Disney Magical World Review: An offspring of Animal Crossing and Disney World
By all accounts, this review could have easily been summed up as a Disney version of Animal Crossing, and that should be more than enough information for fans of either franchise to get excited. And while the comparisons are very easy to make, Disney Magical World still has enough distinction to set itself apart from Nintendo's virtual village simulator.
Disney Magical World doesn't present you with a wide variety of activities that restricted by the amount of hours and days you've spent playing the game. Instead, it relies on progression through Stickers, which can be equated to Achievements. Completing various tasks around the in-game world will continually unlock new worlds to visit, new characters to meet, new items to build and new activities to take part in.
For instance, when you first start out, you only have access to a handful of activities like fishing, creating furniture for your restaurant, hunting for materials and completing various tasks for Disney characters or other inhabitants. As you complete these tasks or perform different activities, you'll be awarded with stickers that grant access to completely new worlds. Soon you'll be gardening and harvesting various vegetables and fruit with Winnie the Pooh and Rabbit, attending a ball and dancing the night away with Cinderella, or helping Aladdin find materials by battling through various dungeons. And that's just a small sample size.
This sense of progression that continually rewards you with new activities and new items pushes the player to keep on trying new things. Where Animal Crossing rewards you for doing repeated tasks and also asks you to wait for new content to unlock the longer you play, Magical World straight up keeps rewarding you as long as you're constantly trying out new things.
The greatest part is that the game includes a variety of activities pulled straight from other games and genres. For example, farming vegetables can easily be equated to Harvest Moon or Rune Factory, while running through dungeons is more akin to action RPGs rather than a life sim. And to Magical World's benefit, it doesn't really have to execute these perfectly for them to be enjoyable. Running through dungeons and fighting ghosts is as basic as an action RPG can get, and yet, it feels like a necessary addition to a game like this, where your usual activities involve basic tasks like fishing and cooking food.
Speaking of food, the restaurant or cafe that you unlock early in the game serves as your most basic yet vital way to make money. The cafe can be equated to your house in Animal Crossing, especially considering later on you unlock the second floor, which gives you access to your own bedroom. The cafe can be fully customized, from the flooring to the walls and even various furniture. Decking the entire cafe out in a Hawaiian Stitch theme and then throwing a party will make Stitch appear for a visit and a great photo op, and he'll occasionally then be found wandering around the Kingdom. Income is based on making food from the various materials you find around the various worlds. Once all the food is sold, you can come back and collect the profit.
While completely different in gameplay mechanics and genre, it's easy to see Kingdom Hearts' inspiration behind Disney Magical World. Visiting various Disney themed worlds and interacting with their respective characters is easily the biggest comparison. It's a shame then that the music doesn't seem to be licensed, and instead the game relies on a generic, albeit happy sounding soundtrack.
Disney Magical World falters when it comes to the framerate. This is especially bad in the hub world where Mickey and friends reside. Even with the 3D slider turned off completely, the framerate is pretty atrocious. Luckily, the framerate is good when it really matters, and that's the dungeon crawling sections.
When it's all said and done, Disney Magical World will certainly appeal to the Animal Crossing and life sim fan, more so than any other genre, but the beauty is that the game has enough variety to entice players who might not be interested in those types of games. With a ton of Stickers to unlock and a ton of Disney characters to meet and finish quests for, you're looking at an extremely meaty game. Considering the fact that unlike Animal Crossing, you don't have to wait hours or days before something new gets unlocked, it satisfies those looking for instant gratification.