Disney Magical Racing Hands-On

We take Disney Magical Racing for a spin. But is it really that magical, or just another kart-racing clone?

The coolest thing about Disney Magical Racing is how fast it is. This game is one seriously fast kart racer, and that's compelling enough to save the game from its boring characters and oddball premise. Unlike most kart racers, which simply have you race around a track, Disney Magical Racing has you racing about Disney's various theme parks collecting parts for a time machine. This means that not only will you have to race each track once and place first, but you'll also have to race the track again looking for parts, golden cups, and other oddities. Having to race one track three times before you can race another track really kills the gameplay for me - at times I was stuck in one area simply because I couldn't find one hidden object.

The racing isn't limited to karts - you'll get the opportunity to race in other vehicles, such as a boat in Typhoon Lagoon and a snow sled on the Madderhorn. Some tracks are linear while others are simply an arena with plenty of objects scattered about for you to find. I found that I preferred the linear tracks that simply kept you to straight racing, as the arenas often had one or two objects that were nearly impossible to find.

With the exception of Dale, the red-nosed pimp, I couldn't find any characters I really liked. For that matter, there weren't a whole lot of classic Disney characters available at the outset of the game. Pluto, Goofy, Mickey, Minnie, and Donald were nowhere to be found - it can only be hoped that these characters will eventually be included.

There are some nice graphical effects in the game - such as when your rockets flare after powersliding around a corner. The characters are mostly recognizable, and the environments are detailed and resemble their real-life counterparts. The music is catchy, and the voices sound very authentic. Thankfully, the game doesn't have any verbal taunts, as I can't imagine how horrible it would be to hear Disney characters insult each other.

Disney Magical Racing has some great moments - good shortcuts, generally balanced power-ups, and a ton of speed - but the premise of the game and mundane object-collecting really hurt the gameplay. Hopefully, Eidos will tweak the game enough to strengthen its good points before the game releases.

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