Cast your mind back to approximately two years ago and you may remember the release of Disney Magical World, a 3DS simulation game similar in style to titles such as Animal Crossing: New Leaf but set – completely unsurprisingly – in a Disney universe. Rush yourself back to the present and here we are with a sequel on the horizon – Disney Magical World 2. So what's new?
The original game had you – an overly happy, loved by all, magic-power-wielding version of you at least – living a life of blissful fantasy alongside a variety of cherished Disney characters, carrying out tasks to help others and having a merry old time in your new home town of Castleton. New worlds appeared starring different characters, allowing you to escape to a variety of places, seeing new things and going on new adventures. This time around in Disney Magical World 2 you get to do all of that plus… Well… just more of that really. Yes, Disney Magical World 2 is very much a 'more-of-the-same' style sequel, although we didn't have too much to complain about the first time around, so this may well be a good thing.
After designing your character – either from scratch or from a Mii on your 3DS – you're all set. Everything revolves around collecting stickers which unlock new areas or activities throughout your time playing the game. Stickers have certain criteria that need to be met in order for them to be awarded, and these requirements vary rather a lot – especially in the early stages. In fact, the first 18 stickers you'll unlock are all for different types of objectives and the game guides you through these before moving on to being a bit more open and free. Whilst this opening section is extremely useful in that it teaches you the layout of town and gives you a taste of all the fun stuff you can get up to, it also feels like the world's longest tutorial and it wasn't long before we wanted to just go off and do as we pleased.
Although Disney Magical World 2 will be described as a life simulation game, it touches upon a whole range of genres. The tasks you'll be completing to collect your first few stickers vary massively – RPG elements come into play such as collecting ingredients and materials to craft items, rhythm action sequences appear with you pressing buttons in time to the music and much more besides. The opening section does a good job of varying these to show off exactly what you can do in your new home, and gives a good early impression.
Another positive that's clear early on is the scale of the game – in our first few hours we have moved into our new home, decorated, started collecting materials, started making furniture and clothing, met lots of residents, opened up a café, made lots of money, gone fishing, gone on several ghost hunting quests and unlocked lots of new areas – all whilst walking past a broad range of locations that require much heftier sticker collections to access. The sense of scale here is impressive, and with seemingly endless amounts of items to collect it feels like many hours could be used up enjoying the sights. But this isn't all we've been up to.
On top of all of this, new worlds start to appear as you progress through the game – just like in the original title. Here you get to meet new characters and explore their own worlds as opposed to having them in your home town. The difference is hugely refreshing and offers new types of tasks to be completed. In just our first few hours we've met up with much-loved big-name characters from major franchises (though we can't say who just yet); it shows great promise for what is to come and the amount of characters we'll get to see. This feels similar to the hugely popular Disney Infinity series in that you can go to the locations of your favourite characters and experience different things by going to their worlds, except there is no added payment or figures to buy here – everything is unlockable from day one.
A feature of the game that appears to be rather prominent is the ability to take photographs or screenshots at any time. By simply holding the L button several camera options appear on screen, and by pressing R you can take a screenshot which is saved directly to the SD card in your 3DS. Whilst we found ourselves turning down the opportunity to take photos to save precious SD card space, the game is full of moments showing your character in spectacular, dream-like scenarios with Disney's biggest stars; this seems like something children will love.
This game won't appeal to everyone – the singing and dancing, the magic and the incredible amount of excitement over the tiniest of things may be tiresome for some, but so far this title looks like it should be a perfect fit for children and Disney lovers of all ages. There is nothing spectacular about the graphics or the soundtrack, nothing here is ground-breaking in any sense of the word, but what our early experiences of the game tell us is that fun can definitely be had here; the idea of throwing tens if not hundreds of hours into it seems like a very realistic possibility for some fans.
If you have children who would love the idea of living in a world with their favourite characters, or if you're a huge fan of the Disney universe yourself and feel like this would excite you, then it's definitely worth keeping an eye out for the game's release. If the first few hours are anything to go by we could well be on to a winner.