Reviews: World Of Illusion

Play it not for the serviceable gameplay, but for the imaginative journey

World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck has a presentation that starts off immediately charming, with quiet yet catchy Disney-esque music, and a cute and simple story of how Donald Duck decided to mess around with a mysterious box for a magic show, only to be transported to another world, followed by Mickey Mouse jumping in after him. What happens next is that players are taken to a menu themed after playing cards (with Pete as the joker, of course), where choosing the number of players and which character to use is done by flipping cards.

The gameplay is very basic, but it's done reasonably well. You walk, you swing a magic cape that transforms enemies into harmless things such as birds and flowers, and you have a small handful of moves specific to the area, such as flying a magic carpet or swimming in a bubble underwater. For the 2-player mode, the "run" button doubles as the "help" button. For example, one player can use the other to operate a see-saw to bounce to a high up tree branch, then, once there, lower a vine for the other player to climb up.

The game basically feels like one big journey through a world of Disney magic. You walk through massive forests, navigate a hedge maze in Wonderland, go through a diamond mine, enter a world of giant candy, explore the bottom of the ocean inside a giant bubble, and more. Some locations use visuals heavily inspired by certain Disney movies such as The Sword in the Stone and Alice in Wonderland, and characters from some of those movies make cameo appearances. My absolute favorite area in the game is a Christmas-themed area, with giant Christmas trees, massive decorations, lights and decorations hanging from the ceiling, and music that completes the mood. Sadly, this area is only available in the 2-player mode.

See, World of Illusion has a very unique feature - specific areas that can only be visited depending on who you play as, or if you play with another player. In single player, Mickey Mouse acts as the game's "easy" mode, as the areas unique to him are considerably easier than the ones visited by Donald Duck, who is the game's "hard" mode. 2-player adds specific areas where the two characters must cooperate in order to proceed forward.

The game is rather easy overall, but it's not about challenge to me. It's about the journey, which is nothing but charm, with simply magical music accompanying imaginative locations and a relaxed pace. This isn't a game you play to challenge your reflexes or hunt for well-hidden secrets. This is a game you play simply to experience a world in which you swim to the bottom of the ocean, explore a sunken ship, and then jump out of a fish bowl to find yourself in a massive house. A world in which you cast a spell on magic playing cards to stack them up so you can climb them. A creative world bursting with imagination. And I love it.
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