Disney Magical World Game Poster Image

Disney Magical World

Mickey meets Animal Crossing in fun, gentle life-simulator.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can learn how to read and follow directions as well as how to build friendships by being helpful and selfless in this simple life simulation game. Kids will find out what characters need by chatting with them and carefully reading text dialogue. They'll then apply this info as they seek out and complete activities, accomplishing goals and befriending the kingdom's citizens in the process. Disney Magical World doesn't focus on traditional learning, but it does get kids thinking about how to make friends and be a constructive part of a community. 

Positive messages

A warm, welcoming atmosphere permeates the entire experience, creating a friendly sense of inclusion. The steady stream of safe and constructive activities -- building things, running a café, dancing, fishing, collecting items -- will likely leave players feeling that keeping busy and being helpful leads to joy.   

Positive role models

All of the Disney characters are exactly what you'd expect: happy, helpful, and eager to be friends. The player's character doesn't talk, but through his or her actions becomes an important part of Magical World's virtual community.

Ease of play

Basic controls for movement and performing actions are very intuitive, and helpful tutorials are always accessible from the main menu. There are no game-ending consequences for failing tasks, so kids ought not get discouraged.

Violence & scariness

Occasional short adventure quests see the player's character wielding a magic wand and shooting bursts of energy at cartoonish fantastical enemies, such as ghosts. Foes simply disappear when struck.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

It's basically an interactive advertisement for all things Disney. Players explore a kingdom not unlike Disney World, encountering loads of popular Disney characters along the way, including Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald and Daisy Duck, Chip and Dale, and more. 

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?

QUALITY

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.

Families can talk 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?

Game details

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

This review of Disney Magical World was written by

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