So as expected I got into Disney Infinity. I figured I'd write a guide on how/what to buy and how to save money.
Disney Infinity is a game based around small figurines much like Skylanders. The main difference however is Infinity is split between an open world, anything goes toybox mode and playsets which are themed game worlds based on a specific property. You can use any character in the toybox mode but characters are restricted to their specific property in the playset mode. This means you can't use Incredibles in the Cars playset mode and so on. If you want multiplayer in a playset you need the additional player to use a character from the correct Disney property.
With Infinity you get a portal which you can load playsets, characters and powerdiscs on. Characters are self explanatory. You take the persona of whatever character you use. The playset pieces are the clear pieces and they give you access to roughly 4-6 hour games that act much like DLC. The initial release has Monsters U, Pirates of the Carribean, The Incredibles, Cars, and The Lone Ranger playsets. Each is a unique game with different mechanics. Monsters U is stealth based platforming, Cars is racing (duh), Incredibles is kind of like GTA open world, and Pirates is a hack n slash. All have multiple quests, loot to be used in toxbox mode and more. Honestly I'm pretty impressed by it. The difficulty is around that of a LEGO game. The power discs come in random 2 packs and are either texture packs for toybox mode, accessories (guns, canes etc), powerups (bonus money, exp, health, etc), and vehicles. Each series (there will be at least 3) has a few holographic rare discs as well. Up to 3 discs can be used in any slot at any time.
Now on to the buying part. On release the best deals for the starter set was $60 at most major retailers. On Sept 7th TRU will have a swap event with a coupon for $20 off making it $55. The starter will get you a portal, Sully, Mr Incredible, and Cpt Jack Sparrow, all 3 playsets for those properties, and a single random power disc. I'm not 100% on trophies but I believe as long as you get the right disc you can possibly plat without other purchases. I'll have to verify this.
You can buy individual characters and character 3 packs. The first character 3 packs have one character for each playset in the start set allowing for multiplayer on one purchase. So far a villains and heroes set have been released. These retail for $30 but Walmart was selling at $15 and that's probably still the best price so far. Individual characters include those in the 3 packs and 4 additional ones. The only real "need" for extra characters are unlockables in game for challenges and things to use in the toybox mode. These retail for $13 and the best price so far has been Buy 1 Get 1 50% at TRU and 2 for $22 are TRU. Target is rumored to have these on sale for Buy 2 Get 1 free at the beginning of September.
There are two "DLC" playset packs currently released, Lone Ranger, and Cars. Each comes with the playset piece and 2 characters (so you don't need more for multiplayer). These retail for $35 but the best price so far was Target at release for $17 each.
The powerdiscs retail for $5 a pack but are random. There are 21 discs so far with one exclusive to the gold packaged TRU pack. It is guaranteed to get the hologram however so you only need one. The best price so far was at release when TRU sold these for Buy 1 Get 1 for $1. There is a trick to these however. If you take them home you can scan them with your portal through the packaging to make sure you aren't getting duplicates. Then just return what you don't want. You do have to have these on the portal to actually use them so even though it says unlocked you don't get them without keeping the disc. The other trick is for finding the holograms without having to first purchase them to test. The portals at stores are locked and won't tell which disc (they got smart about it :-P) but the holograms are lenticular which means you can feel them through the bag with your fingernail. Holo's are very rare and sell well on Ebay ($10-$15 currently) so you can try and fund your other purchases through resale the easiest with these.
They plan at least 3 waves of releases with some cool stuff:
These characters and most likely their own playsets
Tron skins for toybox - TRU exclusive
X-men and Star Wars (these will bankrupt me)
More classic characters