The aesthetic is squint-view LitteBigPlanet, the soundtrack is a mixture of kindergarten chiptunes and sugary tween-pop and the building-block mechanics are lifted from the child-friendly Lego Star Wars. But despite these inspirations, Disney Universe also boasts one of the darkest premises in Disney's repertoire.
Employees at one of the corporation's theme parks - the cast members that deliver the dream day out for tiny children - have run amok. Rather than embodying all that is innocent and wonderful about childhood heroes, the employees have started attacking visitors. Paragons of security and cheerfulness have become malevolent dangers.
It's the stuff of true child nightmares; the edges of this story of broken trust are only softened only by the fact that the theme park is a 'virtual' Disneyland rather than a real one, and the employees aren't people but 'cast bots'. Even so, it's a dark heart at the core of an otherwise relentlessly saccharine game, one that delivers players into the world of six of Disney's most treasured properties: Aladdin, Alice in Wonderland, The Lion King, Pirates of the Caribbean, Monsters, Inc., and WALL-E.
Disney Universe launches in the UK on 28th October, Disney Interactive has confirmed to Eurogamer.
Disney Universe is a four-player co-op action-adventure game that rekindles memories of the Lego series of games. It includes characters from Disney franchises and Pixar films. There's a WALL-E world and everything.
Keza went hands-on for Eurogamer's Disney Universe preview in May. "It's a funny game, Disney Universe, and naturally rather lovable," she wrote.
When we were invited along to see a super-secret project from Disney Interactive, we thought we knew exactly what to expect: a new action adventure based on a forthcoming film property that finally promises to buck the trend of movie tie-in mediocrity, like many well-intentioned games before it (including the immeasurably dismal Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows). But that wasn't what we got.