Mickey Mouse’s Illusion series began in 1990 with Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse on the Sega Mega Drive. A remake of that title was made back in 2013, but other than that an Illusion game hasn’t been made in over 20 years. Now, England-based development studio Dlala Studios revitalises the series, this time bringing Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and Donald as the starring characters. So does Disney Illusion Island offer a magical experience like its predecessors? Find out in our Disney Illusion Island review.
The adventure begins with Mickey Mouse and friends all being invited to Monoth Island for what they think is a picnic. Soon enough they meet Toku, leader of the Hokuns creatures, and inviter of the fake picnic. He then asks the awesome foursome to help recover three stolen Tomes of Knowledge that protect the island. Mickey and friends, of course, accept the plea for help, hoping to become a heroes one day.
Disney Illusion Island – Gameplay
Before I go into the gameplay aspects of the game, I would like to first say that Disney Illusion Island is a game for everyone. The game is geared towards younger gamers, but gamers of all ages can enjoy this. Difficulty can be scaled at any time, which allows you to choose how many hit counters you’re allowed before death.
Illusion Island is a 2D-scrolling Metroidvania. If you don’t know what a Metroidvania is, it’s a game that features a large interconnected map with parts inaccessible until the correct skills or equipment are acquired. Lots of backtracking in Metroidvania games. This, however, doesn’t feel tedious at all, with mechanics in place to alter some areas you’ve previously visited.
Each area brings a new ability to the mix, introducing new ways to navigate the world. The addition of wall jumping, swinging, gliding and more invites an enjoyable experience that never feels dull. Navigating to the next objective is quite easy with a marker on your map indicating the general direction you should be going. This ensures younger gamers won’t get lost traversing the map.
Combat (or lack of) and Difficulty
The real kicker is the absence of combat. Your whole journey involves avoiding enemy attacks, all of which vary with some being more difficult to dodge than others. Thankfully, checkpoints are aplenty. Healing pools are also spread across the map allowing for quick replenishment of Mickey and friends’ hearts.
The aforementioned scalability of the difficulty is brilliant and while adult gamers may not need this, it allows the game to be accessible for children. I found the final boss fight to be substantially more difficult than previous bosses during my playthrough. I almost wish that the rest of the game was as challenging as this, but can appreciate that Dlala Studios opted to take the route that they did.
Collectibles & Multiplayer
Any completionists will be happy to know that there are quite a number of items to collect in Illusion Island. Mickey Memorabilia are collectibles that commemorate old-school Mickey Mouse films and series which will give players a taste of nostalgia. Tokuns, the most hidden collectible, offers insights into character and enemy backstories. And finally, the staple Disney easter egg, Hidden Mickeys, are scattered across Monoth Island. The latter isn’t as difficult to find compared to the other collectibles, however.
Local co-op is where this game shines, though. In this day in age where local cooperative games are sparse, Illusion Island has been a delightful experience. I played half the game co-operatively and the other half solo and enjoyed my time with a partner more. There is something so satisfying about experiencing a game alongside another person. Illusion Island emulates the feeling I got playing other co-op games like It Takes Two and A Way Out. I would have liked the different characters to have different skills, but this seems like a design choice to keep the game more simplified.
Disney Illusion Island – Graphics and Audio
Veteran voice actors Bret Iwan (Mickey Mouse), Kaitlyn Robrock (Minnie Mouse), Tony Anselmo (Donald Duck), and Bill Farmer (Goofy) all reprise their roles as previously heard in Kingdom Hearts and other Disney media. It was fantastic to hear the authentic voices coming from what is considered to be Disney’s four most iconic characters. The delivery of the voice lines is top-notch with light-hearted and often funny writing by Kelsy Abbott complimenting this.
The thing that will capture everyone’s eye is the striking art style. It perfectly captures the old-school Disney animated art style we all know and love but adds a contemporary polish to it. I would love to see more games adopt this aesthetically pleasing art style. The Nintendo Switch flawlessly showcases the imaginative world created by Dlala, with no performance issues throughout my entire playthrough.
DISNEY ILLUSION ISLAND REVIEW
Disney Illusion Island is an engaging, modern take on the classic and beloved Illusion series that will spark enjoyment for gamers of all ages. While the game can feel too easy at times, the difficulty scaling can give ambitious gamers a slightly more challenging experience.
- Striking and unique art style
- Each new ability adds more enjoyment to the game
- Low price point for a highly polished and well-made game
- Will scratch that itch for Disney fans
- Can feel too easy at times.
- Different characteristics for each character would have been great