Well the day finally arrived. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to playing a game that finally put my favorite childhood characters into frenzied hand-to-hand combat situations. And I’m certain that I’m not alone. But in preparing for this Disney Mirrorverse review, I had to put aside the rose-tinted spectacles and ask whether this Disney app game offers that replayability factor.
Players collect a roster of characters (called Guardians in Mirrorverse or Champions in Contest) that can range in quality from one to six stars. These are obtained through crystals and are spat out at random, with their quality depending on the kind of crystal used.
These Guardians, which can be upgraded as the game progresses, can then be sent into glorious battle against some AI bad guys or one another.
The immediate selling point is obvious. It’s the Disney crossover event we didn’t know we needed. But the real question is whether Disney Mirrorverse is more than a character collection game.
The Disney Mirrorverse Plot
Disney Mirrorverse takes place in an alternate universe found, unsurprisingly, on the other side of a mirror. Except, unlike what I tend to see when looking in the mirror, what’s on the other side is infinitely cooler.
Multiple IPs collide (quite literally) as heroes and villains join forces to take down a common enemy. In this action-packed realm, a cavalcade of suped-up Disney & Pixar characters attempt to stave off a multidimensional invasion from a purple-hued enemy known as Fractured.
And while the Fractured cannon fodder typically take the form of villainous bipedal animals, the ‘bosses’ are instead corrupted versions of the Mirrorverse Guardians themselves. I personally never thought Goofy could look intimidating until he strutted out of a fractured mirror with scowling eyes aglow, ready to hyuck my team up with his giant boomerang.
The story is obviously aimed at a younger audience, with some hammy yet entertaining text-based interactions between the likes of Jack Sparrow and Sully. Thankfully, the ‘main characters’ of the story mode do not limit which Guardians you choose to throw-down within the staged arenas.
Outside of the story mode, however, are Events, which follow standalone adventures of other characters such as Buzz and Tron as they face-off against Zurg and travel back in time. Yeah, things get pretty crazy. These are more character-specific adventures that will see players tackle battles as a single Guardian, and frankly they felt a little more compelling than the main event.
The Disney Mirrorverse Gameplay
There’s really only one gameplay loop in this Disney app game, and it gets repetitive pretty quickly. All game modes revolve around bippity-boppity-beating your enemies to a pulp with a team of up to three Guardians in a series of stages that end with a boss – the aforementioned Fractured versions of our heroes.
Before long, the aim of the game becomes abundantly clear: play through one of the five game modes to collect XP Motes, which can then be used to level up your Guardians. Each battle comes with a recommended power level which your Guardians should match or exceed in order to stand a chance of earning a three-star victory and reaping all the available rewards. Which typically comprise more XP Motes and Gold. Gold for the record, is also used to rank up Guardians.
The game modes include Story, Supply Runs, Tower, Events and Dungeons. Each mode offers something slightly different, with bonuses for using specific Guardians, or different rewards that change over time. But when push comes to shove: it’s rinse and repeat.
Eventually, players will find themselves periodically opening up the game, auto-completing Supply Runs for those XP Motes, and waiting until their Stamina is replenished to do the same again.
There is a genuine sense of achievement to be had in upgrading Mirrorverse Guardians, however, as each one boasts a specific set of skills that are unlocked the more they are upgraded. There is an element of tactical gameplay that can change depending on which Guardian is used, with various AOE effects, buffs, debuffs or healing moves that can change the tide of battle if wielded correctly.
The Disney Mirrorverse Controls
The battles are pretty simple. Players will control one character as the hapless AI takes the wheel on the other two, unless playing with an Alliance of IRL players. Button mashing then ensues as you unleash a basic attack or special abilities which have cooldown times, move around with the left ‘thumbstick’ or swipe to dodge attacks.
Maintaining control of the battlefield, however, is quite difficult. Each skirmish more often than not ends up in free-for-all brawls. Keeping abreast of the action is hindered by the needlessly tight camera angle, which is always too zoomed-in to figure out where the biggest threat is or why Baymax is losing health like he just got a puncture.
There is also the option to run each battle in autoplay mode. This initially seems to take the fun out of the game, but players will quickly realize that, aside from perfecting the skills of their team, the real fun is in collecting the Mirrorverse Guardians themselves.
The Disney Mirrorverse Guardians
I’m sure that any Disney Mirrorverse review would agree that the Guardians are the best aspect of the Disney app game. And while it feels as though the rest of the game was built around this charismatic cast of characters, that’s almost OK with me.
A waistcoat wearing Oogie Boogie who swings a dice flail and spiked roulette wheel shield, a Gaston who wears the pelt of a black wolf and wields a crossbow made of animal bones, and a tanky armor-clad Donald Duck who uses a mechanical anchor like a pickaxe are among my favorite and most original designs in the current roster. But it is almost impossibly hard to choose between them.
Which is why the process of collecting and upgrading these heroes is probably more enjoyable than the battles. Whoever was behind de-Disneyfying these once innocent characters deserves a bonus. Preferably one shot from Scrooge McDuck’s coin-spitting gun.
Each Guardian embodies one of four classes – Tank, Ranged, Melee or Support. Anyone familiar with the holy trinity of MMOs will be familiar with this setup. Beyond these classes are ‘traits’ such as Seafaring, Leader and Scary. However it’s unclear whether these will have any effect on the mechanics beyond being Tower mode categories.
It is because of the Guardians that I still feel compelled to pick the game up. Given the sheer number of Disney characters that are yet to be included, a similar model to Contest of Champions will no doubt be implemented by Kabam in which new Guardians will be introduced to this Disney app game on a regular basis.
And you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be picking the game back up each time to see what weird and wonderful things they have done to the Mirroverse versions of Rafiki and Quasimodo when the time comes. Talking of bottom dollars…
The Disney Mirrorverse Shop
The bombardment of special offers and bundles when firing up the game for the first time are annoying, but not surprising. And it’s no Diablo Immortal.
Disney Mirrorverse can easily be played for free, with the ability to fully rank-up a character without spending a penny compounded by a system in which duplicate Guardians will contribute to the total star-rating of your original. Playing regularly will ensure a steady flow of orbs (the in-game currency) and crystals with which to roll for new Guardians.
But even if you were to decide to spend a little, the prices are reasonable and rewarding, with special offers that feel worth the price.
Did Disney Mirrorverse make my dreams come true? Meh, kind of. The Mirrorverse Guardians themselves deserve utmost praise for their unique designs and abilities. Beyond that, however, the game feels slightly unfinished.
Arenas look the same. The battles are the same. The boardgame-style overworld is uninspiring. And it doesn’t take long to realize that there isn’t a shred of voice acting, making every interaction feel like it’s missing something (I want to hear the robotic voice of Mega Zurg, damn it).
But as I eagerly await the next update for the new Guardians it will bring, I can also hold out hope that the team behind Disney Mirrorverse review the game’s potential to offer something fresh. A new mode with new mechanics would be a start. But even the option to customize Mirrorverse Guardians would give me another reason to play and try new builds with my favorite heroes.
Until then, however, Disney Mirrorverse can’t rely on its Guardians alone to keep this Disney Mirrorverse review from awarding it more than a 6/10.
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