“Hot dog!” Mickey exclaimed as he bounced on an enchanted suit of armour. It was Mickey’s quest to rescue Minnie from the evil witch Mizrabel (the witch from Snow Witch), who has stashed her away in her Castle of Illusion. Classic platformer plot, but that’s not why people play this genre, especially the old-school side-scrolling ones. Either you play it for the fun set pieces like in Sonic, or to help everyone’s favourite plumber to find his Princess (wrong castle try again).
To save Minnie the player has to collect seven rainbow gems to create the Rainbow Bridge to reach the final part of the Castle of Illusion. At least this game doesn’t keep moving the goalposts to keep you playing, “Damn you Princess Peach!”
The game spans a variety of locations to ensure that the player doesn’t tire, all linked to the castle. The Enchanted Forest around the castle, where Mickey finds himself the climbing the treetops to encounter a grumpy stump as the first Master of Illusion. An underwater stage where you encounter a creature that looks remarkably like Will Arnett’s character in Monsters Vs. Aliens.
My favourite stage was the Library; Mickey has to chase his shadow between the giant books. With A’s running around the level, saying A in comical fashion. And just as you were getting use to the three acts to a stage, during the Library level, your shadow tricks you into the candy kingdom which was populated with sentient pieces of candy, living around an ice cream lake which houses a liquorice dragon.
The game boosts the normal amount of collectables, the common gems, and the rarer Donald’s peppers and Magic Cards. Collecting these items will unlock different costumes for Mickey. Safari explorer Mickey, and Magician Mickey… Which I am sad to say doesn’t look like Mickey from Fantasia, but rather like Mickey fell into Minnie’s wardrobe instead. Though to be fair, I wasn’t able to unlock those two outfits, maybe more are unlocked once you’ve acquired the initial two.
To complete the game the difficulty isn’t that hard, a little frustrating at times, but no harder than your bog standard Mario or Sonic, but to get all the gems, all the collectables, I wouldn’t say it’ll be hard to achieve, but more a tedious task.
The controls were simple, but that’s what you hope for with a platformer. You don’t want to push the wrong button during a crucial jump and end up back at the start of the stage.
Castle of Illusion doesn’t break any new ground, but what can you expect. The platformer genre has been around since the dawn of the gamer. It is the genre that all gamers born pre-millennium cut their teeth on, the two-button generation of the Sega Genesis. If there were any ground to break, developers would have gone there, done that, and sent out postcards of it.
Castle of Illusion is out on the PSN and Xbox Marketplace, and it is a fun little game to play if you have the money spare. I came home from work, and fired it up for a ten-minute bash just to relax and get my gaming hat on before the real gaming starts.
I have enjoyed Castle of Illusion, even if the ending left me with Disney sickly taste, and it has served as a nice little game to help pass one of the longest weeks in gaming history. Now I’m off to wait for the postman and GTA V… See you all in a few months.