A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know Disney Magical World is a cartoonish life simulation game that puts players in the shoes of an original character carrying out a variety of jobs in a Disney-themed kingdom. Most tasks -- dancing, fishing, building, managing a café -- are quite innocuous. Kids will encounter the occasional quest adventure that involves wielding a magic wand that shoots out balls of energy to scare away fantasy creatures like ghosts, but that's about as intense as it ever gets. Keep in mind, though, that the game is essentially an interactive Disney ad featuring characters and locations from several recognizable properties. Young fans will likely come away more interested than ever in seeking out Disney movies and merchandise.
What's it about?
DISNEY MAGICAL WORLD lets kids create a custom avatar and explore a magical Disney-themed kingdom, where there's lots to do and everyone seems to need a bit of help. Players spend much of their time simply running around and talking to other characters, many of whom have requests that need to be fulfilled. This leads to various activities and mini-games, such as fishing, dancing, and searching for ingredients to make clothes, furniture, food recipes. Kids even get to manage a café, altering its menu and atmosphere while earning income from happy customers. Each time players complete a task they earn a sticker, and each sticker gets them one step closer to unlocking a new location or activity.
Is it any good?
The simplest way to look at Disney Magical World is to imagine Nintendo's popular Animal Crossing games and replace all of the animals with Disney characters. It's basically a life simulator that puts kids in the shoes of someone trying to be a friendly and productive part of a thriving community and its economy. The characters players interact with are generally kind and gracious, and the mini-games are inviting and intuitive. Kids will move from one activity to the next without missing a beat. A pleasant, happy vibe permeates everything, making it a great game for kids whose parents would rather they avoided heavy action and violence.
If you're sensitive to overt branding, the Disney theme may come on a bit too strong here. It almost feels as though you're walking around Disney World -- especially when taking commemorative pictures of avatars with popular Disney characters. Still, the activities are fun and satisfying and the game has a good overarching message about being productive and friendly. Families with young grade-school kids could do a lot worse.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about making friends. How do you make friends? Is it better to set a goal of making friends, or to let friendships happen on their own?
Families can also discuss what makes them happy. Does keeping busy with a variety of tasks and objectives make you feel productive and content? Or do you think the key to happiness lies in relaxation?
- Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
- Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions
Hobbies: collecting, fashion
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, defining problems, problem solving
Creativity: making new creations
Communication: friendship building
- Price: $39.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Nintendo
- Release date: April 11, 2014
- Genre: Simulation
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Friendship
- ESRB rating: E for Mild Cartoon Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.