At the end of February I said I might have some big news in the near future. The big (to me anyway) news is that Nintendo gave me an early release copy of Disney Magical World. I had hoped to have it a little sooner since I go on vacation in just a few days, but obviously I can’t complain. I hope I can play frantically and queue up a few posts for while I’m gone.
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re here because you play Animal Crossing New Leaf. You may be wondering if you like New Leaf will you like Disney Magical World? I can’t give you a resounding yes because tastes differ, but I can tell you that I love them both. And I can tell you I love them both even though I barely started the English version of Disney Magical World because I’ve been playing the Japanese version of the game since August.
Let me also say that I don’t usually buy Disney video games. I think they tend to be hrm…not so good. Maybe it’s just me, but I think they tend to target younger audiences in the United States. And they’re usually movie-based video games which I also usually don’t buy (with the exception of Lego games).
Disney Magical World made me feel like a little kid again, not because it was dumbed down or super-easy, but because it was as the title says—Magical. Your experiences may be different, but as a little girl I watched all the classic Disney movies, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, etc. and I wanted to be the princess (this was before it was socially acceptable to wear a tiara in public—now that’s just called cosplay and still pretty much only socially acceptable at Comic Con…). The game lets you run around with sparkles of your choosing (hearts, diamonds, Mickey Mouse ears, etc.) trailing behind you while wielding a magic wand and wearing a tiara. If you’re reading this and thinking something like “but I’m a guy and we’re not supposed to wear tiaras and wield wands” well, you can still put on Prince Charming’s outfit or Peter Pan’s and go slay some bad guys. Sorry, you’re stuck with the wand.
What makes Disney Magical World like Animal Crossing?
Honestly it’s not very much like Animal Crossing at all. The similarities include the fact that you can fish in Disney Magical World hereafter shortened to DMW. The fish you reel in spit out items—it’s kind of gross. I try not to think about it too hard. You can garden in DMW, but by garden I mean more Harvest Moon style gardening where you plant and harvest crops or flowers. There is a shop run by Huey, Dewy, and Louie. They sell furniture, clothing, and seeds. Their wares change daily. Once you unlock the café you can decorate it and the room upstairs. Decorating the café properly is very important (think Happy Home evals, but easier) because you can throw parties and different Disney characters show up depending on how well-coordinated everything is. The game is fairly sandbox-like. There’s not a set order to do anything in, but in order to unlock more areas and items you have to collect stickers. Stickers are a lot like badges in New Leaf, but whereas you can enjoy the game fully without worrying about collecting a single badge in New Leaf, they’re pretty much the lifeblood of DMW.
DMW also functions in real time to some extent, but it’s not hugely important. Every day at 9am and 5pm the characters in the courtyard change. These characters include Disney characters who can give you trading cards and random NPCs who you can do requests for. Unless you’re collecting cards or looking for a specific item you can get from an NPC it’s not a big deal if you don’t log on twice a day or even once a day. The other instance where time is important is gardening. Plants grow in real time so unless you’re constantly changing the time on your 3DS when it says it takes two hours it takes two real hours, though again if you don’t come back after two hours (or even two weeks) your plants won’t die, they’ll just grow until they run out of water and sit there until you come back.
Holidays are semi-important and you can get Christmas furniture and clothes and take Christmasy photos with characters around that time. Halloween also had specific furniture and picture opportunities. I’m not entirely sure which holidays are celebrated as I don’t have a guide for the game. But the castle decorations change with the season much like that endless snow in ACNL.
How is it not like Animal Crossing?
The biggest difference is that there are “dungeons”. I call them dungeons, but it’s difficult to call anything in a game this adorable a dungeon. There are three areas where you can fight monsters (maybe 4 if Pirates of the Caribbean is in the US version, but I haven’t gotten far enough to tell. It was paid DLC in the Japanese version and worth the $5). Anyway. There is Aladdin’s world, Alice’s world, and a forest next to Cinderella’s castle where you can take on various quests. Sometimes it’s to find a specific item, or catch a fish, or kill all the bad guys. Before you go thinking “but I didn’t sign up for an RPG!” the fighting is very simple. You wield a staff. You have more or less 2 attacks. You wear adventuring clothes and some outfits give you more HPs than others. It’s not rocket science, but there’s so much in this game that I’m happy fighting isn’t more complicated. In these “dungeons” you can gather items which you then use to either cook food, make clothes, or make furniture. Also the dungeons are fairly short. You can usually clear one in 5-15 minutes.
There is a lot of crafting in the game. You have to make most of your clothes and furniture—even the stuff you buy as DLC (I know, I’ve bought most of the DLC released), you usually just get recipes for the items. And you have to have the ingredients to make dishes at your café.
Even if you have the ingredients you may not have the money to make the item you want. Some of them are expensive. So there can be a bit of grinding for items and money. The one good thing about the crafting is that you should never get lost and wonder where you get an item. You can look at the ingredients needed for an item and it will tell you where to find it. In the Japanese version it said something to the effect of “the middle of Alice’s World”. Which is kind of vague, but each quest had a difficulty rating from 1 to 5 stars, so if you go to the 3 star quests and press Y (I think) you can view all of the items available in that quest and just go on one that has the particular item you’re looking for. That’s not to say you’ll find it on the first go. Looking for 10 bricks for an NPC was pretty tedious.
There’s a rhythm game in Cinderella’s world for a few of the quests. Think Theatrhythm but with waltzing. Except for one of them that was really hard I thought these were really fun.
There aren’t villagers in the game. No one moves out. The closest thing to a villager are the Disney characters. You unlock more characters by throwing parties in your café when you have it set up with their themed furniture and food. After the party the characters randomly show up around town and give you their trading cards (I guess it’s kind of like them giving you their picture in New Leaf, but less frustrating—I’m looking at you Tia). Sometimes they will want to take pictures with you. You can change your clothes and strike a pose before taking it. My biggest gripe (I haven’t taken a picture in the US game, so I’m assuming it will still be a gripe) is that these pictures don’t save to the SD card. They’re only viewable in game or on Miiverse. The Miiverse community for the US game at the time of this writing is not functional yet, so I can’t take screenshots (wish I had a capture card).
Apparently you can trade trading cards using streetpass, but as I have the Japanese game in the United States I haven’t ever streetpassed anyone with it. I also have not played online. If the Japanese and US games streetpass or can connect together I will let you know. Some games can/do like ACNL and some don’t/won’t like Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (grrr!)
If you don’t like paid DLC you might grumble. You don’t need any of the DLC to enjoy the game (except maybe the Pirates of the Caribbean add-on if it is an add-on in the US version). Each month they do give you a free t-shirt DLC. But there have been some neat paid items for the Japanese game, a kimono set with furniture, clothes, and food recipes, a sleeping beauty set, a Pooh bumble bee costume. Lots of wands that are quite helpful early on in the game.
Oh! I’m forgetting the AR cards. This game has made the best use of AR cards I’ve seen thus far. I’m hoping they release them here. In Japan there were several AR cards given out at Disney stores, in magazines, etc. mostly for clothing items, or pieces of furniture—again nothing earth shattering that you can’t play the game without [like the Pinocchio 7/11 items that I’ll never ever have from Japan *cries*]. And I have yet to confirm whether they work in the US version because I’ve barely installed the game. Bravely Default AR cards work between regions, so I’m hoping the same proves true.
I have played this game a lot. There are 100 stickers. In my Japanese game I have 97 of them. I am missing one to take a picture with Hercules. His furnitures set is REALLY expensive. I am missing one to get a secret wand. I think I know how, it’ll just take some time. And I’m missing one I believe for a legendary flower which is a pain in the butt. By stating that I’ve played the game a lot what I’m really saying is that it’s 2:48 in the morning and I’m rambling. If there’s something that you’d like to know about the game, please ask. I was having problems with the comments on this site. The form should be working now, but if it doesn’t, feel free to ask on twitter or tumblr. And bear in mind that I will be on vacation from 3/22-4/6 so if I don’t answer during that time period it’s because I’m on island time looking for Stitch (who is in fact in the game).