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Castle Of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse review

A Disney favourite reprises a retro gaming classic in this sprightly revamp for Mac

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If you grew up playing videogames during the late Eighties and early Nineties, then there’s a good chance you owned a Sega console. Whether you had a Master System or the more powerful Mega Drive, one of the popular titles beyond Sonic The Hedgehog featured a certain iconic mouse. Castle Of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse, placed Disney’s squeaky-voiced rodent in a colourful adventure platformer fans remember fondly. Fast-forward a sobering 24 years later and the game has been treated to a HD remake, arriving to Mac in full Retina-optimised glory.
The premise is the same though – Mickey must rescue his beloved Minnie Mouse from the clutches of evil witch Mizrabel. By bounding through a series of three ‘act’ stages you’ll fight her Masters of Illusion to reclaim seven rainbow gems. Find the lot to reveal the bridge to her captivity and endure
a final face-off with the mean old crone. In gameplay terms, this new version follows fairly faithfully the original level designs and core mechanic. Controlling Mickey is primarily about jumping and bouncing off enemies over obstacles or to reach collectables. Ducking and throwing projectiles offers subtle tactical variety but mastering the mouse’s rather pedantic pogoing is fundamental.

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Castle Of Illusion is by no means a difficult game, relying instead on trying your patience as our hero consistently slips off a ledge or defies a fiddly manoeuvre. Boss battles confound the agony by making cut-scenes non-skippable, punishing each fail with repetitive tedium. Thankfully, however, the backdrops and sprites are charming enough to make every stage teem with life. Levels are side scrolling predominantly but use 3D parallax effects to achieve depth, seamlessly switching viewpoints to integrate chase sections, etc. Characters too animate admirably with Mickey’s next-gen makeover benefitting from the added frames and resolution. Progress is nicely punctuated by a voice-over that ably maintains the strong fairytale style. It’s all very sweet, and pitched perfectly to youngsters or hopeless Disney aficionados. Sadly, more discerning players may feel short- changed by the simplicity and surprisingly short duration. An average play-through can span just two hours, although you are encouraged to revisit levels and collect stuff you missed first time.

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