The gameplay in Disney Universe most closely resembles that of Traveller's Tales' LEGO games or even LittleBigPlanet, with a few notable additions. Up to four players can don costumes of their favorite Disney characters and battle to save the virtual world of Disney Universe. Platforming, puzzles, and collecting are all here, but the most interesting thing I saw was the enemies.
They look like your standard cartoony bad guys, and they run up and attack you just like you'd expect, but they also try to make your life difficult in a number of other ways. These enemies actively build obstacles and set traps throughout the levels as you're playing. They'll track down items you need and attempt to hide them or destroy them. During my demo I saw one enemy break off from a larger pack to lay down a row of spikes in a tricky platforming area set amongst racing groups of doors from Monsters Inc.
But you've got plenty of tools in your arsenal to mess with them as well. Each costume you wear has a different main weapon that can be leveled up as you accomplish certain goals. You can also grab weapons from enemies, and pick up the enemies themselves and throw them off ledges or swing them around. In the Alice in Wonderland-themed level that I saw, the enemies were equipped with the flamingos that were used to play croquet in the film. It was fun to grab the flamingo and fling the enemy back and forth as he attempted to hang onto it.
Disney Universe is set to launch with levels from six different properties, and more will be released via DLC afterward. Disney is approaching this game as ongoing world, making the DLC feel less like an add-on and more like an extension of the original retail release. Costumes in the game will include the aforementioned properties as well as Tron, Lilo & Stitch, and others Disney hasn't chosen to disclose yet.
What's the Deal with the Costumes?
The costumes are actually a clever workaround to avoid a licensing nightmare. Most of the character creators would never allow their characters to appear outside their own worlds. Playing as a random avatar wearing a costume of a character eliminates that problem because it's not actually the character doing the actions.
Which Disney Franchises Are Included?
Below is the list of franchises that have been confirmed to be either levels or costumes. We'll update this list as we learn more.
Alice in Wonderland (the Tim Burton version)
Lilo & Stitch
The Lion King