But don’t be deceived—if you don’t already own the game on Wii, you will still be spending money.

Starting today, Disney Infinity is available as a free download for Wii U from the Nintendo eShop. Disney Infinity lets gamers play as characters from various Disney movies, including “Frozen,” “Fantasia,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “The Incredibles,” and “Toy Story.”

There are two main ways to play: Play Set mode and Toy Box mode. In Play Set mode, you can run through various unique game adventures, each specific to a certain movie. In Toy Box mode, you can build your own complex worlds and upload them so that other gamers around the world can enjoy your creations. Toy Box mode is where Disney Infinity really shines. Much like Minecraft, Disney Infinity offers players a chance to let their imaginations run wild as they build new environments to explore, either alone or with a friend.

Here’s the thing, though: the game is impossible to play without accessories. You’ll need Play Set pieces to access the Play Sets, character figurines to access the playable characters, and power discs to unlock specific power-ups and other bonus content. And of course you’ll need the Infinity Base: the electronic stand where you place your tokens to access the content in-game. At the moment, the Infinity Base can be purchased for the Wii U only with the Disney Infinity Starter Pack…which comes with a hard copy of the game anyway.

The positive side of this is that if you bought the game for your Wii, and you have since upgraded to Wii U, you will not need to re-purchase the Starter Pack in order to keep playing the game in HD. You can keep using the accessories you already own instead of buying a whole new set. This is great for both consumers and for Nintendo, which is still having trouble getting families to upgrade to the Wii U.

But, if you’re new to the Disney Infinity family, this free download is not going to help you avoid spending money.

Elsa Frozen

The Elsa figurine from Disney’s Frozen.

Well sure, they want me to buy that stuff, you may be thinking, but I’ll just borrow a friend’s figurines and then all of the content will be unlocked on my kid’s game!

Alas, that won’t work. You don’t get to just tap your toys to the Infinity Base and play with their associated digital content forevermore. The toy must be resting on the base at all times while you play with it in the game. So I hope you have kids who don’t lose their toys. (Side note: if you have kids who don’t lose their toys, you must tell us your secrets immediately.)

As you may have already guessed, these accessories don’t come cheap. (It is Disney, after all.) Play Set packs, which come with Play Set tokens and one or two character figurines, will usually run you $30. Individual characters are usually between $15 and $25. And some special character packs will set you back $50 or more.

If you don’t mind spending hundreds of dollars on your video games, by all means play Disney Infinity and have an awesome time exploring, creating, and laughing. The game itself has received pretty good reviews, and would be a fun way for you and your family to bond over characters that you already know and love.

The sequel, Disney Infinity Marvel Superheroes, is coming out soon, which means all new Play Sets and character figurines to add to the Christmas list. So really, it’s no wonder that the game is free to download on Wii U. The more people download the game today, the more figurine customers Disney will have tomorrow.

This article was written by

Courtney is Pixelkin's Associate Managing Editor. While working with the Girl Scouts of Northern California, she mentored young girls in teamwork, leadership, personal responsibility, and safety. Today, she spends her time studying adolescent development and using literary analysis techniques to examine video games.