In Case You Missed It: Toy Story 3

By Mark Delaney,
About a year ago, Disney Interactive announced the sad news that they would be permanently halting production and support for their toys-to-life hit, Disney Infinity. The series spawned three unique games and a number of character and content packs too high for some of its target demographic to count. Its stoppage felt sudden and really disheartened the community of fans who poured a lot of time into the series' special Toy Box mode. In it, users could create their own tools to build worlds for players around the world to explore. Some truly awesome creations came out of that mode and it was really the main draw of the series for its short lived stint atop the toys-to-life market.

It might surprise some of those Infinity fans to know that their taken-too-soon franchise was not the progenitor of the Toy Box. For that, you'd need to look a few years earlier to 2010's Toy Story 3. Pixar's crown jewel spawned yet another movie tie-in game but try not to audibly groan at the phrase; Toy Story 3 is one of the best such games and a likely favorite for kids and kids-at-heart alike.

toy story 1

The Basics

Toy Story 3 is a third-person action-adventure platforming game that allows players to take control of its three main characters, Woody, Buzz, and Jessie. Across several levels that follow the plot of the film (with plenty of predicaments unique to the game, too) you'll guide the denizens of Andy's toy box to seek adventure, safety, comfort, and eventually a lesson learned — the usual but exceptional Pixar fare. Some levels will ask you to switch among the three characters and use their special traits in certain combinations to solve puzzles, while others are designed with specific characters in mind, like an attempted train heist starring Andy's original hero, Sheriff Woody.

The story mode is par for the movie tie-in course, one might say. It's made up of fun platforming, lots of movie references, and most of the original voice actors. Tom Hanks' brother Jim plays Woody in games — yes, really. It feels like a worthwhile if run-of-the-mill companion to the movie. It'll delight fans of the franchise for certain, but it doesn't break the mold by any means.

The Hook

If it so far sounds like Toy Story 3 is deservedly forgotten, keep reading. Avalanche Software (not that Avalanche) has produced several Disney movie tie-ins and despite the story mode's familiarity, none of them quite live up to the level of love they put into Toy Story 3. When Avalanche met with Pixar to discuss what kind of game they produce with the animation studios' license, they offered two ideas: a traditional tie-in that hits on story beats of the film itself, or an open world experience unlike any other games created to run alongside movies. Pixar couldn't choose and recommended they pursue both. Thus, Toy Story 3 is the game that quite appropriately introduced Toy Box mode. It may be missing some of the figurative and literal bells and whistles of the Infinity series, but its place as the one that started it all is deserving of both respect and play time of its own.

Like the later Toy Box modes it inspired, Toy Story 3's creation tool lets players organize towns, create mini-games, take part in structured events and side missions, or simply run around with their own childlike, whimsical volition. Although this Toy Box stays mostly within the IP's framework, plenty of other Disney and Pixar characters and settings make frequent appearances within the open world. You can dress up townspeople like famous faces from Finding Nemo, Aladdin, The Incredibles, and many more. You can also visit sections of the hub world that carry different aesthetics, like farmland, a Halloween town, or a fantasy realm. There are tools to alter the characters' physical properties and even racing modes that let you test your speed on Bullseye or various vehicles.

The original Toy Box set the standard for later iterations to follow. It inspires cooperation, friendly rivalry, and endless creativity, all of which for a child can be illuminating.

toy story 1Your kids — and you — will enjoy chasing down these sniveling bandits and throwing them in jail.

If you're like me, you may feel that Toy Story is the greatest children's franchise in the history of movies. I wouldn't call you hyperbolic for saying such a thing and I think many would agree. That's why it was and remains so refreshing to see that the series' latest was given a tie-in game that is deserving of the IP. It makes me excited to see what they do for Toy Story 4 in a few years.

The Trophies

Toy Story 3's 39 trophies won't demand a time-sink. A completion will come within roughly 15-20 hours. Because it didn't totally rewrite the DNA of a tie-in title, it does offer plenty of collectibles. If you just want to mess around with it and not worry about a completion, you're still likely to get a decent chunk of the unlocks. That's how I played and finished with 25/39 trophies.

The Stats

To date, about 1,500 gamers on TT have started the game, with over 500 completing it, or 35%. It should come as no surprise that there's nothing overly difficult to be hurdled in Toy Story 3. Those who stick around for the collectibles are those that usually go on to finish it off. It's something I too hope to do later this year as a huge fan of the IP. It sits at a respectable 3.7/5 from 62 TrueTrophies voters with a similar 78 rating on 43 reviews.

toy story 1Little light bulb that blinks, meet little race car that beeps.

The Verdict

When THQ and other middle tier publishers started to disappear, we lost a lot of these sorts of movie tie-ins. Good riddance most may say, but it's not always the case that we are better off never having played them. Toy Story 3 is an example of a game that defied trends, tried something special, and left its mark on the industry. We see shades of Avalanche's 2010 tie-in every time we jump back into Disney Infinity's Toy Box, and even if its story mode doesn't blaze new trails, it's still a fun romp through one of the best imaginary worlds ever created for kids and their families. If you have children of your own, or even if you're just a kid at heart, there's something to be experienced and adored with Toy Story 3.
Mark Delaney
Written by Mark Delaney
Mark has been gaming for over two decades and writing for the TrueGaming Network since 2011. He greatly prefers single-player to online modes, but is always taking challengers in Rocket League and Madden. Aside from games, he loves sci-fi, NFL football (go Titans), and biking. He'll be disappointed when The Last of Us 2 is announced.
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