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Do you like Animal Crossing? Are you a major fan of Disney and its gallery of characters? You might want to pay attention to Disney Magical World, set to release on April 11 for the Nintendo 3DS.

We were invited to check out Disney Magical World, developed by h.a.n.d. and published by Nintendo here in the US, through an early access preview. Nintendo offered up a look at the game while allowing us to write about our experiences within with no major restrictions. In fact, the only rules they offered up were ones that would negatively affect the game’s community; you know, no profanity, racism, that kind of thing.

So, we agreed. Here we are with an early copy of the game, something I was able to dig into a lot over this past weekend as a sat in bed with a horrific stomach virus.

I’ll be completely honest: I wasn’t entirely sold at first. This is a life simulator with a Disney twist, something fans of both worlds should be excited about. The first hour or so of play, though? A little too slow and heavy handed.

It wasn’t until I got away from that that Disney Magical World had my attention, and I was actually enjoying my time in the space.

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While the goal in Animal Crossing might be seeing how the world changes on a day-to-day basis while customizing your home, chatting with villagers, catching fish and hunting for fossils, Disney Magical World actually presents tangible goals. They might be fetch-quest style offerings or requests to perform specific actions, but the game actually sets down a manageable path of progression alongside the freedom it offers.

It’s that heavy handed guidance that might actually interest folks who were dissuaded away from Animal Crossing‘s “pointless” nature. There’s a point here, beyond all the silliness, and that makes doing things in the game a little more rewarding.

I think Animal Crossing is the better overall experience. It’s smoother, more addicting, more enchanting. Disney Magical World, though, scratches a different itch. While Animal Crossing‘s progression is more open ended, Disney Magical World immediately makes you feel like you’re getting somewhere.

And I’m still only at the beginning. With 10 hours played, I feel like I’ve just started to scratch the surface of what the game has to offer. I’ve got a cafe, and I’m meeting familiar Disney characters at regular intervals.

If this game interests you, stay tuned. We’ll be covering it a bit more in the coming weeks.