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Disney Magical World 2: Enchanted Edition

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Genre: Adventure
Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
Release Date: Dec. 3, 2021


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Switch Review - 'Disney Magical World 2: Enchanted Edition'

by Cody Medellin on July 27, 2022 @ 12:00 a.m. PDT

Disney Magical World 2: Enchanted Edition is an immersive life simulation game where you build your dream Disney life, explore immersive worlds, and befriend characters from across Disney's beloved franchises.

When it was released on the Nintendo 3DS in 2014, Disney Magical World was an interesting alternative to Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Soaked in Disney flavor, it was enticing for both the hardcore Disney fan and younger players who wanted something similar to Nintendo's life simulation game. At the same time, it also felt so simple that it didn't necessarily capture the longevity quite like Animal Crossing did. The sequel came out in 2016, but due to the Switch's popularity and the fact that the latest Animal Crossing became a mega-hit, Bandai Namco decided to re-master the sequel for the Switch, calling it Disney Magical World 2: Enchanted Edition.

The game starts off with you creating a male or female character. You can create one from scratch, and while the options are nice, don't expect a plentiful selection. You can choose to import your Mii instead, and while it fits in rather well since the game design is a close match with the Miis, the skin tone with the head and the rest of the body can be a mismatch if your Mii has one that the character creator doesn't support. Once that's done, you get a letter inviting you to live in Castleton, where you can try to make your fondest dreams come true.

The moment you reach Castleton, you're ushered along a guided tutorial that gives you a bit of freedom to wander around, but that's about it. You'll meet up with a core cast of Disney characters, like Mickey and company, and you'll meet up with Castleton's king, who'll teach you about greetings. You'll learn about taking photos, shopping, and selling stuff at Scrooge McDuck's department store, making clothes at Daisy's shop, and cooking at your own cafe. Furniture can be customized at Chip 'n Dale's workshop, and your house and cafe can be decorated with whatever you want. You'll learn to fish at any given fishing spot, but it's more for items rather than for the fish, since you'll always throw them back. Get the wand, and you can go to dungeons to fight off ghosts to get more items you'll need for fulfilling people's quests and crafting items. Fulfilling some of those quests will get you items and dream sequences where you can interact even more with the Disney characters.

You'll also throw parties and take part in dance routines with regular people and Disney characters. As you're doing these activities, you'll gain stickers that act as your level markers in the game. Reaching certain sticker thresholds gets you access to a new part of the game, and the tutorial has you gathering up 18 of these stickers in a particular order before you can gather the rest.

This whole tutorial sequence is long. It isn't as long as what you'd have in Animal Crossing: New Horizons because you aren't waiting around for things to complete in real time, but it feels longer because of the various screens you'll shuffle through. Dialogue boxes go on for quite some time, with some parts repeating while random audio snippets from characters play. Meet a Disney character for the first time, and you'll get another cut scene with a close-up of their face. There are moments when you'll simply escort a character from one spot to another, and if it weren't for the fact that you can activate the next scene by reaching the next spot yourself, you'll wait for a while because they tend to walk very slowly. For impatient players, this whole process may be full of information, but you'll wish it played out in a more exciting manner.

When the tutorial sections are finally done, you'll be able to do whatever you want, such as going on more dungeon adventures and doing favors for people around Castleton. The only activity that can be considered scheduled is cooking; you can't stockpile the cafe with food and drinks, so you need to visit the cafe quite often to ensure that you're still generating revenue. It doesn't take long for the real hook of the game to open up in the form of different lands to visit via Castleton's portal. Here, you'll get to visit the worlds of Frozen, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, and Winnie the Pooh, to name a few. The tasks you do in those worlds are similar to what you'll find in Castleton proper, but the difference in locales and characters keeps them feel fresh, even if you've done something similar countless times before.

One thing that is a real benefit for the game, at least to its target audience, is how it caters to you on your own timetable. The real-time clock still governs whether there's a day or night system, and the street vendor changes out their special item every six hours, but you won't need to worry about being unable to do things because you're playing too early or too late in the day. The cafe runs out of food often, but that activity is frozen when you aren't playing, so returning after a week isn't going to bankrupt the cafe or have people hate you for not playing. In that regard, it's relaxing.

The lack of urgency can also come across as a detriment. Animal Crossing's constant passage of time means that you'll miss events if you don't come back, but it drives you to keep checking in and keep the game in your rotation of titles. The more lax approach is perfect for those with busy lifestyles if you remember to come back to it. The first impression made by the tutorial doesn't give people the confidence to return and check everything else out right away.

Whether that's a bad or good thing is debatable, but Disney Magical World 2 still has some annoyances that are difficult to ignore. Everyone you talk to has lengthy text to get through, but it's often not useful. Unless you're talking to someone who has important information about your progress, you'll often be met with overly cute and bland dialogue. Fishing would be more fun if it had any audio, so the only way you know you've got a bite is by looking at the screen and hoping that the HUD doesn't cover up where the fish is biting. Every land you reach is small in nature, and the presence of load screens makes each section feel even smaller. There's no camera control, so you can't tilt things to get a better view, and there are times when the hotspot for an action is temperamental. They're small things, but they add up.

The game happens to avoid one pitfall that plagued the 3DS release and that's a sense of déjà vu. If you got the original game on the 3DS, the sequel seemed like a marginal upgrade, with only the portal locations being the main differentiator between titles. Everything from the town layout to the shops and activities were all the same between both games, so the sequel felt very much like a rehash. Since the target audience is unlikely to have played the title on the 3DS before moving on to the Switch, things feel new, so the missing sense of familiarity works to the game's advantage.

The presentation works most of the time. Except for the mismatched skin tone issue mentioned earlier, the characters look like they fit in the world, but their lack of variable emotions is unsettling, as is any definition in the rest of their bodies. The Disney characters look fine, which may be the most important part for players. The animations are simple but functional, especially since the game runs at a near-solid 60fps. The environments are colorful and well populated, but the textures could use plenty of work; some of them never got upscaled, resulting in blurry messes where legibility was needed the most, such as the signs outside of your cafe.

The audio is also plagued with differences in quality. The music is the highlight, as the original tracks blend in well with the official Disney ones. Disney fans will be thrilled at hearing specific songs from the park attractions, like the theme from the Main Street Electrical Parade popping up in a dream sequence. The characters are all voiced by the official voice actors, but the authenticity only goes so far, as they're limited to snippets and general phrases that don't often match what's being mentioned in their respective text boxes. The repetition of these phrases can also become grating due to the aforementioned chattiness of characters; you may tune them out until you notice that not every character is voiced. The main cast of Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, and Donald all get them, but get ready to interact with a voiceless Scrooge and the trio of Huey, Dewey, and Louie.

Like the original release on the 3DS, Disney Magical World 2: Enchanted Edition is fit for younger players who can't quite grasp Animal Crossing: New Horizons and the hardcore Disney fan. The simple activities, brisk pace, and overall Disney vibe is a perfect fit. For everyone else, it has a good amount to do but nothing that captures your attention like Nintendo's game. If you're tired of being on your own deserted island, then Disney Magical World 2 will briefly scratch the life simulation itch, but you can skip this one if you're still paying off loans, are deep in the "Stalk Market," or knee-deep in designing houses for other animal visitors.

Score: 6.5/10

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