Editor’s Note – WDW Radio Blog reader, May, has joined the Blog as a guest writer for a special one-time review of the newest Disney-themed Nintendo 3DS title, Disney Magical World 2. An avid player of the original Disney Magical World, she wasted no time diving into this latest installment.
Imagine waking up in an extravagant, luxurious bedroom suite adorned with rich velvet draperies, fine white linens, and gold embellished marble side tables. You eagerly get up from bed feeling pampered, bright-eyed and ready for a fun-filled adventure. Before you know it, you are donning the perfect outfit topped off with colorful Mickey Mouse ears, and presto, you are ready to go. Then, in the twinkling of an eye, you find yourself smiling from ear to ear while posing for a souvenir picture with Goofy. After which you promptly purchase a delicious bucket of popcorn, and bask in the happy glow of seasonal decorations.
For some Disney fanatics, that may seem—at least in part–familiar; while for others, it may forever be a wonderful fantasy. The good news is that it can become anyone’s (virtual) reality. All it takes is a Nintendo 3DS game system and the all new Disney Magical World 2 game, which was released on October 14. The fully customizable gaming experience takes place daily in Castleton, the fictional environment you explore and live a magical life in with your Disney friends.
In many ways, Castleton can be interpreted as a microcosm of the Magic Kingdom Park. For example, there is a Main Street, complete with a clothing boutique, hair salon, and snack kiosk, all of which lead to a grand castle. While the Magic Kingdom’s Cinderella Castle is surrounded by themed lands, a less obvious comparison can be made to Castleton’s mysterious portals to distant lands, which are unlocked by collecting target stickers.
Though you will not take a Jungle Cruise, travel back in time to colonial America, clap your hands and stomp your feet with the Country Bears, take flight with Peter Pan, or go to infinity and beyond with Buzz Lightyear, you will grow crops in the 100-Acre Wood, go on mining expeditions with each of the Seven Dwarfs, hula dance with Lilo and Stitch, navigate your way through haunted hedge mazes, go under-the-sea, and use an enchanted wand with icy powers to fight off ghosts that have invaded Arendelle.
It is in this wide-ranging variety, that Disney Magical World 2 finds its magic. Disney fans should be pleased with the new iteration’s inclusion of even more characters to meet, greet, and visit than the original Disney Magical World, and gamers are sure to get plenty of bang for their buck. With farm simulation and role playing in the same vein as the Harvest Moon series, music rhythm challenges akin to Rhythm Heaven or Guitar Hero, and ghost combat reminiscent of Luigi’s Mansion, Magical World 2 is effectively three games for the price of one.
Moreover, certain areas of gameplay have improved over the first installment. For instance, furniture or outfits for sale at McDuck’s that do not have recipes are tagged as “shop exclusives,” eliminating the guesswork as to whether it is worth the risk of missing out on an item that may or may not be able to be made more cheaply at Chip & Dale’s workshop or Daisy’s Boutique later. Likewise, food, flowers, cloth, leaves, seeds, gems, and other materials earned by completing quests are now pictured, rather than listed, prior to the start of episodes. These small tweaks are representative of a broader effort by the game’s makers to both save players time and provide them with more detailed, constant updates of what’s available to them at all times.
The “Notice Board” on the main menu alerts you when items have sold out at the café, crops have fully grown, or when pickaxes have re-upped. The “Castleton Chronicle” lets players know when seasonal items are available for purchase at McDuck’s or new greetings can be learned at the castle. Café requests, target stickers, and favors are all also chronicled there. All of which allows players to avoid traipsing back and forth across Castleton. A handy balloon in the 100-Acre Wood along with a magical well near the mine – both of which allow you to warp back-and-forth to the café or town – also help in this area.
Still, the game’s ease of play could have done without a few of the supposed “upgrades.” Most young players will likely find the process of mining for various levels of Twinkle Stones to exchange with Miss Teri for Puzzle Pieces that are then needed to enter dream sequences to earn Nice Points to later exchange for Good Luck Charms and Mystery Items convoluted. For those opposed to interacting with other players online, being required to activate StreetPass or SpotPass in order to obtain specialty medals required to purchase certain seasonal items at McDuck’s will arguably be Magical World 2’s biggest drawback and inconvenience.
Splitting hairs aside, the creator’s attention to detail definitely lives up to that which fans of Disney amusement parks and films are accustomed. You can furnish your residence with the same flowered sofa seen in The Many Adventures of Winnie of the Pooh, and accessorize your purple summer frock with a frying pan identical to the one wielded by Rapunzel in Tangled. Owners of the original Disney Magical World will notice that the café manager has since opened a surf shop in the sequel. Amazingly, regardless as to which of the game’s 774 possible outfits you choose to wear, your customized Mii will appear exactly as styled in any episode sequence selected.
Finally, similar to how Epcot’s World Showcase fills a void for those who are homesick or may never have the opportunity to travel abroad, Disney’s Magical World 2 puts the feel of Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom into the palm of your hand while transporting you directly into the setting of beloved films you otherwise never would have experienced first-hand.
If you’re yearning for your home away from home or can’t swing a stay in the Cinderella Castle Suite, opt instead to invest the $39.99, and start enjoying your magical virtual life daily.
Yen Sid, Castleton’s aptly named resident sorcerer, wouldn’t have it any other way.
(Photos from the author’s personal collection. Gameplay scenes ©Disney.)