When it comes to Disney games, many are considered to be either tough and overwhelming or easy and something one can easily breeze through. On top of that, many are movie games that have a direct tie-in to one of Disney’s cinematic movies; it is rare to find a game connected to Disney that they have developed or directly published. Earlier this year, Disney welcomed members of the media to preview Disney Illusion Island at Disneyland and at Summer Game Fest. With the holidays just around the corner, we thought we’d share with you a game that can be enjoyable for all gamers. Here is our holiday Disney Illusion Island review.
Disney Illusion Island (2023)
Developer: Dlala Studios
Publisher: Disney Games
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: July 28, 2023
Players: 1 to 4 local
Typically, when it comes to platformers, I clock out. Not because they are bad or poorly made, just that I suck at them. In fact, when playing Ori and the Blind Forest, I died over 150 times before beating the game for the first time.
Sadly, it’s my worst genre of games but that does not stop me from trying them. What makes Disney Illusion Island special and different from other platformers is the game’s accessibility.
At the start of the game, players get to choose which character they want to play as and what difficulty they want to play on ranging from infinite to hard (1 health bar).
The infinite health mode allows players with little experience or skill to be able to enjoy the game and learn the platforming mechanics; meanwhile, the hardest difficulty gives players who like a challenge something to sweat about.
Disney Illusion Island‘s gameplay revolves predominately around platforming. In fact, even the combat within the game is platforming focused with the player having to interact with or land on certain objects in order to damage the boss.
As the player progresses through the game, they are rewarded for their accomplishments by the inventor; the inventor gives players new abilities that help them access paths they were previously incapable of. Each item given to the characters is character-specific and tied to their personalities and characteristics; these abilities can be rather comical especially when playing in a group of four.
Whether a die-hard fan of platformers or a newcomer, Disney Illusion Island offers gameplay of varying difficulties to all players. As the game progresses, so does the difficulty of the levels and environment.
Thankfully, if you have less skilled players tagging along, you can help them catch up one of two ways: offering them a rope to climb up or having them be mailed to you. The mail system works one of two ways: 1. when a player dies they can be mailed to a checkpoint mailbox where they will be revived or 2. have their letter mailed to you directly and they respawn.
For settings, the player can adjust how fast the mail is sent, reduce screen shake, and slow down the timed speed challenges. The game features eight audio languages and nine subtitled languages.
When it comes to Disney Illusion Island’s story, the story’s plot is a bit lacking. The game takes roughly five to seven hours to complete if you have an invincible or competent player to push the platforming along.
The story itself is a bit underwhelming with the explanation of why or how Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and Donald got to the island barely discussed; instead, the game has a long-winded and childish introduction to the village’s inhabitants as they plead their case of why the four Disney characters should help.
While playing through the game, the story is barely addressed outside of the players gathering the missing books and taking down the thieves who stole them; it is not til the end that the game, when it explains why it had to be these four characters that the plot makes sense.
For a Disney game, the story seems overly simplistic and in fact, dumbed down to the point that a toddler could play it and get the general concept. Yes, the game is rated E for everyone, but it could have had a little more depth; hell, even a bit of tie-in to previous Mickey & Friends tales that the Hokuns (Island Inhabitants) reference.
At the end of the day, the game’s story is a good introduction to the genre for young players but subpar for those who have experienced it before or grown up with the genre.
When it comes to fun family games to play during the Holiday season, Disney Illusion Island is a great accessible game that gamers of all ages can play. In fact, it is one of three games that any family should pick up this holiday season right behind Super Mario Wonder and SONIC SUPERSTARS.
The game has a ton of comedic elements and does not require much attention in order to play. The game’s range in difficulty makes it accessible to anyone in the family even grandma. We would have liked to see more Disney lore within the game, but there are still comedic moments that will help you get lost in the moment. Also, the hug system to heal an ally is an adorable way to show your teammates that you care
Disney Illusion Island is a great game to pick up this holiday season for families that want to be able to play together. At the moment, there are no sales on it, but it is worth checking out. Hopefully, one day it will come to other platforms so gamers on other platforms can enjoy it.
Disney Illusion Island was reviewed on a Nintendo Switch using a copy provided by Disney. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here. Disney Illusion Island launched on July 28th, 2023, on Nintendo Switch