- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 6, 2015

Children connect to a massive, cartoony universe in Disney Infinity 3.0, Star Wars: Twilight of the Republic Starter Pack(Disney Interactive Studios and Avalanche Software, Rated: E 10+, $64.99) to virtually play character-driven adventures that mix real-world collectible statues with third-person, video-game action.

The core game offers a stand-alone adventure tied to the starter pack and specific figures.  while the robust Toy Box mode allows a player to build his own challenges with any of the Infinity figures.

The player can add toys, items, vehicles and locations or enjoy an assortment of activities such as farming, building theme park rides and creating music.

That Toy Box mode also includes access to other online players’ challenges and plenty of mini-games to compete with other Infinity fans across the galaxy.

For this playset, an owner places figures of Anakin Skywalker and apprentice Ahsoka Tano on a base plugged into the PS4 USB port and goes on missions set in the “Clone Wars” period of “Star Wars” canon.

His avatars will visit such familiar locations — such as Geonosis, Coruscant, Tatooine and Naboo — while mastering Force and lightsaber skills to defeat General Grievous and Darth Maul.

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Overall, with roughly 3-inch-tall versions of many classic Disney characters, Marvel Comics superstars and, now, “Star Wars” legends available to use in the playsets, Disney Infinity is an ever-expanding pop-culture powerhouse and a perfect gaming choice for the youngsters.

Action enhancing gadgets or extras: The Republic playset includes the game’s PS4 disc; beautifully sculpted, softer plastic statue versions of Anakin and Ahsoka; a translucent play piece to initialize the adventure; and the Infinity Base to place all of the items upon to activate the customized action.

More important, owners and gift-givers have numerous possibilities to extend or evolve these play experiences.

They can include more statues (over 100 available at $13.99 to $14.99 each) such as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda, for the core Republic adventure; or add stalwarts such as Mickey Mouse, Mulan, Disgust from “Inside Out,” Olaf from “Frozen,” Quorra from “Tron Legacy” or Captain America from “The Avengers” into the Toy Box mix.

It’s worth noting that these statues look great on a bedroom shelf or display case and are not articulated action figures.

They can also add the “Twilight of the Republic Power Disc Pack” ($9.99), hexagonal pieces on the base to assist in-game characters (Jedi Knight Mace Windu jumps into battle), unlock cool vehicles (General Grievous’ bike) and even turn a Toy Box location into the forest of Felucia.

Furthermore, they can purchase the “Toy Box Takeover” piece ($19.99), allowing the use of any statue in boss battle missions. Syndrome, the bad guy in “The Incredibles,” can unleash villains such as Darth Vader and Venom to wreak havoc in the Disney Infinity universe.

Finally, more adventures exist with additional playset packages featuring two characters and an unlock piece ($34.99 each). Current offering range from “Inside Out” (with Joy and Anger figures), “Star Wars: Rise Against the Empire” (with Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia figures), and arriving in mid-December, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (with Rey and Finn figures).

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