April 27, 2014

Review: Disney Magical World is a Blast

Disney Magical World game review Nintendo 3ds
What a great surprise: Disney Magical World, against all reasonable expectations for a licensed handheld title, has turned out to be one of the most enjoyable games ever to carry the Disney name.
Disney Magical World game review Nintendo 3ds
In this deceptively simple-looking game, you create an avatar (you can also use any Mii character saved to your 3DS) and move into the Disney-character-filled town of Castleton, where Fantasia sorcerer Yen Sid takes you under his wing as apprentice magician. The King, meanwhile, entrusts you with ownership of the town Cafe. All seems rosy, except for one nagging problem: The lands outside your village are plagued by ghost attacks--and you're the only candidate for hero (apparently, Prince Charming and Beast are too busy planning banquets and balls to lend a hand).
Disney Magical World game review Nintendo 3ds Beauty Beast
I think Beast is getting ticked at me....
It’s a breezy, fast-paced fusion of Kingdom Hearts and Animal Crossing where you juggle ghost hunting (the quests become very challenging as the game progresses), card collecting, fishing, item crafting, farming, rhythm-game ballroom dancing and cafe management (which is a lot more fun than it sounds).
Disney Magical World game review Nintendo 3ds
The tasks are fun and, most importantly, it all works together perfectly. After a very linear prologue section, the game opens up and leaves you to spend your sessions however you please, whether it's just kicking back in Castleton, helping the gentle citizens of the 100 Acre Wood or battling ghosts in Agrabah, Wonderland and the dark woods around Cinderella's palace. Eventually, you'll also unlock the card-trading mini-game--by far the game's most addictive activity.
Disney Magical World game review Nintendo 3ds card trading
There are 300 cards to collect in the game. The celebrity citizens will offer you cards themed to their franchise, but most cards can only be won through trading with the Royal Chancellor. So, in the game's early stages, don't be dismayed by all the duplicate Fab Five and Huey/Dewey/Louie cards you'll accumulate; You'll need those extra cards for trading later on.
Disney Magical World game review Nintendo 3ds card trading
The cards cover just about every era in Disney animation and use a variety of art styles. “Vintage” cards appear to be damaged from years of handling, and many obscure characters made the cut, including Clarice (lower right).

The game also features online cafe-sharing and scan-able AR cards on the website that send Tinkerbell flying into your 3DS bearing gifts. A download feature gives you access to a small online shop where additional items can be bought (the shop also features free items). If you dislike the whole idea of paying for extra content, the feature can be easily ignored, though an additional world (rumored to be pirate-themed) might be offered in the near future.

Taken as a whole, Disney Magical World delivers an incredible amount of entertainment and content. It's packed with excellent character animation, fun music (though, surprisingly, not a single classic Disney tune) and an unexpectedly keen attention to detail and company history.

If you’re a 3DS-owning Disney fan, you can’t go wrong with this one.

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