By the Toy Story Fanatic Devo
So I was watching the live-stream of D23’s “level up” gaming presentation and I heard news that made my happy, Toy Story-reared heart jump for joy. Toy Story was announced as the new world for Kingdom Hearts 3. So I started thinking back on my past experiences playing Toy Story in video game form and have come up with this list of the best and the worst. So while you are getting ready with me for the December 31st, 2018 release date, here is a list of all the Toy Story games ranked from worst to best. Remember to check this list before you buy, I wouldn’t lead you astray. Toy Story is too important!
Note: Toy Story gets itself pretty involved in other games. This list doesn’t include the levels in Disney Infinity, LittleBigPlanet or other games that aren’t exclusively based on Toy Story. However, if you want that list, now would be the time to comment about it!
Toy Story Racer- Game Boy Color
Disney had a phase before Kingdom Hearts and after DuckTales where they were notorious for being bad at making video games and Toy Story Racer for the Game Boy Color is an example of that. The hardware capabilities of the Game Boy Color at the time were just not ready for a racing game of that caliber. The powerups are very confusing and all of the character models look really strange. It’s just not a good game. Save yourself the trouble and don’t pick up the Game Boy version of this game.
Toy Story 2 Game Boy Color
Back in 1995, Toy Story was released on the original Game Boy and was good enough to where I can’t really separate it from the Nintendo Entertainment System console version. The sequel, however, is a different story. The graphics on this game are worse than Toy Story Racer and the game will occasionally give you a new item that you have to deal with without any instruction. However, I can’t place it last on the list due to its relative faithfulness to the film. This game does not stand up well against the test of time or against its contemporaries and predecessors.
Toy Story 3- Nintendo DS
Admittedly, the first playthrough of this game is very fun. the problem comes when you try to replay it. None of the levels play any differently, you can’t take power-ups from future levels back with you, and every achievement you do get is connected to a Disney gamer social system that nobody used. it’s fun the first time through, but try to borrow this one rather than pay money for it.
Toy Story Racer for PlayStation
Toy Story Racer for the PlayStation 1 is not a bad game. While other cart racing games are re-dressed clones of Mario Kart, Toy Story Racer ditches the formula with different and challenging race modes like endurance trials, target shooting, and tag-and-capture games.
There is also a nice change where in-race items aren’t randomized and are scattered through the track rather than in specific locations. This adds a bit more strategy to the game when playing against friends or against the computer. Where the game falls short is in its single-player mode. There is no quick start option and consequently, the game becomes rather linear for a racer. this also means you can’t skip modes that you aren’t fond of and some of the levels are downright frustrating.
This is one of the more readily available games on the list. You can purchase it from PlayStation Online Store for play on PS3, or PlayStation Vita. The physical game disc is compatable with PlayStation 1-3.
Toy Story 3 for Nintendo Wii
While similar to the PS3 and Xbox versions, The Wii version had enough differences and problems to warrant separation. The biggest problem with this version of the game is the Toy Box mode. While we were promised really cool things would come of it, those really cool things were severely limited in the Wii version. You couldn’t carry items, toys didn’t travel much so the main area looked empty, and the fun part where you save Mayor Hamm from the bandits is a one-time playthrough. These limitations really put a damper on the game and people who bought the Wii version really missed out on the experience everyone else was having.
Bonus Tip: The opening of Toy Story 2 is A Buzz Lightyear Video Game that Rex is playing. In this and the PS3 and XBox 360 versions of Toy Story 3, the game Rex was playing is included as one of the levels.
Buzz Lightyear of Star Command
Many of you may remember the old “One Saturday Morning” cartoon “Buzz Lightyear of Star Command”. As well as providing a high-quality series that succeeded in waking me up at 5 in the morning on the weekend, the show also produced a video game and a Gameboy port. The Gameboy Color version of the game accomplishes a nice bit for the limited system. A bit of strategy is involved due to a limited number of coins you could carry, and the game modes from the PlayStation version of the game are all present in some form. You can succeed in the levels without getting all of the perks, but this just allows more re-playability.
Now for the console version. At first glance, the game looks really repetitive. Race the bad guy, arrest the bad guy, next level. But the game is packed with different modes, trials, and challenges that give some reason to replay the game. Another nice aspect is that now the PlayStation has enough graphical capabilities to where the background scenery looks a lot like the show itself.
Bonus Tip: the second to last level is a prelude to Zurg. In this first battle, Zurg will only be carrying a green shield, weak to your standard issue laser or Gatling gun. Save yourself the credits and leave the other weapons behind.
Toy Story 2: Buzz Lightyear to the Rescue- Nintendo 64, DreamCast and PlayStation
No matter what happens, this game will always hold a special place in my heart. This was the first video game I played and I still play it quite a bit today. The premise is that you play as Buzz Lightyear and you race across really expansive levels, earn Pizza Planet Tokens to progress and eventually save Woody. Each level has an interesting boss fight, the minions you chase after change in appearance as you go through the game from playroom to space-based to cowboy themed, and I cannot praise the level design enough.
In fact, of all the games on this list, this is the one I would want to have an HD remake of. Maybe add some more levels, an option to play as Woody and Jessie, a multiplayer mode… [trails off into daydreaming] … are we still going?
This game is also available on the PlayStation Store for PS3 or PlayStation Vita and the physical disc is compatible with PlayStation 1-3.
(for more information, you can check out the writer’s playthrough of the game here)
Fun Fact: The original version of the game, and the one available on PlayStation’s online store, features an enemy dubbed “The Bandito”. Roughly 120 people gathered outside Activision’s studio to protest this character, stating that it is an “offensive stereotype of Hispanic culture”. Activision promised to change it in later releases, though the PlayStation U.S. and Nintendo 64 International versions retain the character. PC, Dreamcast, and the European PlayStation release feature a blonde cowboy in place of the bandito.
Toy Story 3- PlayStation 2 and PSP version
The PlayStation 2 and PSP were both on their last legs when this game was released and consequently, EVERYONE knew how to make a good game for those systems. Toy Story 3 PSP/ PS2 benefitted greatly from this. While the game didn’t come with a toy box mode, it did come with a much more expansive story campaign and enough extra bonus missions and puzzle games to keep you busy for a long time.
It plays well and it’s nice to be able to take a full, beefy game on the go with the PSP version.
Toy Story Mania- Nintendo Wii
Based on the popular park attraction, Toy Story Mania is your standard arcade shooter with all its levels (originally) being taken from the ride itself, along with extra mini-games to round out the package. It’s all the party game that Toy Story Racers was trying to be, except it succeeded.
While the game does exist on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox, the Wii version is the one that makes the most sense. You can find a copy pretty easily at almost any used-game store. I paid about $4 for mine.
Bonus Tip: Several levels on this game are copies of the Disney Parks attraction. you can practice on this game and then get better at the attraction for your next visit. This system got me on the daily high-scores list on my last visit. Our Fantastic Character Diva gives more tips in her video on the subject here.
Toy Story for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Built for the SNES, Sega Genesis and with the Gameboy in mind, Toy Story allows you to play as Woody, and play through the story of the first movie. but along the way, especially on the SNES version, you get to change the gameplay from side-scroller story level to first-person maze runner to overhead car racing.
This game is a challenge and the breaks in standard side-scrolling platformer make this a strong, interesting game to play. Anyone who is looking for a fun game to play likely won’t be disappointed with this suggestion.
Bonus Tip: Dying too much? On the second level, you can make Woody jump into the toy box and crouch down. If you hold this position long enough, you’ll notice the numbered star in the corner starts spinning. You are now invincible. This doesn’t work in the Sega Genesis version.
Toy Story 3- Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3
The experience we were promised and the game that delivered. Toy Story 3 for the PS3 and Xbox 360 is the way to play the game. The story campaign is stronger and more elaborate than it’s portable and Nintendo brothers and the Toy Box mode is the full expansive version with secret rooms, transferable toys, and more characters to interact with (including a surprise boss battle). Also, get the PS3 version and you can play as Zurg and who doesn’t want to do that!
Another advantage is full multiplayer through the game. You and a friend can both play through story mode and Toybox mode which really set this game at the top of the list for me. Nothing is more fun for me than playing video games with my siblings and close friends. Unless they don’t let me play as Woody. I always get Woody.
You can find the game on steam for PC (be warned though. The game requires a few more programs to be downloaded on PC in order to work properly) and on the PlayStation and Xbox stores as well as physical copies for the three systems. If you are looking for a good single or co-op experience, this is the go-to game I’d recommend.
And that is every Toy Story video game ranked from worst to best! Let us know your favorite Toy Story video game in the comments and what game you’d like to play next. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go window shopping for a PS4. Kingdom Hearts 3 has Toy Story levels and I need to be ready for it. Remember to keep wishing on stars!