The Average Gamer

Disney’s Magical World Review (3DS)

Disney Magical World logo
The 3DS is quite the platform for life simulations, from 2 industrious Harvest Moon titles to the wonderfully addictive Animal Crossing, and of course The Sims. In what appears to be a saturated market for Nintendo’s flagship handheld, this latest offering has an attraction none of the previous sims had: Disney characters.

Disney’s Magical World is only the 3rd Disney title to be released on 3DS, and the scope is aimed high. Featuring all the signature characters such as Mickey/Minnie Mouse, Donald/Daisy Duck, Chip n’ Dale, and many more, you play a mute character who has been given the chance to start a life in the town of Castleton (not the honeypot village of Derbyshire).

From there, you are guided through the first steps of meeting Mickey (and the rest, when instructed), in order to collect stickers, which in essence serve the same purpose as the Stars in Super Mario Galaxy/64; opening new areas and new tasks. These are awarded for specific tasks, which range from choosing and wearing an outfit from the shop, to catching a fish, even the running of a café.

Disney Magical World - AliceAs more stickers are earned, more areas open up, as does the game itself; requiring you to visit areas outside of Castleton such as Cinderella’s small town, Agrobah from Aladdin, or even the 100 Acre Wood. These additional areas may have specific stickers to obtain, or items required for stickers to be earned once back in Castleton.

Although this all sounds very involving and rewarding, it is unfortunate that Disney’s Magical World is far too shallow and tedious to keep you interested for long periods of time. Having all the famous Disney names in a town together is great, but as they do not move anywhere or interact with anything they may as well be cardboard cut-outs. They also have about as much character as one too. The meetings are mushy, with a quick OTT online casino pose and accompanying sound-byte, which just adds to shallow nature of it all. This is no Kingdom Hearts for sure.

Disney’s Magical World appears to be aimed at a younger market, or at least the “Oooh look, it’s Mickey” type. It’s just a shame that it suffers from an identity crisis of sorts; once the initial helping hand disappears I expect most kids will get quickly bored of having to fish or pulling up materials from the same areas in hope of that one ingredient just to make an outfit.

Disney Magical World - PrincessThere are several highlights though; visiting Cinderella’s Town initiates a task to retrieve missing treasure, which transforms the game, albeit only for a few minutes, into an RPG with a battle system reminiscent of the recent excellent Level-5 offering, Fantasy Life. There are also dance-sim portions, learning different greetings and, whilst brief and not often enough, were definitely a welcome changes in gameplay.

I really wanted to like Disney’s Magical World. But its placid characters, overly mushy setting, horribly infectious soundtrack and lack of any challenge makes for a very hollow experience. There are some nice moments, but to get to them feels laborious, and there is only so many times you want to see a glued-to-the-floor Mickey Mouse say ‘you look great’, and not much else. Not awful by any means, but there are far better life sims out there.

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