Mickey Mouse and his friends treat themselves to a new platform game worthy of their cult adventures of the 90s.
Licensed games adapted from cult franchises don’t have the best of reputations. From the early 2000s through the 2010s, almost every cinematic release came with a slew of mediocre games. Each platform was entitled to its own version of a title that had the sole purpose of increasing movie-related sales. A sort of digital derivative product in short.
Today, these funny adaptations are nothing more than an ugly memory: licensed titles are regaining their charm of yesteryear. If the 80s and 90s were not exempt from a few disasters of the genre either, certain nuggets were able to mark the industry. This is particularly the case with certain adaptations of Walt Disney franchises, starting with the Mickey games in the series Illusion.
Following Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse in 1990 on Mega Drive, SEGA consoles have become the go-to place for excellent platforming and adventure games from the big-eared studio. The word Illusion now carries a certain heritage, which Disney Games reclaims with Disney Illusion Islanda very promising co-op platform game.
A half-measure Metroidvania
For this new component, the developers of the Dlala studio have chosen to explore a new style of platformer to the franchise. Disney Illusion. The usual linear levels give way to an open world like Metroidvania. In tune with the times, the genre has become widely popular in recent years through numerous independent productions. After Hollow Knight, Ori and the Blind Forest or Blasphemousit’s time for Disney to take back the legacy left by Metroid And Castlevania.
Faced with the target audience of Mickey Mouse-stamped productions, this Disney Illusion Island appropriates the codes of the genre to better adapt them. Rather than leaving the player in the shadows, the title does not hesitate to take adventurers by the hand to guide them. Many tutorials and a progressive introduction of game mechanics allow beginners to approach this usually complex gameplay.
Regulars will certainly regret the simplified format, but will have the pleasure of immersing themselves in it with their loved ones. The title is designed as a multiplayer experience, a cooperative dimension that is reminiscent of a clever mix between Guacamelee and the latest platformers Rayman from Ubisoft. Before fully enjoying the adventure, however, you will have to survive the first hour of play punctuated by an almost off-putting pace. Good things come to those who wait for.
M for “Mickey” and “Modular”
Despite its pedagogical approach to the genre of Metroidvania, Disney Illusion Island wants to be friendly for all players. If the casual structure of the adventure cannot be readjusted to the needs of each adventurer, the title implements other ways to spice up the adventure, starting with a modular and individual difficulty. This platformer playable up to 4 offers players to embody one of the members of the cult quartet, made up of Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy. At the start of the game, participants choose their favorite toon and are then asked to decide their own amount of life.
Contrary to the usual formula of the genre, the characters will not gain resistance as they explore. This is to be defined for each new game session and for each character, according to the desire of the moment. With three, two, or just one heart, exploring the Island can be both a fun ride and a constant battle. The many checkpoints still avoid making the adventure annoying for those who have decided to perish at the slightest contact with an enemy.
In addition to this freedom in terms of accessibility, Disney Illusion Island reserves the best of its gameplay for multiplayer games. Enough to motivate adventurers to invite a few friends. Indeed, certain abilities and special movements are reserved for groups of 2, 3 or 4. These skills are entirely optional, but allow you to approach the exploration of biomes in a new way. They are to be found in a dedicated list of the main menu, a guide of keys to learn which would almost remind the commands of certain fighting games. The gaming experience is versatile, and can satisfy all types of players.
A dip into the world of toons
The title does not only carry Disney in its name to attract fans, but above all intends to honor this heritage. The 2D adventure offers beautiful animated graphics, directly inspired by the latest mouse cartoons. In 2013, the Burbank Studios mascot returned to its roots with a modern animated series, inspired by the cartoons of yesteryear. This effective graphic identity inspires that of Disney Illusion Island to bring these small screen productions to life.
From its first moments, the game plunges us into a series of cutscenes (fully dubbed in French with the official voices) placing us at the heart of the cartoon. The introduction is even so long that one might think of an episode in its own right, only interspersed with a few moments of gameplay. It is with great pleasure that we find the characteristic and offbeat humor of the studio’s cartoons, which do not hesitate to punctuate their speech with easter eggs for fans.
Apart from cutscenes, the game’s animation style and interactions with the environment are reminiscent of the excellence of Rayman Origins And Legendsthat Disney Illusion Island attempts to imitate without ever equaling. This attempt still offers the platformer a worked and pleasant artistic direction throughout the adventure. Each character enjoys unique animations for each of their moves and skills for individuality unique to their character. This kind of nice detail completes a great adventure to share. However, we regret that these differences only concern the animations and not the operation of the said capacities.