Have you ever had the desire to live at Disneyland or Disneyworld? Admit it; you’ve thought about it at least once, probably as a child, maybe even as an adult. Getting to hang out with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy, riding rides, and eating carnival foods all day. In reality, most of us couldn’t afford to live there, but you can there virtually in Disney Magical World. Got your e-ticket? Let’s go.
There you are, wondering around your neighborhood, minding your own business, when out of the blue a winged envelope swoops down and delivers you a ticket to Castleton. After quick hot air balloon ride you come upon a very familiar looking iconic castle. Landing at said castle, you find you’ve arrive at Castleton. It turns out the magic ticket came from Mickey Mouse himself. He thought you might like to have some fun and help out some of the locals, so he invites you wander around Castleton. Eventually you get to meet the King of Castleton. He notices how quickly you have become a popular person in Castleton and deeds you the Castleton Cafe to run. Castleton turns out to be, not only an interesting place, but a hub world that connects to other worlds; 100 Acre Wood, Cinderella's world, Aladdin’s world, and Alice’s world of Wonderland.
Your new life in Castleton involves running a cafe and having adventures, wait...did a pirate ship just sail in?
Controls and Gameplay
Disney Magical World plays as a life sim with some dungeon crawl style elements. For most of the game you are granting favors, gathering resources, and creating items such as food and furniture for your cafe and clothes for your staff and yourself. You do all this to gain stickers. Stickers allow you to unlock areas of Castleton and quest into the other worlds attached to Castleton.
When you first arrive in Castleton the game is in tutorial mode and is fairly linear, but after you fill that first sticker book the game opens up to let you do whatever you want. You still have to collect stickers to open the rest of the game, but you can do it at your own pace. If you want to just fish with Donald Duck for a while, you can; if you’d rather farm in the 100 Acre Wood, go for it.
Eventually you’ll get summoned to Yen Sid’s tower where he explains that certain areas of the outer worlds have been taken over by ghosts and he needs your help to clear them out. This is when the quests open up. Yen Sid will also give you your first wand to use to fight the ghosts.
Farming, fishing, and gathering resources become important as it will provide everything you need. The more you play the more you will unlock and be rewarded with recipes for food, clothing, items, and furniture. The food and furniture will mostly be used in your cafe to serve guests and decorate the space; although there is the occasional character that will request that you to build something for them. Clothing falls mostly into the category of “dress up doll” for using on your character, but certain outfits will provide health bonuses when you are on quests.
Graphics and Audio
Disney Magical World’s graphics span a few different traditional “Disney” art styles. Given the fact that the game covers not only classic Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Goofy, and Donald Duck, but also four Disney movies; Cinderella, Winnie the Pooh, Alice in Wonderland, and Aladdin, it’s not that much of a surprise. Since you can import your Mii character to play as you, you’ll see some simple Nintendo style art as well.
The music themes get repetitive after a while, especially in Castleton. I found myself turning down the volume after a while.
Disney Magical World was a lot more fun than I expected. It plays a lot like Animal Crossing, but without any time restrictions. In Disney Magical World there is a clock and it runs in real time, but the only thing that is dependent on time is the favors. The favors have time limits that they need to be completed in but if you don’t finish a favor in time that’s OK, some other character will probably offer it again later.
Nothing in Disney Magical World is very challenging, even the quests and combat are fairly simple compared to most games, but it’s the fun factor. People that enjoy games like Animal Crossing or Harvest Moon will understand and enjoy Disney Magical World.
The game is mostly bug free, but I did have it freeze up on me once.
There is an AR (Alternate Reality) card element for the game too; as far as I know no cards have been issued in North America, yet. There has been a few issued in Japan, which is lucky for us because the in game AR reader can read the cards off your computer screen. A simple internet search for Disney Magical World AR cards will turn up quite a few images. Scanning these in with your 3DS will give your character free clothing, furniture, recipes. If you scan a card a second time it will give you a random seed you can plant in your garden.
Paid downloadable content is already available. Most of it takes the form of clothing and wands, but there is at least one new world you can download right now, Pirates of the Caribbean. Here you get to adventure with Captain Jack Sparrow and even eventually get your own pirate ship.
It’s not a perfect game, but Disney Magical World is a fun romp through some of the more memorable worlds created by the house of the mouse. I give it a solid 4 out of 5.
Disney Magical World is rated E for Everyone for Mild Cartoon Violence by the Electronic Software Rating Board (ESRB).
For more information see the offical Disney Magical World web site.