I never played the original Castle of Illusion , but I figured that wouldn’t keep me from enjoying this re-imagined version as I’m a huge Disney fan and I was sure the game would be able to stand on its own legs. After playing the game at E3, I found myself doubting whether or not resurrecting the classic game was a good choice.
My biggest gripe with the game, and perhaps this is specific to the level that was being demoed, is that aesthetically it does not feel like part of the Disney universe. Sure, you play as Mickey mouse, and there some aspects of the art direction that looks like it could have come out of an old Disney movie, but for the most part it felt generic. Generic to the point that if Mickey Mouse were not the protagonist, I wouldn’t be able to tell it was a Disney game. This is coming from someone who was raised on old-school Disney classics like Pinocchio and The Sword in the Stone.
Playing the game felt equally uninspired as I took Mickey through the level, defeating enemies and hopping around, aiming and timing my jumps in order to make the perfect landing. The controls are stiff and imprecise which made me miss more jumps than I ought to have, but the game plays at a slower pace so tight controls like you might find in a Super Meat Boy or Super Mario aren’t as crucial.
Throughout the levels there are collectibles that are used to decorate the castle and unlock new levels. There were a handful of different types of collectibles and when I inquired as to what each did, the Sega rep responded that he “didn’t know what they ALL did” so… take your best guess. Mickey also has a ranged attack (a spell, I suppose) that he can cast to defeat enemies, but the focus of the gameplay seems to be on platforming.
Perhaps I’m not the targeted demographic for Castle of Illusion , I can see a younger audience enjoying the game’s simplistic nature. There are some nice touches to the levels, like in the one I played with the sleeping giant in the background, that make them more enjoyable and fun. However, compared to the other side-scrolling platformers I played on the show floor, such as Rayman Legends and Ducktales Remastered, Castle of Illusion feels sterile.