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Disney Multiverse Fun Hampered by Aggressive Sales

The new mobile game Disney’s Mirror Universe offers a pleasingly deep mobile RPG game with plenty of different game modes and options to keep players busy, but suffers from high-pressure sales tactics that constantly push players to buy premium packs and items even when they’re not needed. Published by Kabam, the creator of mobile hits like Marvel: Contest of Champions and The Lord of the Rings: Legends of Middle-earth, Disney Mirrorverse brings players into a divergent Disney multiverse in which classic characters like Mickey, Belle and Maleficent are reimagined as more powerful combat characters. Players will form a team of up to three characters and pit them against waves of enemies, while upgrading their characters with better abilities and powers and trying to dodge an endless barrage of pop-ups encouraging players to spend money. money on a plethora of in-game items.

The biggest draw of Disney’s Mirror Universe is the inventive way beloved Disney characters are reimagined as battle-tested warriors. Each design brings aspects of an individual character’s stories and uses those aspects to give characters unique powers. For example, Merida from Brave has a wisp-powered bow that creates a focus buff and powers his Bear Spirit special attack. Meanwhile, Sully is equipped with industrial-grade armor with a gate shield which he uses to fend off enemies and protect his teammates. Each character is placed into one of four character classes – Attack, Ranged, Support, or Tank – which determine their overall stats. Players can slowly level up their characters through normal gameplay, or they can use XP motes (each tied to a different class) to quickly increase their powers. The designs are admittedly very cool and involve characters from all corners of the Disney catalog. Popular characters like Buzz Lightyear and Mickey appear, but also characters like Frank de Jungle Cruise (with a plant arm) and Tron du tron movies.

Disney’s Mirror Universe is a gacha game in which players collect crystals that generate random characters. Unlike most gacha games, where players are less likely to collect powerful characters, Disney’s Mirror Universe players have about the same chance of collecting all 45 characters. However, most crystals will produce 1-star or 2-star versions of characters, which have lower stats, a lower level cap, and don’t have access to special base abilities. By collecting duplicates of their Disney characters, players automatically upgrade their characters to have more stars, thereby unlocking more abilities and automatically making them more powerful. It’s a new take on the gacha format, which should appeal to those with a collector’s mentality, but may frustrate those who can never get enough resources to upgrade their main characters to a higher star level.

The actual gameplay involves players controlling a character while battling waves of enemies. Players have three attacks – a fast attack which they use by pressing their attack button, a slightly stronger charged attack (which sometimes has additional powers if their character is strong enough) which they use by holding the button pressed attack and a special move that comes with a cooldown but has a variety of effects depending on the character. A player’s other characters operate independently, but players can still control when they use their respective special attacks. Players can also move their character around the stage via a fairly fiddly and not always responsive control dial.

There are a handful of different game modes to keep players busy. Story mode takes players on a rather generically written quest to solve why the Disney Mirrorverse is being attacked by “fractured” versions, dark shadows of existing characters. Players can also choose to complete a rogue-like dungeon to collect buffs and items or events that offer limited-time currency and rewards, or supply runs to earn diamonds and motes XP. However, all of the different modes still involve the same combat-focused gameplay with very little variation outside of the boss character you end up facing. It gets monotonous in a hurry, which is why the “Autoplay” feature is unlocked quite quickly in the story.

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The other major problem with Disney’s Mirror Universe is its aggressive monetization system. Disney’s Mirror Universe is a free game, but players will constantly encounter pop-up menus encouraging them to spend money. Popups happen everywhere – between levels, when switching between screens, and when viewing notifications. I understand that free games also need to earn money, but the system makes it seem like players HAVE to purchase these items if they want to make any real progress, which is simply not true.

If Kabam can figure out how to alleviate their constant demands for money and also offer players more variation in actual gameplay, they can have a hit on their hands with Disney’s Mirror Universe. The characters are certainly cool and I’d love to see the world expand to include more stories over time. However, due to the constant barrage of in-game ads, I would definitely not recommend this game for kids, despite its use of beloved characters.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

A beta version of Disney Mirrorverse has been provided for review with a number of premium items designed to help the reviewer progress quickly into the middle of the game.