As if Mickey Mouse moved into Animal Crossing. Discounts for celebrities, Tom Nook?
Surely no other game can make you feel as special as an overwhelmingly enthusiastic Disney game? And when that Disney game is Disney Magical World for the Nintendo 3DS, a life simulator game with more than a passing similarity to Animal Crossing, surely Mouse fans will be left excited at their very own, personal invitation to live their virtual lives in Castelton? Surely this is all too sickly sweet to be good for you?
Anyone who has spent any time in Animal Crossing will know more or less what to expect in Disney Magical World, although the Disney theme is quite obviously targeted at the younger gamers out there. For fans of the Disney world, the unwaveringly positive attitude will be exactly as it should be. However, those who are perhaps not the biggest fans of everything being wonderful may find it all a little too much. And for those who are expecting a sub-standard Animal Crossing clone, it may all come as a bit of a surprise.
The thing is, being aimed at the younger audience does mean that certain aspects of this life simulator game are a little on the simplistic side. That being said, there is no doubt that Disney Magical World does manage to do some things better than Tom Nook’s money making venture.
It all starts with the player’s Mii, or a new Mii, finding themselves in the hub world for their Disney adventure. There is no overall objective to the game and players are free to do pretty much whatever they want within the world. However, there are some tutorial style missions to begin with, just to make sure the player knows what’s what, and there are stickers to collect which unlock further locations or activities. Otherwise, it is all about spending time with Disney characters.
But what is there to do within this magical world of Disney? Well, perhaps most important is running your own cafe. Here, the player will come across multiple activities from decorating to picking menu items and actually cooking them. This in itself is enough to keep many young players happy.
There are the Castleton residents to chat with or run errands for. A ghost fighting mini game, which happens to be quite good fun despite the simplistic mechanics, offers small bursts of action. There is gathering, fishing, dancing and farming, all providing the player with something to do, and almost none of them forcing the player to sit around and wait. Players can indulge their creative sides with various crafting activities and get their shopping fix with stuff to buy. All in all, there is a surprising amount to do in Castleton. The inclusion of seasonal events will ensure that players come back from time to time, just to see what is going on.
That being said, the activities can get repetitive after a while. However, the younger players that the game is aimed at will not find repetition a problem. The huge amount of collectibles in the game, from the stickers which give the player something to work towards, to the trading cards and special items that players will gather through the course of their play, will reduce the sting of the repetitive activities for the older gamer, and finding everything in the game will take players many weeks of gameplay.
Disney Magical World includes some light multiplayer features which mostly involve visiting or being visited by friends and simply hanging out in the town, or checking out the cafe for inspiration. It may not be ground breaking, but it is a nice addition that fits in well with the overall relaxed feel of the game.
Visually, Disney Magical World is nice to look at. There are a good number of Disney characters to be found in the game, and they have all been recreated well. The Miis also fit in with the theme without looking out of place, and the environments are a mix of recognizable places themed around certain popular Disney characters, and new locations that are well detailed and enjoyable.
For the Disney fans however, the simple act of being within this magical world will be enough. There is something overwhelmingly pleasant and peaceful about the game that will not only appeal to the young gamers, but also to parents. Disney Magical World is, as you would expect, and incredibly family friendly game.
Disney Magical World is a cute looking game with an obvious Disney appeal. It is not breaking the mold for handheld life simulator games, but it does give the genre a glossy Disney coat with a big bow on top. Disney Magical World will not suit all types of game player, but it is perfect for younger gamers and Disney fans.