Disney Magical World
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
Developer: Namco Bandai
Games featuring Disney characters have had an inconsistent past. Some have been absolutely amazing (Kingdom Hearts) and others have been so-so. ‘Disney Magical World’ is a kids’ game that aims to immerse kids in exactly that, a magical Disney world. They’ll meet over 60 Disney characters as they solve problems, socialise, create outfits and explore fantastic environments all set within Disney’s vast film universe. It strikes me as life-simulation of sorts, similar to games such as Animal Crossing and MySims but this is one with its own unique gameplay and take on the life-sim genre, one that Disney kids will definitely enjoy.
Upon starting the game, players create their character from either an existing Mii or from scratch with the game’s character creator. There are a decent amount of customisation options available but kids are going to get really excited when they start making their own clothes with other Disney characters.
After creating their character, players arrive at “Castleton”, a town built around a large castle. They’re greeted by none other than Mickey and Minnie Mouse themselves, with an impressive amount of voice acting that is sure to immerse kids in the game world.
After they’re introduced to the game, players will be introduced to the game’s main gameplay, which is exploring the world, meeting characters and helping them with favors (quests) as well as gathering ingredients (such as flowers) to create clothing and other items with. They’ll even go into dungeons and receive special rewards for playing with other players online or via Nintendo’s StreetPass feature. There’s a decent amount of variety in store, but I feel it comes with a fair amount of repetitive padding as well.
That isn’t to say that Disney Magical World isn’t an entertaining title – it is. It’s just that it feels like a game that kids will have to dedicate themselves to in the early beginning to get a taste of some of the really cool stuff that’s also in the game. At one point I used an item to create a hat that I in fact needed to create a quest item for another character. There weren’t any of these flowers left in the garden and I thought I would have to wait an unbearable amount of time for it to grow back like in other life-sims, but Disney Magical World is more forgiving than that. The flower only took a few minutes to grow back, which was a pleasant surprise.
That’s what struck me as the beauty of Disney Magical World – kids can play how they want, when they want and for as long as they want. Not even Minecraft can tout that kind of accessibility.
Early on in the game, I did find I got stuck on one particular favour which took me a while to complete. It slightly irked me as the best kids’ game challenge kids but are accessible enough for a kid to play solely on their own – they won’t need their parents to beat a particular part for them. With Disney Magical World, there are occasional moments like this, but they are few and far between. Kids are still going to be able to have a fun time with this game if they’re yet to play a life sim or if they love Disney.
One other point I like about the game (and this is something I myself have observed, the game didn’t make a point about it) is that the game is fair to both genders. Boys can wear Minnie’s bow if they choose and girls can wear Peter Pan’s pants if they wish. It was refreshing to see a game be fair to both genders and not force boys to do “boy stuff” and girls to do “girl stuff”.
- Lots of activities and rewards
- Fun and simple gameplay that teaches social interaction
- A fair amount of voice acting that immerses the player
- Slow frame rate makes the game seem slow on occasion.
- Some padding and repetition.
Disney Magical World is a decent life-sim featuring everyone’s favourite characters that has rewarding gameplay and decent (although slightly repetitive) gameplay. It’s definitely suited to kids though if they’re already playing a life-sim like Animal Crossing they might find its gameplay too simple.