I am, as I’m sure you are, under strict social distancing practices. And I am, as I’m sure you are, being driven nuts by it.
But not only that, a lot of us have had our travel plans nipped in the bud. I, for one, had some really fun Disney plans that have been put on hold. So I’ve been trying to find a way to make it feel like I’m at Disneyland- and I’ve found a few ideas. Here’s one of them:
Magic Kingdoms- Disney Park Management on your Phone
It’s a free mobile/ PC game produced by Disney Interactive and Gameloft. At its core, it’s a clone of the popular Rollercoaster Tycoon games from back in the day and part of a tradition of games on mobile devices I call the “town builders” only instead of building a town This game puts the power of Disneyland in your pocket and onto your phone!
The premise is this: Maleficent has cast an evil curse on the Magic Kingdom, banishing all happiness from the land. Our Hero, Mickey, is one of the only survivors. Now he needs your help to bring his friends back and to bring fun back to the kingdom.
To do this, you slowly send characters on jobs, meet and greets, build attractions, and direct guests to various activities around the park. Everything you do builds the happiness meter and rewards you with magic and special items you can use to level up your park and it’s characters.
So I get in there and the first thing I do is I send Mickey Mouse to work. The guy just oozes magic and happiness and even doing something as simple as making him “search for friends” brings a little magic back to the kingdom. Of course, that’s not all. We need to build an attraction for people to ride. The first one is Mickey’s Fun Wheel.
Mickey and Goofy go on a few quick quests and then you get the first REAL assignment and its one I don’t mind. Unlock Woody! As time goes you welcome more and more characters and attractions until you have a big, fully functioning Disney park.
Game Tip: Don’t give in to the temptation to just sent characters on any task that comes up. You’ll gain fewer rewards and your park will grow slower if you do that. Follow the quest list as closely as you can and the game will become a lot more rewarding and enjoyable as you go.
This game isn’t built to be challenging. It’s easy to pick up and easy to understand. All magic comes at a price though and the price for this game is steep.
The main currency in this game: time. Everything in the game takes a large amount of time to accomplish. And the wait time just gets longer and longer. And unlike a lot of games by the same developers with the same gimmicks, there’s not anything to do to keep busy. There’s no mini-games or activities to do, all you do is turn it on, click a few buttons, then you close the window.
There is a way to save yourself some time and it’s with Gems. Gems are the deluxe currency in the game and are purchased with real money or earned very very very slowly in-game. You can spend gems to make actions instantaneous in-game and the game will practically reach in your pocket and take your money right out of your wallet.
The other currency is “magic” which takes a while to make as well. Magic is the reward for any action completed in-game. You trade magic in for more space to build attractions, level up your characters, or purchase new buildings. There are plenty of strategies to put more magic in your pocket such as setting up parades or boosting your happiness percentage.
The third collectible is the character token. Character tokens are found when a run on an attraction is over. These are character-specific currencies you use to upgrade a specific character. For instance- Mickey can only be upgraded after you find X number of “Mickey Gloves” or Woody can only be upgraded after finding so many Sheriff badges. That kind of thing. This will require some specific planning and strategizing to get the characters you want which can either be an annoyance or a strategy element. It just depends on who you are and your game preferences.
While this game is a time sink, I must say that this is the kind of game I would have loved to play online on Disney.com as a kid. I personally love customizing options in games and having a town builder based on a Disney franchise that I love is a lot of fun.
The only thing is that it takes an exorbitant amount of time to make any significant progress to a point where the game is one I’d consider “fun”.
So here’s my suggestion: if you have a lot of time and you’re doing something like homework or work or vacation planning (with our friends at “all for dreams” preferably) then this is a nice thing to have to play in the background.
Disney Magic Kingdoms is an enjoyable romp in your own Disney park. There’s always a special event, usually based around a current movie in theaters. And if you’re patient, there’s plenty to do and experience. The game is free and it’s worth checking out at least.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to substitute an actual Disney trip. I guess my quest continues!