Disney Illusion Island (2023) Game Review – A fun-filled platformer for the whole family

A fun-filled platformer for the whole family

Disney Illusion Island is a fun, vibrant platformer, playing out as a cross between a Metroidvania and old 90’s Disney platformers, all sprinkled in with a touch of Super Mario Bros for good measure. The result is a title that doesn’t push the boat out or do anything different from the norm, but polishes itself up as a fun game well worth checking out  – especially if you intend to play with friends or family.

The story is straightforward enough and centers on Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald and Goofy, who are summoned to the mysterious island of Monoth to take part in a dangerous mission.

Their goal is to gather three magical Tomes that are used to protect the island. They’ve been taken away, throwing the Island into chaos. Naturally, Mickey and co. need to set out and bring them back, venturing into the world and setting things right.

As a Metroidvania, Illusion Island takes place in one expansive world, with a map that grows larger and more elaborate the longer you play. However, there’s a big emphasis on platforming and traversal rather than combat here, and as you progress through the game and unlock new abilities (more on that shortly), all of these are tailored toward platforming rather than fighting.

The world is designed pretty well, with plenty of teasing glimpses of areas you can’t progress to early on until you unlock new abilities. As you work through the game, Illusion Island throws in different inhabitants that you do quests for. Sometimes, these people will help teach you new abilities. These range from Wall Jumps to Swinging, all the way across to swimming and even smashing glowing rocks on the floor to pave the way for more routes.

This constant cycle of showcasing additional moves and accessing new areas, helps to prevent the game from stagnating, and there’s a constant desire to freshen things up as a result. If that wasn’t enough, there’s some boss fights in here too, and a couple of imaginative platforming sections that actually encourage teamwork. Working with a couple of friends and playing through this one is ultimately the best way to play, and we’d highly recommend doing so if you can. Given this was released on the Switch, that console is tailor-made for these sort of multiplayer games!

Illusion Island is certainly no walk in the park though. Some of the sections are legitimately difficult and require precise jumping and platforming. This may prove to be a problem for some younger gamers, but the game does everything it can to make this as accessible as possible.

When choosing your starting character, the game gives you the choice of difficulty, coming in the form of the number of Hearts you start with. You can choose to go in with practical invincibility, 3 hearts or even just 1. There are plentiful checkpoints laid out across the landscape too, while a death will just see you respawn over there rather than result in a Game Over. All of these are very welcome inclusions, especially if you choose (like this reviewer did) to play through parts of this with your kids!

On top of the standard missions and traversing around the map, Illusion Island throws in a good number of collectibles too. There are special “Tokun” cards dotted around the world, plenty of secret areas hidden in plain sight, “Mickey Memorabilia”, and even a form of currency called Glimt, which unlocks some neat additions, like framed pictures that can actually unlock extra hearts if you complete them all.

As a Metroidvania, Illusion Island similarly falls into the same traps that other counterparts do too. There’s a lot of backtracking through previous areas, with one particular mission requiring you to literally move from the far left of the map all the way to the right, progressing through 4 different areas. Without stopping, this will take about 10-15 minutes of pedaling through repeated worlds you’ve seen before.

Similarly, the game throws up numerous locked doors along the way that requite three keys to unlock, dotted around in the general area. While that in itself is fine, that same pattern is repeated so often that you’ll likely find yourself exploring thoroughly before progressing to your destination just incase stray keys are dotted around! 

Overall though, there’s plenty to like with Illusion Island. This is a fun, vibrant platformer that feels designed to be played in multiplayer with your friends or family. While it’s not going to blow anyone away, this is well worth checking out all the same.

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  • Verdict - 7/10

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