Disney Mirrorverse is a sleek new contender in the action RPG gacha space, but at the end of the day, it's just that — another gacha game.
- Smooth, polished gameplay
- Solid graphics and fun character designs
- Tons of modes to explore
- Very heavily monetized
- Intentionally grindy to incentive in-app purchases
- Uninspired soundtrack and a cookie-cutter "narrative"
- Repetitive combat
Have you ever thought to yourself, "Kingdom Hearts was kind of neat, but I sure did hate the Final Fantasy stuff and wacky story"? If that’s you, then Disney Mirrorverse might be just the game you’ve been waiting for. Mirrorverse is a new team-based action RPG set in an alternate world where Disney and Pixar characters clash against a shadowy threat known as the Fractured.
This hero collector challenges you to assemble a roster of powerful Guardians — souped-up versions of the Disney characters you know and love — and pit them against the hordes of Fractured threatening to overrun the Mirrorverse. It's like someone made those popular internet posts of re-designed Disney characters into an entire game, and I have no doubt that fans will love the aesthetic.
After playing the game in early access, however, I’m not sure that Disney fans will love the game enough to stick with it in the long run. There are some good ideas at play here, but there are just as many ideas borrowed straight out of the Book of Gacha, like Genshin Impact or Honkai Star Rail, with heavy monetization and incentivized in-app purchases.
Great character designs, addictive gameplay loop
I think Disney Mirrorverse could most accurately be described with just two words: A lot. There’s a lot going on at any given time for players to do and enjoy. For starters, the overall look and feel of the game is excellent. In this alternate universe, characters have been reimagined to fit into more combat-ready molds, which are all rad as heck.
Snow White can lead your team into battle wielding her giant pickaxe, Tinkerbell can project and command a giant, glowing version of herself to rain terror and pixie dust upon your foes, or Tiana can chuck healing potions at your teammates to keep everyone healthy. Even more obscure characters managed to make their way into the game, like Frank from Jungle Cruise.
The villains are all here, too, so if Princess Anna and Rapunzel aren’t your jam, you can use Maleficent, Oogie Boogie, and Scar instead. Not every Disney-Pixar character is playable as of now, but the developers have stated that new characters and events will be added every month, so don’t worry too much if your favorite character isn’t present yet, they’ll likely get there soon.
Collecting and experimenting with different heroes to build out your ideal team is arguably the most fun part of the game, which leads us to the story and gameplay. In this world, Mickey Mouse (because of course it’s Mickey) is the wizard in charge of guarding the Stellar Mirror, the portal through which new Guardians are summoned.
A powerful artifact, the mirror comes under attack by villainous foes wanting to claim it for their own dastardly purposes. To protect the mirror, Mickey needs your team of heroes to hunt down and destroy evil, mirrored versions of your own guardians known as the Fractured, who spawn from a dark version of the stellar mirror.
In honesty, I found the game’s story to be completely lackluster, and the majority of the dialogue was something I couldn’t skip through fast enough. The function of that phoned-in story though, is that you get to create a team out of many character options across four combat types — melee, ranged, support, and tank guardians.
The trick is that you only have three slots on your team, so you have to do this interesting balancing act of stats and abilities to give your beloved heroes or villains the best fighting chance in the arena. Each guardian has a light, heavy, and special attack, along with passive talents that might give them additional stat buffs like extra armor, attack, critical hit chance, etc.
Your attacks are all executed via virtual buttons in the right-hand corner of the screen, which I never had any problems using. Tap or hold the attack button to switch between light and heavy blows, or press three separate, smaller buttons to execute any of your team member’s special attacks, which are available on cooldowns.
You can also switch between which guardian you’re controlling at any given time by pressing their avatar in the top left-hand corner. You only control one character at a time, while the other two will manage themselves on AI when you’re not actively using them.
Alternatively, you can turn autoplay on or off at any given time during combat, allowing you to have as much or as little control as you want/need. The AI is decently smart on autoplay, but a real player will probably have better dodges and movement around the arena, along with better decision-making on when to use heavy and special attacks.
However, if your team’s power level is high enough, you really don’t need to directly control them to win. If it’s a fairly even or uneven match (the game recommends a power level threshold for your team before each encounter), you may want to take a more active role in your team management.
It’s also worth mentioning that beyond the main story mode, there are loads of other options to keep you interested. You can send your team out on supply runs, play special events, go dungeon crawling, fight your way through tower challenges, and then some.
You can even join an Alliance (a guild, more or less) and participate in Alliance missions that give your entire Alliance contributes to and benefits from. Different modes will often reward you with specific types of items, all of which you’ll need at one point or another to level up your Guardians’ levels, ranks, and innate talents.
The gameplay loop of “play a few story missions, level up your characters, run out of items, go on supply runs, level up some more, and back to story missions” is actually pretty addictive. It’s a well-crafted loop that digs its hooks into you and doesn’t let go without a fight.
IAPs as far as the eye can see
It cannot be avoided any longer, we have to talk about the excessive monetization in Disney Mirrorverse. The game starts slapping you in the face with in-app purchases early on, and they never stop, they only pick up speed and ferocity as you go.
Essentially every function in the game is monetized, the most obvious one being new Guardians. If you want new Guardians, then you need Crystals to summon them from the stellar mirror. You can get crystals in a few different ways, like completing daily missions or achievements, but the crystals gained from these free methods are usually low-tier and have very low chances to grant you a high-star Guardian.
If you want higher-rated Guardians or better chances at a specific character, then you're almost certainly going to have to use Orbs to buy a banner that has better chances for those star ratings or characters. Even then, your chances of pulling the character that you want are quite low, so you'll need to crack a lot of crystals to get a full roster featuring the strongest versions of your personal favorites.
Speaking of orbs, this premium in-game currency can be earned by playing the game or by purchasing packs of orbs from the in-game store. You don't usually accrue many orbs earned during gameplay, but power players might manage a couple hundred per day, which could get you one or two of the more basic crystals.
It would take hours, or possibly days, to save up enough to buy just one of the "better" crystals, so many players may find themselves tempted to purchase a character or character-pack outright from the store. These packs run anywhere between $3 to $30, from what I’ve seen so far, varying depending upon the relative power level of what you’re buying.
But wait, that's not all! You also need to level up your characters once you've got them, right? Well, buddy, have I got some bad news for you there. The XP gained by playing through any of the game's many modes is absolutely laughable. You earn nearly zero XP for your guardians by playing the game. Instead, you'll have to use XP Motes to level them up.
XP Motes have color correspondence to your four archetypes — melee, ranged, tank, and support — so you need red XP motes to level up your melee characters, blue for tanks, etc. XP motes can be earned through playing different modes, but you will need thousands of XP motes to level up just one character, let alone if you've got multiple Guardians of the same type that you want to level up.
So, what do you do? Do you play for endless hours to grind up a handful of XP motes to gain a few levels for one character each day? Or, more likely than not, do you go to the store and buy XP motes or mote packs? My point is, that each and every upgrade you need to progress in the game (past a certain point) is intentionally designed to be as inefficient as possible, that way players are highly motivated to skip the grind and pay for those upgrades instead.
What's more, after every few rounds you play, the game will splash up special promo offers for XP packs, special Guardian offers, beginner's promos, and so many more. It's truly egregious, especially when you consider how many young children are going to be playing this game.
I can't get behind games that are designed to run into a wall of grind to get you to pay up for any real measure of progress, and you start to hit that wall fast in Mirrorverse. As early as chapters three and four, I noticed that my team's success was getting harder and harder to maintain without anybody going down. Even with solid tactics, there's not much you can do against an overwhelming power imbalance between you and your foes, so at some point, you’re going to have to grind up levels, get lucky and crack a four or five-star guardian, or pay to get better ones.
Aside from the horrendous IAPs, the gameplay itself, while initially fun, gets repetitive. I find the most fun with the Dungeon mode since it adds an extra layer of interaction to what could otherwise be a full autoplay experience.
My last gripe is small, but considering the musical movies and shows that these characters are coming from, I find the game’s soundtrack to be tragically boring. With the exception of the Monsters Inc. world, which has a fun jazz-inspired track, the rest really all sounded the same to me.
Enter the Mirrorverse?
It’s clear that a lot of time and effort (and money) went into this game, and if it weren’t for the terrible monetization, I would have no reservations recommending this game. As it stands though, I would say that you could give this free-to-play title a try, play through some of the story mode, and see how you like it. If you feel like you’re getting bored around chapters three to five, that’s probably not going to change. But if you’re having a blast, have at it!
I have to offer up an extra word of caution to parents though. Due to the monetization, please consider setting parental controls on your devices and consider how gambling, which is really what the gacha system is, could affect your child’s long-term playing habits.
Personally, I don’t see myself putting too much more time into the Mirrorverse. I’ll probably keep playing to complete a few daily quests here and there, maybe even pop back in a few months down the line and see who’s been added to the roster, but I doubt this one is going to survive on my phone for too much longer. There are plenty of other more interesting, more unique games out there that I'd rather be playing.
A lifelong gamer, Mogan has had a controller in hand since the PlayStation 1 ruled the world and Neopets seemed eternal. She loves to play new and old games alike, especially if it's something weird and charming. Puzzlers, JRPGs, adventure, and rhythm games are her favorites.
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