So, as always, I just finished playing a game and now I want to talk about it.
Today I played Disney Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse (God, that's kind of a mouthful). I should note now I bought it on steam for $14.99. I wouldn't blame you if you wanted to wait for a sale to purchase it.
What a delight this game is. Visually, it's very appealing and every inch of it tickles my nostalgia senses.
Disney is no stranger to nostalgia, and often we think more of what we remember of Disney than what they are now (really are they even relevant anymore? I mean, Pixar is fantastic but its not really Disney). In that sense Disney is what it is still because of what we remember Disney being for us at one time or another in our lives. I'm sure at some point there will be others who think back on Disney as something else entirely different from what I think about Disney(although I do wonder if the next generation will even care about Disney).
Anyway, despite my meandering I actually wanted to talk about Mickey in all of this. I realized today I haven't seen Mickey Mouse in any real relevant use in a very long time. There may be a show or something he's in now (I don't know, I stopped watching cartoons around the time the average cartoon became garbage), but Mickey hasnt really been culturally relevant in a long time.
I think the thing I loved most with Mickey were the old black and white cartoons. They were always my favorite things with Mickey. I actually always think back to the haunted house cartoon. It's a masterpiece and if you haven't seen it then you probably should (how weirdly relevant, being that all these horror games are coming out around this week and next month is October).
I grew up in the 80's, and while the black and whites were no longer "new" they still played them on the (at the time) new Disney channel (late 80s, early 90s something like that). My favorite time of the year for these cartoons, at the time, was halloween. Disney holiday specials around that time were some of the best ever created even today, but my favorites were always the halloween ones. Maybe because making something scary and also ok for kids is a real difficult task and so it comes incredible when its done perfectly. You have to make it scary but also funny. Disney always seemed to be able to pull that kind of thing off, at least for me, and I enjoyed it immensely.
I'm rambling, though. Castle of Illusion 2013 (I shortened the name, sue me) is an amalgamation of several 3d and 2d games. It is a lot what it aims to be- a reboot or remake of a classic game a lot of people loved- and it is a little bit something else. It delivers the original game in a lot of ways and even finds ways to surprise you a few times.
I really enjoyed the different layouts of the worlds and the simple, but fun, puzzles sprinkled in here and there through out the game. Traversing it also is fine (although I have heard somewhere that the controls on XBLA are awful) and for the most part I did not feel hampered. I think my only gripe was my own want to keep moving forward, really. I found myself frustrating myself more than anything. With patience and observation all the platforming, boss fighting, and (short) puzzle solving is really fairly simple.
Speaking of bosses; this game has a few. I read somewhere (maybe it was Polygon) that the boss fights in this game were the weakest part of the game. I disagree with that. They were fairly well done and while it's a simple act of discovering their patterns I think they do what games used to do which was force you to figure them out and challenge your ability to progress.
The boss fights, one and all, can be frustrating, certainly. Really, though, the majority of the frustration will come as you are trying to discover the patterns before you die. You should just give up on that first life in a first encounter with a boss, though. You will probably die the first time on most of them. Well, maybe. I mean if you have quick reflexes and adapt quickly then you can handle them fairly easily. Once you get the hang of the bosses they become simple at which point it can be a test of endurance.
The music and sound design in this game is probably my favorite part. I am so happy for that too. The game I always think of when it comes to Mickey Mouse is The World of Illusion (which was the Genesis sequel to Castle of Illusion). That game was so good I played and completed it so many times as a child I dont even remember. To top it off YOU COULD PLAY AS DONALD DUCK COOPERATIVELY WITH MICKEY! That was the greatest thing ever! It added so much more charm to the game on top of all the charm that game already had. I really actually hope this game does well so they remake or HD-ify World of Illusion because that game was SO GOOD!
Ok. Last thing I want to touch on is the how the developers tried to do something different. The game is not JUST a 2D platformer. I mean it is a platformer all the way through, but they add in moments where it suddenly shifts to a 3d plane so you can move anywhere, or makes you run up and down, or rotates the world. There's a lot of clever stuff like that that keep every world fresh and interesting all the way through the game. It never once got boring.
The game is most certainly short, which may throw some people off. I think it's the same length as the original though (clocking in for average Josh me at 2 and half hours to complete the whole game). I enjoyed every minute of it, though, and would still most certainly recommend it. The best part is, it's even great for kids. How often can you even say that about a video game anymore?
I am going to leave a photo dump at the bottom. Enjoy!