Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse is a modern day version of the popular Sega Genesis classic, and iOS enthusiasts may initially scoff at its $9.99 price tag. One of tablet and mobile gaming's biggest assets is playing apps completely on the cheap, so the folks at Disney Interactive are already putting themselves in the hole. What if it's not worth the dough? But this is Walt Disney, where doing the impossible is simply another hill to climb.
As Mickey Mouse, you traverse inside a castle where the evil witch Mizrabel has kidnapped your beloved Minnie. This is no ordinary domain, as different doorways will lead you into dangerous forests and terrains which lead you a step closer to your goal. To control Mickey, you will tap the left side of your device for movement, with the right section used for jumping. A red button, also located on the right, enables you to throw projectiles at targets which block your path or, better yet, open up treasure chests. If you're a joystick kind of person, a virtual stick can also be chosen as part of your control options. Before we discuss the most important facet of Castle of Illusion, let us take a quick peek at the castle's bejeweled interior.
Don't expect a smooth sailing platform experience with Castle of Illusion, as this adventure may frustrate more impatient gamers. The complexity originates with Mickey's jumping, as it requires a bit of thought and coordination to navigate your way through this fantasy adventure. Timing is also of the essence, and there may be a share of frustrating moments when you will overshoot your target and fall to your death. Our faithful mouse will also perish if he accidentally bumps into seemingly innocuous objects like mushrooms. Picking up random stars will replenish your lives, and thankfully they are in plentiful supply during your journey.
This app requires a full command of your surroundings as well as having near pinpoint accuracy with most of your movements. This isn't a tiptoe through the tulips type of title, so unless you intend to give it your best shot, don't expect to see Minnie anytime soon. If you also see a big apple that isn't New York City, just run for cover!
For almost $10, you're actually getting more than your average platform or endless runner. It's an app that really does "star" Mickey Mouse, since the HD graphics, coupled with its nuanced and inspired design, give the game a cinematic type experience. Every second of your Castle of Illusion time can be captured with a screen shot and saved as a beautiful picture. It may not be a one of a kind animation cell, but it's hard not to fall in love with the app's sheer sense of wonder.
No matter what genre, boss fights are entertaining, but on average, highly uninspiring. There's a been there, done that mentality whenever we approach these crossroads, realizing we'll have to take on some intimidating enemy before progressing to the next level. My encounter with Mizrabel's first minion absolutely blew my socks off. Each stage begins with a couple of lines of dialogue from an unidentified narrator, as a rapid cut scene is seamlessly blended in before the action. Seconds before the fight, I was still marveling at the wizened tree before me, covered within the forest's deepest shadows.
I do wish Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse was a bit easier to play and also had a cheaper price point. But these are minor complaints to an otherwise outstanding release. Disney will always have a direct connection to our hearts and minds, but that kind of love is won through years of excellence and unfettered imagination. Mickey may have a few illusions in store, but he's got the right kind of magic to get him by.