Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse is a 2013 platform video game and a remake of the original 1990 game of the same name. It is definitely not on par with the original, but it has its many strengths.
The gameplay is solid, but it has many problems. First off, the controls. The controls are definitely weak and they can be frustrating to some. I got used to them eventually, but it is definitely flawed mostly because the jumping is awfully done with barely any choice given to the player. Also, the inclusion of a castle between the levels where you can freely roam is a nice element added to the game, but it barely added anything because you cannot do much there. However, what is good is that the game is fun, as fun as the original. And I really had a great time playing it. I also love its 2.5D approach. I love 2D way more than 3D, but this game managed to have many sequences that are in the middle and that created some interesting gameplay as well as some beautiful parts visually.
Speaking of the visuals, the graphics is really good with a nicely updated cartoon feel from the original. I like the color palette and the levels are somewhat inventive and really well animated. The character design is also solid, if the villains are too reminiscent to some classic Disney villains. What I was not a fan of are the cut-scenes. They are probably the major problem the game never overcame. I don’t know why, but they decided to just put images instead of movies in those sequences and it just felt cheap. And some characters and some parts in the game felt dated visually.
The narrator can be annoying and I can see how most people would hate him, but he was not bad in my opinion. Some lines of his are even charming and he brought that innocent feel to this game that I really appreciated. The voice cast is also quite good with Mickey’s voice being very good and true to his character. The story is typical and simplistic, but it is endearing and very childlike which I liked. But interface is quite poor with weak menus and options and the lack of choice to skip the cut scenes after you die is really unfortunate.
As for the difficulty level, it is solid. It is never nearly as hard as its predecessor and some parts are incredibly easy. Also the bosses are not properly scaled with the later ones being somewhat weaker than the previous bosses. But the last boss is really good and it took me time to defeat her. I overall liked all of the bosses and they are really well realized. I also liked the number of lives you get which is neither too small nor too big. It is overall not that hard, but there are some very difficult levels in here and the level design overall is really good and a beautiful throwback to classic platformers from the 80s and 90s.
I absolutely love the soundtrack in Castle of Illusion. It is so good and so charmingly old-fashioned and catchy that it brought me back to the nineties instantly. The theme after every completed level is so fun. As for the longevity, that is certainly a problem as the game is too short. It is well split into levels and worlds, but it is way too short and can literally be played and finished in a couple of hours.