Disney is expanding their presence in the video game scene with Disney Illusion Island. In this cute and quirky platformer, you play as Disney classic characters Mickey, Minnie, Donald, or Goofy and make your way through a vast world to return Toems stolen from the Hokuns. There are three sections to explore with a Toem in each. Along the way you gain new tools and abilities.
As you begin to dive into the world and expand beyond the area you start in, you’ll notice your map get larger, and larger. It’s definitely a Metroidvania map with a lot to uncover, all connected, with different things available in certain sections based on what abilities you’ve unlocked. This may seem overwhelming at first but as you get used to your abilities and side tasks (which are slowly introduced to give players time to adjust) you begin to know what to look for and where. There is always a Mickey Mouse sign marker that shows where the current objective is, even if that section of the map has yet to be uncovered, so you at least have an idea of where to head.
A really big plus to the game, for me, is the ability to play solo or multiplayer. I find that sometimes with platformers that give this option, it’s much better one way or the other. However, Disney Illusion Island has seamlessly offered a great experience either way. Since this is such a kid-friendly game, it makes it a great option for parents to play with their young kids. The only downside to multiplayer is everyone has to be on the same page as to where you’re going or your character will get lost off-screen.
Another feature that opens this game up to multiple audiences is the way that difficulty options are handled. All that happens is you have more or less lives at a time depending on what kind of playstyle you prefer. For players who prefer to follow the story and have a chill game, or even for young children just learning to play, there are three lives. For those who are more experienced with the gameplay and enjoy the challenge of a Metroidvania, there is one life. Of course, there’s also an in-between option for anyone looking for a bit of both with two lives.
I will say, for those looking for a challenge, the only time you really experience Illusion Island’s challenge (even with just one life) is in the battles for the Toems. There are many save points around the map that prevents much back-tracking when you lose all your lives. This is a benefit to new, easy-going players, but more experienced players may find this too easy.
Lovable Side Characters
In addition to the crew of four, you’ll also see some other fun recurring side characters that help you along your journey or are part of the story. When you begin the game, you’re tricked into the forest for a fake picnic by the adorable Hokuns who need the Toems back. These bunny-like creatures are humorous and sweet, difficult to hate. But my personal favorite is Mazzy, who the crew notes always seems to show up just when you need him. He’s an inventor crocodile who personalizes items to help Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy along the way to unlock new areas. These are just a few of many examples of the NPCs you’ll encounter that add so much to the experience by breaking up your time hopping from one area to the next.
Dialogue and Art
I always got excited to see another character come onto screen because the dialogue was surprisingly enjoyable. Instead of just sticking to the basics of what you need to do, it is written in a very engaging sense, with humor and personality for each character, including the NPCs. The jokes are clean fun the whole family will find funny but not juvenile to the point that adults won’t enjoy them on its own.
As you’d expect from Disney, the cutscenes play very much like a television show. I found myself often forgetting I was playing a game and not watching TV. I also appreciated the modern take on the character style with influence from the classic cartoons. There’s a fresh look with a bit of nostalgic touch. These things combined made the cutscenes very enjoyable to watch.
Good for Kids and Adults
Whether you’re looking to pick this up and play it with the littles in your life or you’re looking to play it for yourself, this is a quick and enjoyable platformer with a lot to offer. It’s something that’s an enjoyable, laid-back play. However, if you want a challenge you may want to turn to another title.
- This article was updated on July 28th, 2023