Disney's Magical Mirror Starring Mickey Mouse

Review by Jen
January 2003

I don't know why I bought this game. In my experience, Disney-licensed games have always been terrible. But Magical Mirror turned out to be good, clean fun, maybe because it isn't based on a movie.

Magical Mirror is a kids' game but its relaxed pace makes it a good choice for the adventure-gaming adult Gamecube owner.

You play as none other than Mickey Mouse, world's most famous rodent. You are asleep in your bed, and your dream self is enticed into your bedroom mirror by a mischievous ghost. As soon as you're on the other side of the mirror, the ghost shatters it into 12 pieces and scatters them around Mickey's dream world. You must find the pieces to rebuild the mirror and go back "home."

Magical Mirror is a third-person, "point-and-click" game. You use the controller's thumbstick to move the smart cursor over items and click the A button to interact with the item. Besides mirror pieces, you collect "souvenir" items and star containers. Often you must spend the stars (inexplicably called "tricks" in the game; a failed translation?) in your star containers to accomplish actions, and if you don't have enough stars Mickey can't perform the action. Star containers are easily refilled, although sometimes it's tricky to figure out what item needs to be clicked when you get the "trick" screens and you wind up wasting stars in the figuring process. There are 12 of these star containers in the game, but the most stars you'll ever need to spend on a single puzzle is six.

The souvenirs have no bearing on the game proper. If you complete the game with all 12 mirror pieces and wait through the ending credits, you will get a "game clear" bonus that allows you to look around Mickey's bedroom and pick up and play with whatever souvenirs you found. I suppose this adds a level of replayability; you could play through the game again with the goal of collecting all of the souvenirs. But I played through the game twice, once for fun and once to write a walkthrough, and both times I only got around 50% of the souvenirs. Did I care? Nope. Will I ever play it again? Nope.

There are six or eight inventory items that Mickey will need to find and use appropriately, but most of the puzzles consist of environmental manipulation. Also, Mickey will need to obtain keys to unlock certain doors; once unlocked, though, the doors stay that way.

There are several minigames that become available as you progress through the house. None are essential to completing the adventure part of the game, although you will be forced to try a couple of them. It does not matter, however, if you win or lose. Some of these result in star container refills; the better you do the more stars you get. Others yield souvenirs on successful completion. These minigames run the gamut from downhill snowboarding to flying an airplane around obstacles in a race to the finish, to breaking barrels with a magic blast before they hit you.

Also, back to the adventuring part of the game, you must do some button-mashing from time to time to make Mickey, for example, jump over a hole in the floor, run quickly enough to reach the top of a steep staircase, or do a spiffy Ninja move to scare away the ghost. The required action is always clearly indicated on the screen. None of these are at all difficult and if you don't make it you get an immediate do-over. I never once failed at these (except for the couple times I did it on purpose just to see what would happen), and I am exceedingly feeble when it comes to speedy action.

There are two levels of play, "Kid" and "Normal." The "Kid" level, according to the documentation, is simplified for the very young—you don't need any stars to solve puzzles, there are fewer rooms in the mansion, game progress cannot be saved, and the game finishes one hour after starting.

Also according to the game's manual, you can use a special linking cable to hook up a Gameboy Advance with the game Magical Quest to make the Magical Mirror game world a little different.

In a departure from the usual console mindset, you can save almost anywhere in Magical Mirror. You only get one save file and must continually overwrite it, but you can have three separate games going at once. And since there are no dead ends or fatal errors, and you can move about the mansion freely and return to locations and puzzles already completed, the single save is sufficient.

Graphics are pleasingly bright and colorful. Capcom has done a good job of giving 3D Mickey the same flavor as 2D classic-Disney-cartoon Mickey. The rooms all have their own distinct character, and the pointing gloved-Mickey-hand cursor takes on a life of its own from time to time.

Music is light and lively and fairly unobtrusive, that's if you keep the volume turned low. There's not much in the way of voice acting—Mickey speaks a couple of phrases but does no oratory. And the ghost just cackles evilly from time to time. Being able to hear the sounds is not a requirement, so this game could be enjoyed by the deaf or the easily audio-annoyed even though there are no subtitles.

Magical Mirror is light and lively fare for those Gamecube owners tired of hacking and slashing through piles of demons but wanting to have a gaming good time while relaxing on their sofas in front of their TV sets. I give it a thumb up. The End

The Verdict

The Lowdown

Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Disney Interactive/Nintendo
Release Date: August 2002

Available for: Game Cube

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