A full overview of Series One
It's been a few weeks since Disney Infinity was released, and I've scoured every inch of content there is to offer. Since there's a ton of confusion as to what exactly needs to be purchased to unlock what piece of content, I decided to create a comprehensive overview of pretty much everything you'll need.
I'm covering Series 1 here (the first five Play Sets), and if there's enough content to warrant it, I'll cover Series 2 and 3 in a similar fashion down the road. Expect impressions of the two Series 1 Play Sets that are sold separately very soon.
How do I get started, and how much does everything cost?
To play Disney Infinity you'll need to buy the starter pack for $74.99. It comes with the actual game disc, three toys/in-game characters (Sully, Jack Sparrow, and Mr. Incredible), the base to hold the toys, and one random power disc (which I'll explain in a second). Should you decide you want more, characters are $13 each, new campaigns (Play Sets) are $34.99 and come with two characters, and there are a select few triple character packs for $29.99.
The cheapest way to own everything in Series 1 without deals is to buy the Starter Pack ($74.99), the Sidekicks pack ($29.99), the Villains Pack ($29.99), Dash ($12.99), Violet ($12.99), Francesco ($12.99), Mater ($12.99), the Cars Play Set ($34.99), and the Lone Ranger Play Set ($34.99). That's a grand total of $256.91 at retail for five campaigns that range from 5-10 hours each, and 17 toys to use in Toy box. Yowzers!
On the base itself, there is room for two characters to fit into the circular grooves (left is player one, right is player two). If you want to play a multiplayer campaign (Play Set), both characters must be a part of the same franchise (meaning, you cannot play local campaign co-op with the starter kit). Toy Box eliminates this restriction, as all franchises can fully mix.
On the top part of the base, you can place a Play Set piece (currently, one piece that contains Monsters/Pirates/Incredibles that comes in the starter pack, or separately sold pieces for Cars, and one for Lone Ranger -- $35 each) or a Power Disc in the hexagonal area on top.
The Disney Infinity Fans forum periodically updates threads with information on events and specials. Amazon, Toys "R" Us, Target, and Walmart are your usual suspects for deals.
How do Power Discs work?
Power Discs come in blind packs of two (in the silver and gold pack variety) for roughly $5 per pack.
It's confusing at first, but once you understand the two fundamental types, it's not that hard. Those two types are: circular and hexagonal. There's no rhyme or reason as to the blind packaging of each type -- a pack could come with any combination of circular or hexagonal bases. The circular discs are placed under your character (up to two at a time) and grant you passive bonuses, such as 10% extra damage.
The hexagonal discs can only be used in Toy Box mode, and grant you extra NPCs to play with (such as vehicles or weapons), as well as set pieces and themes (like an underwater Finding Nemo sky). If you're wondering how to change your set pieces after placing them on the base, you have to build the "Sky Changer" device and place it in your world. This isn't normally explained, and is really easy to miss.
Toys "R" Us periodically holds in-store "trading events" for these discs, and Amazon/eBay sellers will put them up individually if you need specific discs. Here's a great online checklist tool for all available Series 1 discs.
The two rarest discs are "Mike's Car" and "Tron User Control," which can run around $20 each from individual sellers. If you want to check and see what discs are in a blind pack before purchasing, simply place the sealed package on a demo kiosk base to check them.
Unlocking the vaults (requirements):
Vaults are giant doors that grant you a ton of extras if you unlock them. The only catch is, they require all characters within each set to interact with them before opening. Typically they give you a large number of Toy Box pieces, as well as a brand new Toy Box base level to mess around with.
In the starter pack, once again you only get three characters (Mr. Incredible, Sully, and Jack Sparrow), so your cheapest franchise options in terms of unlocking vaults are Monsters and Pirates, who only require two toys each (at $13 a pop) in addition to the starter pack. The Lone Ranger is the only pack to require two toys to unlock the vault, but you need to buy the Play Set separately.
Here's how many toys you'll need for each Play Set:
Monsters University: Mike, Sully, Randy (3)
Pirates of the Caribbean: Jack Sparrow, Davy Jones, Hector Barbosa (3)
The Incredibles: Mr. Incredible, Mrs. Incredible, Dash, Violet, Syndrome (5)
Cars: Lightning McQueen, Holly Shiftwell, Mater, Francesco (4)
The Lone Ranger: Lone Ranger, Tonto (2)
Monsters University: Progress with the story until you get to the clock tower (roughly northwest of the starting area) -- the vault is on the tower itself. You can get there by flinging yourself over the fence with a prank box.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The vault is at the very beginning of the game. Do the first few tutorial quests until you get your ship, then go northeast of the ship's dock, facing away from the ship.
The Incredibles: This one is in the main city. Go to the bridge that's near the north side, near your headquarters (the building with the giant statue). The vault is on top of a building slightly west if you're facing away from the HQ, across the bridge to the city.
Cars: As soon as you start the map, you should be pointing towards a giant mountain range (one off to the right side -- not the big mountain in the center). Go under the mountain and into the caverns to find it. If you're lost, it's northeast of Luigi's in Radiator Springs.
The Lone Ranger: This vault is near the town of Colby. Face the train station, then head directly west to find it attached to a mountain range wall. This is the only vault in the game that only needs two characters to open, and can be opened within the confines of one Play Set pack. It's also the most fun campaign in the game.
Spinning for pieces in Toy Box:
By completing tasks in Play Sets you'll earn "Infinity Tokens," which earn you spins in the Toy Box for more extras like Pride Rock or Scrooge McDuck's Money Bin. You can find this contraption at the Disney Infinity home base, under the yellow icon.
My suggestion is to get at least 16 tokens, and shuffle the board until you find a piece you really want (like the Cave of Wonders for example) -- then, randomly spin until you get that piece, even if it takes you the entire board. As long as you don't shuffle the board, it won't switch the pieces around.
So what's coming next?
The only Play Set that's currently confirmed is the "Toy Story in Space" set (which will most likely be priced at $34.99), which contains Buzz, Jesse, and the Toy Story campaign. You can buy Woody separately to use in this set. The "Frozen" pack is also coming later this year, and will contain the characters Anna and Elsa (no Play Set) as well as two unique Power Discs.
Individual characters for Series 2 are coming from October on, including Jack Skellington, Rapunzel, Wreck-It Ralph, Vanellope von Schweetz, Phineas, Perry, and Sorcerer's Apprentice Mickey. As of the time of this writing, the individual characters for Series 2 will not have their own Play Sets/campaigns -- meaning, they have to be used in the Toy Box.
You may have seen a Sorcerer's Apprentice Mickey toy floating around online for $200 -- this is a special character given out at Disney's 2013 D23 Expo. It will arrive eventually as a Series 2 or Series 3 figure in the future.