters University Play Set had M.U. Tokens, and the Toy Story in Space Play Set had Crystals) that could only be collected in the play set, and could only be used to buy things from that play set's toy store. In Disney Infinity 3.0, the toy store is accessed from a certain place (or places) in the play set, and is accessed by talking to the shopkeeper.
Each play set except for the Monsters University Play Set and the Cars Play Set so far has one or more boss fights, including a final boss level. (The Inside Out Play Set is currently not confirmed one way or the other; the Marvel Battlegrounds and the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Play Set are also not confirmed to have them, but this can be assumed given the combat-filled nature of the two play sets.) These bosses are usually the main villains of the play set (although sometimes lackeys like the Frost Beast can be used as bosses instead); for this reason, boss fights are often had with Characters that are also playable.
In addition to bosses, all play sets except for the Cars Play Set have enemies that are unique to the play set's franchise. These enemies normally are all of the same type, and are all just the same general design with different attacks; for example, all the enemies who are not bosses in The Incredibles Play Set are Omnidroids, and all the enemies who are not bosses in Marvel's Spider-Man Play Set are Symbiotes (except for the Green Goblin Drones). This changes in Disney Infinity 3.0, where many different variants of enemies were made for each play set; for example, the Star Wars: Rise Against the Empire Play Set has Stormtroopers, Sandtroopers, Imperial Officers, Biker Scouts, Tusken Raiders, AT-ST's, AT-AT's, etc.
Finally, each of the play sets in Disney Infinity, along with most of the ones in Disney Infinity 3.0 (the feature was left out of Disney Infinity 2.0) has a degree of customizability, though not as great a degree as can be enjoyed in the Toy Box. For example, all six of the 1.0 play sets allow players to dress townspeople in various outfits. Many of the play sets of both 1.0 and 3.0 allow players to place and customize various buildings that they buy from the Toy Store. Some even have unique customizable features that are not found anywhere else in the game; for example, the Pirates of the Caribbean Play Set allows players to customize their own pirate ship; The Lone Ranger Play Set has the same feature, but uses a train rather than a boat. This allows players to continue having fun in the play set, even after they have finished the main storyline.
In Disney Infinity, many of the customizations that can be applied to the Buildings, townspeople, and other things in the play sets are obtained by collecting Prize Capsules, which are scattered throughout each of the play sets. These were eliminated from the play sets of Disney Infinity 2.0. Whether they will reappear in Disney Infinity 3.0 remains unknown.
Circular (ability) Power Discs can be used in all play sets, with the exception that the Disney Originals event power discs cannot be used in the Marvel Comics play sets. Hexagonal power discs (the ones that summon toys and change the environment) also cannot be used, for obvious reasons.
List of Play Sets
Disney Infinity 1.0
- The Incredibles Play Set (included in starter pack)
- Pirates of the Caribbean Play Set (included in starter pack)
- Monsters University Play Set (included in starter pack)
- Cars Play Set
- The Lone Ranger Play Set
- Toy Story in Space Play Set
Disney Infinity 2.0
- Marvel's The Avengers Play Set (included in starter pack)
- Marvel's Spider-Man Play Set (included in PS Vita starter pack)
- Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Play Set
Disney Infinity 3.0
- Star Wars: Twilight of the Republic Play Set (included in starter pack)
- Inside Out Play Set
- Star Wars: Rise Against the Empire Play Set
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens Play Set
- Marvel Battlegrounds Play Set
- Finding Dory Play Set
3.0 would have also received a Rogue One and Moana Play Set had the series not been cancelled.
Each default starter pack for one of the games has included at least one play set; the starter pack for Disney Infinity contained one play set piece that granted access to three play sets, while the starter packs for Disney Infinity: 2.0 Edition and Disney Infinity: 3.0 Edition had access to one play set, while the Disney Infinity: 2.0 Edition Toy Box Starter Pack had none, due to the fact that neither of the characters included with it can enter any play sets. Each of the play sets other than the three the one included with the Disney Infinity starter pack, Disney Infinity: 2.0 Edition and Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition starter pack, are also sold separately. Individually sold play set packs usually include two Figures (expect for the Marvel Battlegrounds Play Set which only included one figure), the play set piece, and a Web Code Card. However the only play set that did not have a Web Code Card is the Finding Dory Play Set.
Play sets in Disney Infinity were generally fairly well-received by critics, though not nearly as well-recieved as the Toy Box mode. They were referred to as being fun to play through, though the lack of variety in missions and enemies was mildly criticized. Anthony Taormina of gamerant.com said "Ultimately, it becomes rather repetitive the deeper the player gets into each Play Set, but the overall experience is engaging enough for fans of the associated Disney franchise... each of the three Play Sets (in the game's starter pack) have at least one element that make them stand out.. the design of each Play Set is top notch." Chris Carter of destructoid.com said that the play sets each had "tons of content packed in... like side-missions, story quests, and hidden collectibles that will push you far past the three-hour mark." Chris Kohler of wired.com said that the play sets had an "addictive quality", and that he "would play and play and play this thing until the wee hours of the morning. It had that one-more-mission quality to it that might make it difficult to tear your kids away unless you’re in the habit of letting them, too, stay up until 3 a.m."
The play sets of Disney Infinity 2.0 received a somewhat less positive critical treatment. They, too, were criticized for repetitive missions and lack of variety (even more so than those of the preceding game), as well as for the removal of some of the unique features found in the first game, such as the customization, which many felt removed a lot of the depth from the gameplay. Andy Robertson of stuff.tv said that the play sets were "...only an entrée to the real business of making your own creations in the Toy Box mode." Mat Elfring of comic vine.com described the play set gameplay - specifically, that of Marvel's The Avengers Play Set - as being "...pretty tedious and redundant and there's little skill, but overall, it is a fun beat-em-up..." Stuart Andrews of trusted reviews.com said "There are many things that Infinity 2.0 nails in the Avengers campaign...Marvel's fantasy Manhattan makes a bigger and more exciting open world than any of the playsets in the original Infinity... Unfortunately, the campaign still falls slightly flat... there's just not enough imagination on display...a little more invention and variety would have made for a vastly superior game... Overall, we're still a little disappointed by the playset content." Richard Walker of xbobachievements.com said of The Avengers Play Set: "It's good, solid fun for a while, until the objectives become rather tedious, as you punch your way through the umpteenth Frost Giant."
While Disney Infinity 3.0 has yet to release, those who have played its play sets thus far have given it very positive reviews. Andy Robertson of pocket-lint.com said "Spending time with the Star Wars play-sets at E3 it’s evident that a lot of time and effort has been lavished here. Perhaps most importantly they all feel like Star Wars. Jump in an X-Wing, scale an AT-AT Walker or costume swap Princess Leia into her bounty hunter disguise and the Star Wars juices soon start flowing." Dyani Wood of playstationlifestyle.net said "The new Disney Infinity 3.0 playsets all have something extra to add to the story of whatever world they’re from. So if you go see the movie Inside Out and want to continue enjoying that world, you’ll get gameplay that furthers the story instead of just taking your money and giving you a gimicky experience. I can really appreciate this, because if I’m going to spend the money on a playset, you can bet I’d want to experience that to the fullest." Keza MacDonald of kotaku.com said "The original Disney Infinity was a wonderful celebration of some iconic Disney worlds... but the second Marvel-themed Disney Infinity 2.0 didn’t seem to have as much creativity or, I suspect, as much passion in its design. I hugely enjoyed going through the original play sets... but the Marvel sets often bored me... to tears... I feared that (the Star Wars play sets of Disney Infinity 3.0) would be similarly dumbed down. From what I’ve seen so far, I’m wrong - Disney Infinity 3.0 looks like a return to form...its treatment of Star Wars is looking significantly better than Marvel."
- All play set storylines are non-canon to the franchise they represent, meaning that the events of their storyline do not affect the actual events of the franchise's world as outlined by the franchise's creators. This is the reason the storylines often include events which could not happen in the actual franchise (for example, their frequent use of deceased characters like Syndrome and Butch Cavendish).
- For more game related media, see Play Set/Gallery.