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Disney Mirrorverse

Disney Mirrorverse

Iconic Disney classics join forces to fight the darkness in Disney's latest take on the multiverse concept.

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At a time when all manner of franchises are lining up to have their characters interwoven with stories and characters from other universes, Disney's own gallery of iconic personalities stands up strongly to the competition, and all it really takes is the will to pull the strings to make it happen. In fact, they've even been doing it for over 20 years already and I look back fondly on journeys I've had with Sora, Donald, Goofy, Aladdin, Peter Pan and Jack Skellington (to name but a few) in the wonderful worlds of the Kingdom Hearts series. Having now spent a number of hours with Disney's latest mobile multiverse game, Mirrorverse, my mind often wanders to memories of Square Enix's classic crossover, making it clear where the developers at Kabam drew much of their inspiration from.

Stepping into the Disney Mirrorverse is a strangely familiar experience, not without nostalgic pleasure for me as a long-time fan of Kingdom Hearts over the years. The style could be drawn from Square Enix's interpretation of Disney's legacy, albeit slightly modified to better fit the context of a multiverse where it's alternate versions of the most classic characters we encounter. This is where the Mirrorverse derives most of its charm. The characters. Because at its core, it's little more than another half-baked role-playing game for iOS and Android that plays almost exactly the same way as Echoes of Mana, for example, but the creativity put into creating hard-boiled warrior versions of my childhood's most beloved heroes and villains means that Mirrorverse continues to appeal long after I've grown tired of how the adventure actually plays. Because once I've got the hang of the simple mechanics and understand the game's basics, there's not much more to discover.

Disney Mirrorverse
The Disney classic Fantasia is the basis for Mickey Mouse's outfit...
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Disney MirrorverseDisney Mirrorverse
The Mirrorverse is simple. Simple but charming...

To put it briefly, my champions are divided into four different classes: melee, ranged, tank and support. In addition to these, all champions, or Guardians as they are also known, have their own personal skills and special attacks that can be upgraded and modified in small increments after enough skill points have been earned. When it comes time for battle, each is equipped with a standard, usually fast attack and a heavier counterpart, as well as a special ability that varies slightly by class. From those basics, your team of three chosen Disney warriors is thrown into a short series of clashes with the game's main cannon fodder called "Fractured". It's a simple setup, as I said, whose innovative qualities are really basic, but as I unlock new Guardians, Mirrorverse still maintains a steady, if not very strong, grip on my attention. Unfortunately, it quickly becomes tedious to go through the same type of clash over and over again, something the developers were evidently well aware of when they included the option to put my champions on autopilot and let me spend time on something else instead. Insightful of them, and sustainable as the Mirrorverse's difficulty increases.

The story, too, seems to draw much of its basic inspiration from Kingdom Hearts because, as in Sora's first adventure, the fairy Maleficent is presented as one of the big villains in the Mirrorverse as well. The enemy character "the Fractured" also shares this with his shadowy appearance, a great similarity to the "heartless" counterpart from Kingdom Hearts and therefore it also become a bit nostalgic at times. The narrative itself also lacks its own identity and, apart from the usual "hole-in-barriers-between-universes" set-up, relies mainly, once again, on the iconic cast of characters that Mirrorverse nevertheless offers. Despite the game itself being built on an extremely mediocre foundation, it's still a titillating delight for the child in me to see a winged Icarus interpretation of Hercules fighting side-by-side with gunslinger-Woody and Heroes of the Air Baloo taking chunks out of his opponents armed with the remains of his beloved old seaplane.

Disney Mirrorverse
Avengers, assemble!
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Disney MirrorverseDisney Mirrorverse
Purple is a recurring colour theme...

From a technical perspective, Mirrorverse flows really well and even though the frame rate drops on a few occasions when there are too many effects on the screen at once, it's never a hindrance. Additionally, load times are very short and menus are optimised to make it easy to get started quickly at the beginning of a session. The sound is also surprisingly good, and the orchestra in particular does an impressive job of conveying the feeling of a grand adventure against the dark forces of the Mirrorverse. However, the music also becomes increasingly tiresome the more I play as the variation in the soundtrack is just as small as it is in the game's action moments.

Personally, I've always been and probably always will be wholeheartedly against playing using a mobile phone's touchscreen, and I've held a grudge against digital analogue sticks in particular because of the same uncomfortable feeling I get when dragging my fingers across a screen. The feeling is also present when I play Mirrorverse but on a slightly smaller scale because where I would otherwise manoeuvre my characters with the integrated joystick, I instead have the choice to make a sweeping manoeuvre with my finger for my Guardian to perform a dash in any direction, which also works really well as a dodge in the heat of battle.

Disney Mirrorverse
Sometimes we are met by evil shadow versions of the Disney characters...
Disney MirrorverseDisney Mirrorverse

True to the free-to-play habit, we can't escape the long, crooked claws of microtransactions this time either. In Mirrorverse, I'm often tempted to open my wallet with offers of new heroes at higher levels than those I usually collect, along with a number of other smaller items that in one way or another speed up the development of my already recruited warriors. As the game's difficulty eventually catches up with me, it becomes increasingly clear that I'm likely to have to spend more time than I'd like grinding in one of Mirrorverse's less enticing side quests. If I don't want to do that, I can cough up some cash to make the process shorter. If I choose the grind route, however, even then I'm made to suffer because of the small lightning-shaped currency required to start a mission. If it runs out, I have to wait for it to recharge, or use consumables to replenish my energy bank, which of course can also be conjured up by my wallet's miraculous abilities.

Gameplay-wise, Mirrorverse sadly leaves no lasting impression on me, but what I do take away is the creative freedom Disney and Kabam have taken to reinterpret their most beloved characters to work in slightly harder action contexts. For where the game itself leaves much to be desired in terms of game depth and a real driving force for me to want to keep fighting on, the graphical style and character design raises a hope of perhaps visiting a similar multiverse in a more ambitious title with well-written story and rewarding gameplay. That's a lot to hope for from a company as usually entrenched as Disney, but in Mirrorverse at least a small part of the groundwork has been laid. Time will tell.

06 Gamereactor UK
6 / 10
Exciting reinterpretations of classic Disney characters. Nostalgia-inducing. Stylish.
Monotonous. Repetitive. Boring in the long run. Micro-transactions. Wasted potential. No voice acting.
overall score
is our network score. What's yours? The network score is the average of every country's score

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