Review: Disney Magic Kingdoms App
Back during D23 Expo 2015, we got our first look at a new game coming to mobile devices this year: Disney Magic Kingdoms. Developed in partnership with Gameloft, what we saw looked to be similar to Rollercoaster Tycoon or SimCity… only with a Disney twist. When the game was finally released this past week, what we ended up getting was something a bit different.
D23 Expo Concept Art
In Disney Magic Kingdoms, Maleficent has cursed the realm, a conglomeration of Disney Theme Parks from around the world, and has dispersed most of the characters, rides, and decorations from the lands. It is the job of the user to reawaken characters, dispel the curse from the lands, and rebuild the realm.
This game is a very step-by-step game, where you complete missions in order to advance in the game, earn Magic (currency) to buy items to expand your game, and gain experience to level up the user. It’s a pretty straight forward game, and a format that is very common to mobile gaming. This one is different because of the full onslaught of Disney. Those who love the Disney Theme Parks would love the game by simply the look of it.
In this first version of the game (due to expand with updates over time), there are three lands to explore and unlock: a land reminiscent of Toontown but also with amusement rides, Tomorrowland, and Fantasyland. Each land is themed with its’ own buildings, decorations, and color palette. Toontown, for lack of a better term, combines the classic Disney characters (Mickey, Goofy, Donald, etc) with Toy Story characters (Woody and Friends) as they look to take down Pete (this land’s “Big Bad”). Rides include amusements from Disney’s California Adventure such as California Screamin’ and Mickey’s Fun Wheel, houses for some of the Fab Five, attractions from Toy Story Playland at Disneyland Paris, and Fantasia Gardens Mini Golf at WDW. In Tomorrowland, we find characters Toy Story (Buzz Lightyear and Zurg, this land’s “Big Bad”), Monsters Inc., and Wall-E. Rides include the centerpiece Space Mountain, Astro Orbiter, Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, and more Tomorrowland rides. Fantasyland characters start off with characters from Tangled and Tinkerbell (looks like more will be added later). Rides and attractions to unlock include It’s a Small World, the Sword in the Stone, and Princess Fairytale Hall (a gift for playing the game daily for two months).
In order to advance in the game, players must use the characters to complete quests, collect objects, and awaken other characters, rides, and attractions, in order to gain enough magical power to decurse different areas. There are things like daily parades, happiness levels, and lifetime visitors that will also help in this adventure. It does sound a bit confusing if you are new to the game, but once you jump into it, you realize it’s not that bad… and becomes quite a lot of fun.
Overall, I have been playing this game for almost a week, and it is, by far, one of the best mobile games of this type I have played. In addition to the Disney Parks theme, the animation is very inviting, the images are iconic, and the little nods to attractions both past and present are great. The fact that the kids running around the park actually carry around a burger or wear an earhat that they purchased alone makes it for me. I love how they got the look of the individual rides and attractions. While they are not “spot on” to some of their real life counterparts, they can still be recognized for what they are. Since this is not one theme park, per say (though Cinderella’s Castle being the castle icon tends to favor the actual Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World), it’s fun to be able to create your own theme park… within the parameters.
Now, some of my friends do not like the fact that it is not an “open sandbox” type game. I can see where they are coming from, as I initially thought it would be that type of game also. However, once you start opening up the different cursed areas, it makes it so you can design a world of your own (to a degree). I think with progression further into the game, it will open up the areas enough where one can design the kingdom more to how they want it… and perhaps updates will show that certain designs create better stats or more visitors.
One thing I will state to anyone just starting out in the game: if you can, buy Pluto. He does cost gems (which you can buy with additional, real life money), as does his dog house, but they are more than worth it, as they help unlock items needed to get future characters and to upgrade all the characters. I have found them invaluable and worth the cost. (He currently is helping Mickey and Goofy defeat Pete in my game.)
As with most mobile games, this game will receive occasional updates to expand the game into more lands with more villains to fight and cursed land to save, and presumably more characters to bring back to the kingdom. I hope that some park specific characters, like the Haunted Mansion ghosts, Figment, or Big Al (from Country Bear Jamboree) join the roster. In any case, I am excited to what’s in store for this game and hope that it stays around for a long time, as it is quite a lot of fun.
Have you been playing Disney Magical Kingdoms? What are your thoughts… any favorites? Let us know in the comments below.
If you want to join up in our Disney Magic Kingdoms over at our Infinity and Beyond Facebook Group, you can click over to join here.