Disney Magical World Review for Nintendo 3DS

Disney Magical World Review for Nintendo 3DS

A Whole New World

Disney Magical World isn’t just a game for children. Rather, it’s for the children in all of us. This is the game for those of us who grew up in the golden age of Disney classic animation. For people who played Adventures in the Magic Kingdom as kids and lamented their inability to collect all of those magical keys. It’s a game that, at times, might seem like it doesn’t know exactly what it wants to be, yet manages to quite nearly excel at every genre it broaches.

I suppose the most apt way to describe Disney Magical World is to say that it’s Animal Crossing with Disney characters, but that falls short. It’s a more ambitious project than Animal Crossing , and while they both have a similar concept, the execution couldn’t be more difficult. In each, you’re gradually building up to full mastery of the game and access to everything–areas, characters, clothing and furniture. Yet, where Animal Crossing can’t truly be “beaten” without at least a year’s worth of play, I could see a dedicated Disney Magical World player perhaps unlocking everything within the span of a month.

Disney Magical World Screenshot

That isn’t to say people who like, or dislike, Animal Crossing should immediately be prepared to transfer those same feelings over to Disney Magical World . As I’ve said, it’s quite different. Players come into this new world of Castleton after receiving an invitation from Mickey himself. An anthropomorphic invitation named Letitia cajoles a player into this fanciful realm filled not only with noteworthy Disney legends, but also various, insignificant humans. Though, I suppose the player could be considered nondescript as well. There’s an option to use a premade Mii as an avatar, or one you customize within the game.

From there, a brief prologue begins to introduce players to the most basic Disney Magical World concepts. While some might scoff at the idea, myself included, it turned out to be more helpful than it seemed. After all, it not only offered a hint of how one must strive for success, but also the Happy Sticker system. Yes, I realize how that might sound, but collecting Happy Stickers soon becomes an obsession. It isn’t just about rewarding people for putting together great outfits, completing episodic missions, building furniture, making clothes, taking pictures with “celebrities,” or managing the cafe. It’s also about opening up Castleton and its adjacent realms. For example, the cafe isn’t available until 10 stickers are acquired, and only then can one head to the castle and lay claim to the business.

Disney Magical World Screenshot

It’s an unusual progression system, yet it works quite well. Stickers, as I mentioned earlier, are awarded for a variety of actions. You can get them for fishing, preparing dishes in the cafe, completing missions in Cinderella’s Castle, Agrabah, the 100 Acre Woods, and Wonderland, collecting ensembles, fishing, farming, cooking and more. I found I’d rack up fishing, farming, cafe and episode completion stickers without even realizing it. After all, the first thing someone’s bound to do when they get a new packet of seeds or recipe for a meal is plant it or make it. Considering I’ve seen locked sections and such that require over 60 stickers, it’s good to know things progress even when you aren’t consciously working towards the goals. And, if a player does find themselves faltering, the touch screen will tell you which stickers are within your grasp.

That, and the staggering variety of activities within Disney Magical World , are what makes this game so appealing and enduring. Castleton is the hub world, with the player-run cafe, Scrooge’s department store, Daisy’s boutique, Chip and Dale’s workshop, Yen Sid’s tower and a fortune teller. Someone can visit their cafe to decorate their living space, jazz up the restaurant, prepare the snack, sweet and drink that will be served, dictate staff outfits, take manager and customer requests, and even attempt to hold a party that may lure in characters like Stitch, Snow White, or the Beast and Belle. The boutique, workshop and tower are crafting stations where people can make clothing, quest related “armor” outfits, furniture, fishing rods, and wands. Scrooge’s store and the fortune teller are simply places to buy goods, with the former specializing in materials, furniture, and pre-made clothing and the latter offering decorative sparkles and good luck charms that make certain elements of the game easier.

Disney Magical World Screenshot

Crafting is easily the way to go in Disney Magical World . While Scrooge will sell items, they’re far more expensive and he has limited floor space. No, the only way to everything someone would want, and fast, is to make it. Which means a good bulk of a player’s time will be spent scavenging. If an item is on the ground and glittering, it’s yours. Race up to it, grab it and hoard it away. Maybe you won’t need it now, but odds are it’ll be crucial for some recipe or request.

Which, if I may segue for a moment, is sadly one of the only non-quest ways to really interact with the Disney characters and faceless mooks in Disney Magical World . Every day, about four people in Castleton will have requests for a player. If completed, you’ll often get an item that you might not be able to acquire in any other way. It’s helpful, but somewhat disappointing. The only way I could really spend time with the characters in Castleton was if I “greeted” them with a special wave, usually to get a trading card, or did them a favor. It isn’t like Animal Crossing , where silly conversations can be enjoyed. In fact, I found I often wouldn’t talk to the characters. I’d walk past them, to get the “Nice!” point for my perfect Ace Ensemble outfits, wave at them if they had the card indicator, then move along.

At least the interactions with characters from Cinderella , Winnie the Pooh , Alice in Wonderland , and Aladdin felt like they had more meaning. After collecting a requisite number of Happy Stickers, gates to each area will open from Castleton. Each one offers different experiences for visitors. Cinderella’s realm, for example, offers a forest dungeon and a ballroom dancing mini-game. Alice in Wonderland has two dungeons, one set in a forest and another in the Queen of Hearts’ maze. The 100 Acre wood offers a patch for farming, fishing spots, and lots of gathering locations. Finally, Agrabah has a market and a ruins dungeon.

Yes, I said dungeons. I bet you didn’t expect something akin to a Diablo -style adventuring experience in Disney Magical World , but there you go. Each extra area has questboards, which show missions and how many stickers are needed to unlock them. If you’re heading into a dungeon, you’ll usually be going on some kind of fetch quest to find “this” item, collect “so many” of these, or beat certain enemies. While unfortunately each dungeon is pretty much limited to a handful of layouts that are often reused, there’s a certain measure of satisfaction that comes from tackling them. For one, the enemies and bosses actually increase in strength, necessitating better quest outfits from Daisy and wands from Yen Sid. Also, the materials collected during each run vary or there may be a fishing spot, making them prime places to grind for materials.

Disney Magical World Screenshot

Though, I must admit, I feel a little like Cinderella’s world lags behind the rest. I often found myself stopping by Agrabah, the 100 Acre Woods, and Wonderland for shopping, farming and adventuring purposes. However, Cinderella’s forest didn’t seem to offer as many excuses to explore the woods, and there aren’t as many balls to attend to get my boogie on. It felt like a tutorial realm to me, and practice for the other, more robust areas. It’s a shame, because the others really do seem to offer much more incentive to keep dropping by for a visit. I mean, I have to go where the best crafting materials are if I want to keep filling up my inventory, hearing how “Nice!” I am, and earning those stickers.

Of course, there’s also a rather easy way to get some extra outfits and a few stickers. The ones that aren’t available now are downloadable extras or items unlocked via AR cards. The ones that are stem from the online interactions. Like Animal Crossing: New Leaf , Disney Magical World players can engage in a form of voyeurism. People can upload their cafes to the internet and, in turn, visit the cafes of their friends and strangers that have been saved to the cloud. Stopping by to see the business/home and say hello to the owner grants a “Nice!” point and, if it’s the first visit, will provide a full Ace Ensemble outfit. Seeing as how simply changing into set numbers of complete clothing sets result in stickers, it’s a good way to boost your number in a pinch.

I wasn’t just waxing nostalgic in this review’s introduction when I said that Disney Magical World is a game for everyone. In fact, I’d say it’s more appropriate for teenagers and adults than it is for children. The sheer number of collectibles, increasing difficulty of missions, and challenge to acquire every Happy Sticker isn’t really a feat for kids. It’s for people who have loved these characters for years. It’s the kind of game that can only be called charming.

Every Disney character looks identical to his or her 2D counterpart. However, dungeons don’t offer much variety. 5.0 Control
Analog and touch screen controls are available for exploration. 4.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The music is pleasant enough, but only a handful of Disney stars are voiced. 5.0 Play Value
It will take weeks, maybe months, for you to earn every sticker and find all the collectibles. 4.8 Overall Rating – Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.

Review Rating Legend
0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 – 2.9 = Average 3.5 – 3.9 = Good 4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 – 2.4 = Poor 3.0 – 3.4 = Fair 4.0 – 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Interact with over 60 Disney characters!.
  • Explore the worlds of Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, Aladdin, and Winnie the Pooh.
  • Battle ghosts to help Disney characters and residents find special missing items.
  • Manage your own café to make in-game money and attract Disney characters to dine in.
  • Dress your avatar in hundreds of outfits using Disney-themed clothes and accessories.
  • Friends can connect locally to show off their room and café.
  • Enjoy StreetPass™ interactions with other players and see how they’ve customized their avatars.

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