Disney Magical Dice is a strange beast. I mean, we all know Disney. The company is responsible for those awesome movies and cartoons that we’ve loved since we were little. And we all know Monopoly, the best “Capitalism Simulator” that exists in board game form. Normally the two elicit polar opposite emotions: Disney brings us happiness, love, and some tears. Monopoly pits us against one another, destroying friendships and causing more sibling rivalries than I care to admit. Joining the two would seem like a strange idea; we’ve seen the success and failure of the branded Monopoly games before, and I didn’t think Disney as a theme would work all that well on paper. But…
THERE AINT NO PAPER HERE FOLKS! In the digital space, Disney Magical Dice is the perfect juxtaposition of tabletop gameplay, mobile control, customization, and Disney branding!
The tutorial and practice modes are excellent at getting the player aquainted with the nuances and changes to the classic ruleset. From new win conditions (owning 3 sets of coloured spaces, controlling all non-property spaces, etc) to mobile-friendly controls, it’s all laid out in an easy to follow and understand process. Players are given the option to play over Wi-Fi OR local Bluetooth, with 2-4 players in a free-for-all or team match. Friends can be added to a game from your friends list, and any remaining players can be auto-matched to your game (even if it’s just two players). There’s even multiple game boards, with some different effects depending on the square players land on.
Like most mobile games with IAP currency, Disney Magical Dice uses collectible costume cards to power up or fuse other costume cards together to increase their stats. And while the way it’s designed would normally draw ire, the totally random nature of the Monopoly-style gameplay makes all of the stats and bonuses near-irrelevent to the casual player. And the sheer amount of freebies and extras you can get as a casual (or free) player is astronomical. I always find myself impressed by developers who insist of showing the value of their product as a means to get players paying for the game, and Netmarble is no exception. By inundating the player with tons of freebies, it gives them the freedom to explore a lot more of the game before paying for premium content (extra IAP currency, temporary bonuses, etc), and that’s something I can get behind.
The random nature of the game means that while the paid bonuses from premium characters, dice, and 1-off boosts at the start of the game can give some advantage, it doesn’t have a huge impact. The random nature of the dice rolls and the input of other players often means a game can have comeback after comeback fueled not by paid bonuses, but by simple play. On more than one occasion, I won a game against opponents that had me dead to rights, totally beat. I was near broke for coins, I had lower overall property value, and the opponent had a town festival set on one of their best possible spots. And I still managed to win; partly because of random luck, and partly because of the new alternative win conditions.
There’s a lot of customization that should make fans of classic Monopoly happy (if only there was a car piece), while adding in new win conditions to keep it fun and fresh and not the dedicated ruiner of friendships. It’s probably one of, if not the best, expression of the Monopoly-style game on mobile to date. The Disney flair adds a lot of fun and excitement to the gameplay, and the easy controls make it perfect for both the casual player and pros. There’s really no reason not to try Disney Magical Dice; it’s free, it’s basically Disney Monopoly, and it’s fun. What more could you want?