Thursday, 20 November 2014

Nintendo 3DS - Disney Magical World

Nintendo 3DS and Disney combo, how could we resist?! I had to feature it on my Christmas Gifts Guide even before I get my chance to review it (Abby took over the reviewing) because the concept and description alone sounds fantastic already to make it a great game for the Disney fans and for those who love adventure/ problem solving games! And I was right, I had so much fun I had to tell myself to stop playing so Abby can continue her game!

Nintendo 3DS Disney Magical World (rrp £34.99, suitable for age 7+) is a 3D (2D on 2DS) fantasy adventure game featuring over 60 iconic Disney characters. After creating their own character, players arrive at Castletown, a magical kingdom where Disney characters live and mingle (reminds me of the hub in Wreck it Ralph). Players are free to explore (collect materials, visit shops, talk to the characters, etc) and embark on adventures (solve characters' requests to get to the next stage and unlock more areas) in Castletown and its surrounding worlds inspired by Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, Aladdin and more.

Players can also create outfits, accessories and furnitures, unlocking new recipes along the way, and design and look after a Cafe to earn in-game coins.

Each copy of the game allows one player character created, so unfortunately I can't log onto a different character to play the game without affecting Abby's game. However, if you get another copy of the game, you can connect 2 accounts through Local Play to play together.

There are many more features, which you can find out about on Nintendo's website.

I really love the in game character creation choices, characters in this game have much cuter features than Nintendo Mii character creation I think. It's a shame I can't have my own character! After I tested this and let Abby create her own character, mine disappeared. I guess I'll have to add another Disney Magical World 3DS game on our Santa's wishlist!

When your character lands in Castletown, you can chat with the people around, or head straight to where the red pin shows on the map on the touch screen to find out what you have to do next to follow the adventure.

Abby's character. This is the screen you'll see after the next log-in.
Basic materials for making items and quests can be found around Castletown.
You can also sell them for money

Like other adventure/ problem solving games, players should explore the area and talk to as many people as possible to find out more clues for the quest they are on. If they get stuck, and they have another quest available, try do the next quest first as they are sometimes connected.

Once a quest is solved, players will get a sticker to mark their completion of the sub level, this also means that something from the shop or a level restricted area might be unlocked.

As mentioned above, materials collected from Castletown and other worlds can be used to create items as well as solve requests.

The game will automatically save at certain stages, but you can easily save the game by going to the menu screen (X), where you can also see all the outfits and items you have collected, recipes, requests, etc.

I love problem solving games, and this game is so cute too. But solving one request after another can be repetitive and boring, so the added elements of creating new outfits and managing a cafe is a fantastic idea, to keep children interested and motivated to continue solving puzzles. They can also visit another person's game to explore and swap items, which is very handy if you are short of one material and the other person has plenty to share!

Abby is 6 and she has managed to play the first 7 stages on her own without needing much help (I doubt she needed help with the request I finished for review purpose either). There was just the one time when she was confused as the character said that he has dropped something in the garden and someone could have picked it up, but she only took on board the first part of the clue so she was looking everywhere on the floor. It is a fantastic way of training KS1 children to take the time to think and comprehend what a sentence actually mean, which was exactly what Abby's teacher wanted me to practise with Abby as her new target for literacy as she's too far ahead with her reading but emotionally can't quite click with the characters yet (she's too young!).

Apart from problem solving and comprehension practice, simple addition and subtraction (gathering the right amount of materials, removing materials from those in their item box), a touch of trading (through maintaining the cafe and swapping with friends) are all really useful things for children to learn, and without them noticing either so they won't feel like they are doing homework.

This is the type of games I can expect from Nintendo, educational yet fun with beautiful and cute graphics (an obvious distinction between games and reality so they won't mix the 2 up. This is important for me as things are obviously different in reality!), which are perfect for young children as a development support material. Of course, everything in moderation, but for video games for young children, I can't recommend Nintendo games enough.