Aw, shucks. Mizrabel just flew off with Minnie. I’ve got to rescue her (‘cause that’s how the Mouse rolls, yo…)
Welcome to the shiny new Mac edition of Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse. Yes, now the Mac crowd can play the newly reimagined version of this old ’90s chestnut. The premise is still the same—the wicked witch (Mizrabel) has captured Minnie and plans to drain her youth. Your job as Mickey is, of course, to rescue Minnie, so you better start running.
The game lets you know a game controller is the best way to play, but I found the keyboard was not too cumbersome to use as there are only six commands to use; the four arrow keys handle moving, the spacebar is the jump button and the “option” button at the lower right is used to throw things. The dual function of the down arrow button is noteworthy; at certain points in the game it functions as the “duck” command (no, it doesn’t summon Donald). As for the controls, I do have bone to pick withthe jump timing. There is a small delay between pressing the space bar and Mickey jumping. If you are not used to it, the delay is enough to throw off your timing and cost you a hit.
As you approach the castle, the portcullis and doors open to you. Once inside, you can access different chambers based on how many diamonds (and colored diamonds) you have collected. For example, in the first chamber there are three doors, each one for a different level. As you complete a level, the next door becomes available, and at the end of the last level in the chamber you get to face the Boss. Defeat the Boss and you collect one of the colored diamonds you need to complete the rainbow bridge to get to Minnie.
The different levels are set in a variety of environments, from an enchanted forest to a kid’s room full of toys to caverns with waterfalls.
Some of the levels include simple puzzles such as a circle of pillars; jump on the correct ones and the bridge stones will come up so you can proceed. A little thinking along with the running and jumping is a welcome feature.
Don’t forget while you’re running and jumping all over the place to collect stars, diamonds, hidden playing cards and little mouse statuettes you will also need to avoid a barrage of baddies. Jump and land on the baddies’ head and they disappear, or you can choose to avoid them or even throw something at them to make them vanish. Some of fields involve some creative thinking to traverse the playing grid, like using the image in a mirror to see where the floor really is (and isn’t).
Hey, it is the Castle of Illusion after all.
The graphics are clean and detailed 3D renderings with, true to Disney form, lots of rich colors for a visual treat. Some levels offer more freedom to move around than others, but there is a route you have to take for everywhere you go in the game. The background music is mood suited and easy enough on the ears.
One minor negative is the narration. While there is a back-story and the narration provides a lot of useful information, snippets of the narration repeat with every attempt at a level. This gets a bit wearisome if you have to repeat a round (like one of the bosses) a few times. It would be better if there was a way, after the first introduction to a situation, to skip the narrative and get down to business. One other oddity I noticed with the game (by the way, I was playing it on Steam) was that to get out of the game you have to use an exit option three times: once to get out of the level and back to the main castle chamber, a second time to exit the game, and a third time to re-enter the game (to get to the main menu) and select exit game. Overkill. How about a “save and close” option that saves the game and, for kicks and giggles, actually exits the game?
The game play is pretty straightforward and, aside from the jump timing, pretty dcent. Mickey does look a bit odd when all you want to do is take a single step (or half step), but the animation is geared to Mickey running through most of the scenery, so no big issue there. Timing on a lot of the jumps is exacting, but not out of the ordinary. There are some combination jumps required to get to certain goodies, so you may need to try it a couple times to get it just right. The bosses are not overly difficult to beat, and if Mickey gets squashed and looses the round it’s still done in a very Disneyesque fashion.
Given the difficulty and kid-friendly nature of the adventure, I think it’s safe to say this isn’t a title for the hardcore gamers, but rather for the younger crowd. It’s a fun game with only a few idiosyncrasies and minor annoyances.
If you’re down with The Mouse, this is a good addition to your collection, and possibly a stroll down memory lane to the 1990s when the game made its debut on Sega. It is fun, pretty to look at, and will keep you busy (especially if you go back to completed levels to search for all the goodies).
Besides, Minnie would be ever so grateful for the rescue.
Mac Publisher: Feral Interactive
Minimum System Requirements: OS X v10.8.5, 1.8 GHz single core processor, 4GB RAM, 256MB graphics card, 900MB disk space, keyboard
Network Feature: No
Availability: Out now