Walt Disney World's latest foray into location-based game play, "Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom" is nearing it's official opening at the end of February, with play testing currently taking place daily. Following on from Epcot's Kim Possible Adventure
, "Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom" is a similar location-based activity, but this time takes guests around the Magic Kingdom on a card-based adventure to battle Disney Villains.
The game begins with registration at the Fire House in Town Square on Main Street USA. A small queue on the left side of the building includes a video display that gives guests some idea of what the game is about and begins to set the scene for the story. Once through the queue, sign up is done at the registration desks with a Cast Member. The guests park entry ticket is scanned, and the guests are given a map, 5 playing cards, and a key card that unlocks each game portal in the park. An immediate training session follows, where under the supervision of a Cast Member, the process for playing the game is demonstrated.
Unlike Kim Possible, which uses a phone-type device, this game's interface is very basic, using only cards. Holding a key card up to a key hole activates the game portal, and then battling a villain is done by holding a game card in front of you, facing the screen.
The games are based in each of the lands of the Magic Kingdom, but each game keeps players in the same land. Our first play test was in Fantasyland. From the training center, you are told to head to a specific portal to begin the game. Using the supplied map, you locate the symbol that matches your start point, and head to that portal. Our starting portal had a line of about 6 guests already waiting to play. This was a problem, as we got to view (and hear) much of what was about to happen before we even began our session. Once it was our turn, we held the key card up to the key hole, and our session began. Merlin appeared on screen in an animated video format and briefed us on the story of a villain invading the Magic Kingdom which we must help to defeat. There are subtitles, as well as audio, which is audible to anyone in the area. The 2 minute sequence ended with Merlin directing us to another window portal in Fantasyland. Here the map comes into play again to locate the physical location of that symbol. The actual window was maybe a 10 second walk from the first, in fact, you can see all of the Fantasyland locations from each other. Again, at the second window there was a queue of about 6 or 7 groups ahead of us, and we again saw much of the video sequence before it was our turn. Once the game began, more video progressed the story, and we had to engage in our first battle. Here is where the current play testing didn't make much sense. We were asked to battle Ursula, and basically we just held up one of our game cards, and it was used to defeat the villain. We were then sent to the third and final window, where we did the same again, and that was the end of the game. We can only assume that in the final version, there will be more to the game play than just holding up a random card. Each game card does feature numbered categories with numerical levels, such as "Quick Attack 4", 'Quick Shield 2". It seems that these will be used in harder difficulty levels once the game goes live.
Comparisons will certainly be made with Epcot's Kim Possible Adventure
, and based on what we have seen so far, Kim Possible seems to have the edge. What makes Kim Possible so good, is that the effects are done on real physical sets, and the interface uses a variety of features on the handset. You really get a feeling for exploring World Showcases intricate details. With Sorcerers, all the game play is done by holding up a card, and all the story elements are video screens in Windows, with no physical effects. The game windows are also very close to each other, and do not really take you off the beaten track. As it stands right now, Sorcerers does not have much game play, and becomes repetitive very quickly. Something that some guests will certainly like, is the collectable nature of the game cards. There are 70 in the series, and you do get to keep each of the 5 that you receive each time you play. There will no doubt be some trading and Ebay action on these!
We'll wait until the final version of the game debuts later this month to cast our final opinion on Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, but hopefully this run-through of the play testing has given you an idea of what to expect. Head below for a photo tour of 'Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom".