Game Reviews

Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse

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Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse

Two decades ago, Sega released one of the Mega Drive's defining platform epics: Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse.

Given how bankable nostalgia is with gamers these days, it's perhaps not all that surprising that the company has decided to revisit this adventure on modern formats. The all-new Castle of Illusion hit consoles earlier this year, and this mobile offering brings the same HD gameplay to smaller screens.

Despite the name, this is more of a retelling than a remake - the core story remains the same and the levels sit somewhere between being replications and reimaginings.

There are moments which are clearly lifted from the 16-bit original, but elsewhere the developers have taken liberties with the themes and cooked up their own ideas - almost all of which enrich the experience.

One thing that has remained constant is the stiff difficulty level. Castle of Illusion is from an era when platformers were commonplace rather than a retro-tinged curiosity, and the game takes delight in testing your reactions and pushing your accuracy to the limit.

The House of Mouse

This was a hard game on consoles, but on a touchscreen platform it's even more taxing - thankfully, the control system is actually pretty decent, employing a floating virtual joystick rather than a fixed one, which means you don't have to be quite so precise when placing your thumb.

Controlling Mickey, you can leap on the heads of enemies, Super Mario-style, and you also have access to a limited number of apples. As was the case in the original game, you can lobs these at foes to take them out.

Aside from these moves, you also have to use pace to avoid danger and find your way through the often twisting and complex stages.

Walt would be proud

As if to solidify the connection between this new title and its Mega Drive inspiration, Castle of Illusion features rearranged versions of the original's songs. The quality of these tracks is fantastically high, as is the rest of the game's presentation.

Visually, it's clear that a lot of time and effort has been spent on creating Mickey's world. To round it all off, an irresistibly ebullient narrator reveals a little more of the story with each level, adding even more atmosphere.

The only real sticking point is the price - Castle of Illusion isn't cheap, which is to be expected when you consider the price of the console-based download version. But while it will cost you more than your average iOS game, what you're getting here really is a cut above the norm.

Having fond memories of the original Mega Drive game certainly helps, but whether you played that game or not Castle of Illusion is undoubtedly a quality release. Those looking for some light-hearted fun may find the learning curve a little steep, but this is the ideal way to hone those platform skills.

Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse

Castle of Illusion combines old school challenge with impeccable presentation to create a fitting tribute to one of the 16-bit era's finest platforming classics
Damien  McFerran
Damien McFerran
Damien's mum hoped he would grow out of playing silly video games and gain respectable employment. Perhaps become a teacher or a scientist, that kind of thing. Needless to say she now weeps openly whenever anyone asks how her son's getting on these days.