Published on November 9th, 2013 | by Duke0911
Review: Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
Developer(s): Sega Studios Australia
Publisher(s): Sega and Disney Interactive Studios
System(s): PlayStation Network, Xbox LIVE Arcade, and Steam
Release Date(s): September 3, 2013 (PlayStation Network), September 4, 2013 (Xbox Live Arcade, Steam)
Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse is a basic platformer that was released in 1990 on the Sega Genesis, and then a year later on the Game Gear. The story here starts with Mickey and Minnie enjoying a small picnic, when suddenly the evil witch, Mizrabel, kidnaps Minnie and takes her away to the Castle of Illusion. It’s up to Mickey to travel across different worlds inside the castle, and save Minnie before Mizrabel steals her youth for herself.
The story for this modern take on Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse is kept the same. There are now nicely drawn cinematics here and there, with narration scattered throughout the game. It was as if I watching a live performance at a theater, and I felt it was pulled off nicely; nothing sounded like it was read directly from a script.
The game is a 2D (and occasionally 3D) platformer where you can collect various items to use as projectiles as a means to attack enemies. This, or simply jumping off of enemies are your only methods of defending yourself, but enemies as a whole aren’t that threatening in this game. Jumping in general just feels right for this type of game. There’s no momentum with your movements, and the level design benefits from that with precision platforming. I never felt that there was anything tricky with this game, although the game as a whole is very tamed in difficulty.
After the opening you’re thrown into a tutorial area outside the castle, and will eventually make your way to the castle itself. This will be the main hub of the game, where you access levels and view bonus content collected throughout the game. There are at least 2 hidden collectibles per level, with 75 diamonds you can pick up as well. These are required to an extent, in that you need a certain number of diamonds in order to open up the next set of levels. Thankfully you won’t have to go too far out of your way to find them with the linear structure of the levels.
The levels themselves look amazing in this game, and though a level is called one thing, it may look like something else entirely. In one set of levels, you’ll be shrunk to the size of a worm in a library, jumping from moving books and swinging off of lamp strings. In another moment you’ll be thrown into a world completely made of candy, baked goods, and other tasty treats. Each level is relatively small, but the change in aesthetics in between each act keeps the game constantly refreshing.
At the end of each world you’ll come face-to-face with a Gem Keeper, and the fights really just amount to figuring out there attack pattern and taking action when the chance presents itself. I will admit that they’re a lot of fun to play and creative with exposing their weakness, but just like the entire game itself, they’re pretty easy to beat.
The updated musical score works for the game, but nothing more. I can say that I enjoy the music while playing the game; especially since each musical piece fits the aesthetics perfectly, but none of it is anything I would listen to outside of the game. I don’t find this a terrible factor, but I find it a bit hard trying to recall many musical pieces from Castle of Illusion without having to listen to the first minute of a track; most of them are pretty forgettable to me.
The game can be finished in just one sitting, and that includes finding all of the collectibles. Time Attack becomes available for you to attempt in the acts you completed, but with Mickey’s slow running speed it’s nothing too interesting. It’s worth trying out, especially if you want an easy Trophy/Achievement, but it comes off as an afterthought in the end. Online leaderboards also allows you to compare your top scores against others across the globe, so there’s a little incentive for replaying levels if you’re the competitive type.
Castle of Illusion is the first game in the Illusion series, with my only exposure being World of Illusion Staring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck up until this re-imagining. Castle of Illusion is worth a download even if it is a short game, and it has me really interested in seeing more Illusion games given this treatment, especially World of Illusion, which is one of my personal favorite games of all time. There’s really not much to say about this game, but that doesn’t make it bad. In fact, I find this is a great starting point, and I hope Sega and Disney decide to come back to this concept with the next game in the original series.
+ Really easy to pick up
+ Stunning visuals and locales
+ Controls are “just right”
+ Great narrative
– Bland Time Attack
Final score: 4 out of 5