Disney and Pixar’s Lightyear is out now… and it’s fine? Unfortunately, the film lacks the creative spark that makes Pixar’s library so remarkable. Nonetheless, it’s a breezy, familiar sci-fi adventure that’s worth two hours of your time. But, those two hours will be better spent when it invariably comes to Disney+.
Clearly many people feel similarly, as Lightyear is deeply underperforming at the box office. There’s plenty of Disney to watch at home, after all.
There are also many lovely, family-friendly sci-fi games to jump into either after watching Lightyear — or instead of it!
Perhaps the most obvious choice is among the most disappointing. Disney Infinity might just be the most remarkable toys-to-life brand ever conceptualized. Regrettably, it was canceled right as it began to hit its stride.
It exudes a sense of childlike imagination. Bringing all the various Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars properties into the conversation is a dream come true. It’s an even better collection of toys than Andy had! While the game has been shuttered, its figures and the game itself are all over bargain bins.
Sadly, Disney Infinity may be more affordable now than when it was relevant.
The Best Game to Play After Lightyear: The Gunk
Image & Form’s bite-sized story of spacefaring friendship is right on brand for Lightyear. Plus, their aesthetics are surprisingly similar!
The Gunk is a platformer with light puzzle-solving and action elements that feels right at home alongside Pixar’s latest efforts.
Clocking in at about four hours and available on Xbox Game Pass, this title is well worth your time. While it didn’t receive the acclaim of I&F SteamWorld titles, The Gunk is special nonetheless.
No Man’s Sky
This one got off to a rocky start. However, No Man’s Sky has since flourished into one of gaming’s definitive science-fiction adventures.
It’s perhaps the closest you’ll get to being a Space Ranger unless you’re actively playing as Buzz.
Exploring uncharted planets, cataloging their fauna, establishing settlements—No Man’s Sky’s gameplay loop is Lightyear’s first act. Plus, its crafting system, funnily, is fairly aligned with one of Lightyear’s central plot points.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
When Ratchet & Clank hit PS2, people called it a playable Pixar movie. In 2022, there’s a good argument for Rift Apart being prettier than Lightyear. Seriously! This is one of the most technically impressive games of all time.
It’s also just a solid spacefaring 3D action platformer. If you enjoyed the action elements of Pixar’s film, you’ll be equally enamored with Rift Apart’s gameplay loop.
Pikmin 3 Deluxe
At the heart of Lightyear is a desire to escape an alien world that our heroes have crash-landed on. Replace Lightyear with Pikmin 3 Deluxe, and the premise is the same!
The two properties greatly diverge beyond that, but nonetheless, the underlying concepts are aligned.
And, the surface-level appeal of Pikmin is just as strong as anything Pixar has put out. Few Nintendo series are as colorful and fun as this. Nor are many as strategic! The gameplay experience, like the presentation, is so unique.
This one is for the adults that took their kids to see Lightyear. There’s a cheeky parallel between Buzz’s design at the beginning of the film and Master Chief’s 343i redesign. Funnily enough, the art direction feels somewhat parallel on the whole.
Without spoiling anything, the plots of both can be put in conversation too. Even on a character level, Buzz has something of a Cortana-analog himself! However, this one’s decidedly less human.
While Halo 4 is far from the best Halo title, Lightyear is far from Pixar’s best film. It just works!
While Lightyear may not hit the highs of Pixar’s catalog or 2022’s other films, it’s still nice to see family-friendly sci-fi on the big screen. It’s a nice change of pace as the genre often skews older.
The same goes for games, which interpret sci-fi along the lines of Mass Effect most regularly. There’s space (no pun intended) for sci-fi media that caters to all ages.