Disney Mirrorverse Review – Shattered Dreams


At first glance, Disney Mirrorverse looks and sounds like a child making up a story on the fly with action figures. Characters from across Disney’s catalog – heroes and villains – come together to battle a malevolent force that threatens all of reality. These characters aren’t the usual themselves, swapping their kids’ movie characters for something with a little more edge. It’s a bold and interesting choice, something never seen before from this group of characters, and the mere existence of this world is an exciting prospect. Unfortunately, Mirrorverse’s audacity comes at a cost, literally, as the idea is buried beneath crystal-clear loot boxes, microtransactions, and convoluted progression. What could have been a whole new world for Disney is actually just the latest mundane mobile game.

Disney Mirrorverse is an action-RPG set in the titular Mirrorverse, where enemies called Fractured grow in power. You take on these hordes with teams of three heroes called Guardians, chosen from the 44 characters that make up the roster. Each of the 44 fulfills one of four archetypes, Melee, Ranged, Support, and Tank, which indicates how they fight. These classes are standard fare: Melee Guardians use swords and other handheld weapons, ranged heroes rely on magic and projectiles, tanks stay facing the enemy while soaking up damage, and supports heal teammates, debuff enemies, and more. You get new Guardians through Crystals – the Mirrorverse’s version of loot boxes that are both earned through gameplay and purchased with in-game and real-world currency. Crystals come in several forms, some highlighting specific Guardians or guaranteeing specific ranks, and are unlocked with typical loot box theatrics through the in-game store.

As a lifelong Disney fan, I can’t stress enough how cool it is to see these characters in this new light. Belle from Beauty and the Beast emerges from the library as a powerful mage, wielding a staff powered by the magic rose itself. His villainous counterpart, Gaston, went full Game of Thrones with his massive bow and shoulder-spanning wolf skin. Adorable Baloo Bear dons his Disney Afternoon-era TaleSpin outfit and uses a giant airplane propeller as a broadsword. Not all characters get such groundbreaking designs – Elsa is an elemental who controls ice, for example – but even those who don’t stray that far from the source have their charms.

There are several modes in which to send these heroes into battle, the main one being the gigantic Story mode. The story spans seven chapters, each with, at a minimum, 10 stages of enemies to conquer. You attack by pressing the corresponding buttons in the lower right corner of the screen – basic attack by pressing, strong attack by pressing and ultimate attack by pressing it once activated. You can also move with the joystick appearing in the bottom left – which can be flicked for a quick dash – and can switch between each of your three Guardians on the fly by tapping on their images in the top left. The attack buttons worked smoothly, even switching between tapping and pressing the standard button, but I struggled a lot with flick-to-dash functionality. Most of the time when I was swooping, the Guardian I was controlling would take a small step rather than dash, which often resulted in damage from the attack I was trying to avoid. A few times this resulted in the death of that guard, which made the lack of response even more frustrating.

Each stage contains between one and four battles, where the team fights enemies until the last one falls, then automatically advances to the next battle. Only the stage’s final battle has any kind of flair: a brief cutscene featuring a fractured version of a Guardian who acts as the “boss” of the stage. Once Fractured Guardian is conquered, you see a brief victory pose, collect rewards based on how many stars you’ve earned, and proceed to the next stage. There are other formats to explore, including Supply Races, where you can earn one of the game’s nearly infinite currencies, and limited-time events themed around specific Guardians, but this stage structure of base remains consistent throughout.

This is where the Disney magic runs out on Mirrorverse: this is the breadth of the gameplay experience. same way. When the final battle is over, you’ll see the same victory poses, followed by the same rewards screen, then back to the stage selection menu. It’s repetitive to the point of boredom, completely burying any excitement the original concept had created.

All of these currencies are used to buy resources that power the game’s various systems, which range from time-consuming to unnecessarily overly complicated.

There is, however, a mode that almost saves the day: 1v1 Showdown. This pits one of your Guardians against a single AI-fractured Guardian over 30 stages, with enemies increasing in power with each stage. While the main three-way battle system can fill the action screen at times, these 1v1 battles are more focused and tense. I get a “no items, final destination” vibe from these challenges, as the mode distills the combat system into its purest form. Matches go by quickly, which means before you know it, you’re at the end of the 30-step gauntlet, but it’s fun while it lasts.

However, most of your time playing the Mirrorverse is spent in the menus, doing everything but fighting: collecting quest rewards, buying and opening crystals to earn new Guardians, sifting through the multiple currencies of Mirrorverse, etc I’ve counted eight different types of currency that are only used in the in-game store, and while most of them are earned by playing the game, orbs – which are used to buy the crystals that unlock Guardians – can be bought wholesale with real money. The shop offers bundles of currencies, resources, and even Guardians, which it will continually remind you of as you go through the menus.

All of these currencies are used to buy resources that power the game’s various systems, which range from lengthy to unnecessarily overly complicated. Take Motes, the resources used to level up Guardians. Particles come in five colors, one for each of the four classes and a fifth that can be used for any class. They also come in three varieties: Minor, which can only be used for Guardians at levels 1-20, Major for Guardians at levels 21-50, and Superior for Guardians at levels 51-100. 15 different types of an item that is crucial for your progress. Additionally, every 10 levels you must also increase your Guardian’s “rank”, which requires additional items called Gems, which, again, come in color-coded and generic versions. Oh, and you’ll need Books to improve each Guardian’s individual skills, and there are also six different types of Books to collect.

All of these complicated systems create a situation where progress is halted until the in-game store adds the resources I need to continue. For example: my main group is Tron, Elsa and Maui. Tron and Elsa are both ranged guardians, but at level 26 and 25, respectively, I can’t power them, as I only have minor ranged particles. Maui, meanwhile, is stuck at level 30 while I search for two more level 1 sapphires to increase his rank to four. It’s infuriating, even more so when I think about how great the basic idea of ​​Mirrorverse is, and it makes me want to play something else.

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Energy – a classic mobile game trope where you can play a finite number of missions until you’re forced to wait a certain amount of time to play again or pay to speed up the process – also makes an appearance, but j I was able to gain more energy than the meter suggested, so the normally restrictive nature of the mechanic wasn’t as apparent. At one point, my energy meter showed that I had 84 energy out of 40 after increasing my count; while i was happy for the overflow, it eventually subsided and i was back to the waiting game.

I could go on and on, but Mirrorverse is full of predatory tactics like this. They’re tearing up any remaining desire to further explore what is truly a bold and unique take on the Disney universe, which is such a shame. I had hoped that these Guardian versions of the Disney characters I grew up with would have more time to shine and show off their newfound abilities. Instead, I buried myself in resources and currencies, which relegated these amazing heroes to laying on menu screens, and the result is a big disappointment. I look in the Mirrorverse, but I don’t like the reflection.

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