I'm really surrised there is nobody talking about this game in the forums.
Castle Of Illusion is a game I have fond memories of because a bunch of friends and I traded the controller around trying to beat it at a sleepover when I was young. I never had a Sega Genesis, so I never played the game ever again. When I saw that they were remaking the game, I was excited to play it again and hoping that the new game would do my memories justice.
It doesn't. The new Castle Of Illusion, from what I can tell/remember, has almost nothing to do with the old game aside from the general theme. This is going to upset nostalgia gamers, and I can imagine Jeff dumping on it just for that reason.
But what Castle of Illusion IS, is an absolutely gorgeous, clever and fun celebration of Disney. To some extent, it feels like what Warren Spector was probably TRYING to do with Epic Mickey. I can't over-stress how gorgeous this game is. To some extent, it feels like a "next generation" game. It's not that the visuals are high poly models or that it uses some complex physics or something, it is just so overrun with loving attention to detail that it feels on a whole other level than other games of this generation. By that, I mean that it is essentially a "platform game", but the "path" frequently feels completely invisible because the environment is so completely cohesive. Details like the way that mickey's ear (I guess) shifts around on top of his head so that both ears are showing whether he is in profile or facing the camera are just amazing. The game makes me wish I had a much bigger tv (I use a 17 inch monitor). The orchestrated music is incredible as well. The rumbling of the low end strings sounds rousing during things like chase scenes, and it makes me even more angry at the games industry for abandoning videogame music in favor of incidental musical stingers (to be more like movies.)
The level design is fantastic. The game isn't hard, by any stretch of the imagination, which would be major points off in my book, except that there is always a little challenge just off the main path to keep you interested, and these can actually be fairly difficult. It's fine if games are easy, so long as there is the option for challenge and difficulty for those who want it. It's also incredibly clever. My only potential disappointment is that they won't crank the difficulty up on some of the more clever puzzle interludes for them to really shine.
The game basically steals the hub interface of Super Mario 64 and applies it to Castle Of Illusion. That's totally fine, in my book. In fact, when the OG Xbox was brand new, there was a mickey game in development to make the launch window. It turned out to be some kind fo point and click gimmick game that was quietly cancelled, but I always hoped it would be a Mario 64-like Mickey Adventure. Castle Of Illusion feels exactly like what I hope that would have been.
At this point, (just cleared world 2) the only negatives I see are that the game is, as I said, somewhat easy. Lives don't really matter, which means 1-ups and health upgrades don't really matter. WHich means collectibles don't matter. WHich means you have no incentive to complete challenges to collect them. In that way, it fails in it's design, but that's common for games these days. many gamers would probably see it as a plus to not have the "stress" of having to worry about those gameplay elements. Also, mickey controls a little clunky. This reared it's ugly head in once chase scene where I died a few times trying to get mickey to turn a corner from "3d control" to "2d control" (like an old playstation game). His jump is also a little too floaty, but that is in keeping with the original game, I believe.
IN the end, if you love platform games, buy this game.
If you love Disney, BUY THIS GAME.
If you want to see SEGA somehow, out of the blue, do something right for a change, buy this game.
If you want to play a game that is charming instead of mean spirited or angst, buy this game.
If you have 15 bucks... Buy this game!