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on December 27, 2013
I purchased this for my 5 year old daughter because, it's Mickey Mouse, and he's going to rescue Minnie. She wanted me to play through it for her as it isn't simple as you might believe. If that's what you're thinking let me end that preconception for you. This is a real game that is on par with something like Sonic the Hedgehog. You will need a controller and know how to use it. My daughter passed the controller to me because the timing on jumps, especially in the clouds, is not for rookies. The boss fights are also up to par but nothing is over the top. You'll figure out the pattern and then it's smooth sailing. Still I found myself playing those bosses more than I anticipated. This game is a gem as the graphics, voice, and ambiance are all on point. My daughter refers to it as movie when she requests that I play another chapter. I've spaced it out to one a day as a chapter takes a good 30 minutes if you are picking everything up. Anyways, she loves it and I love it and I'm glad that I purchased it. I've been wanting to get it for her since it came out but I waited for this sale for under $4 which is practically theft. I feel bad not paying after playing this it really is worth the $30 bucks. I think it's usually $15 now as a base price and that's a steal. Don't be put off by thinking this is a kids game it's about as childlike as Sonic or Super Meat Boy.
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on January 1, 2014
Castle of Illusion is a really fun platform game. It's all out running, jumping, stomping your enemies, swinging, swimming, the usual. You collect diamonds along the way to unlock the subsequent levels. You don't need anywhere near the 800 possible diamonds to proceed, however. More diamonds, chili peppers, statues, and playing cards unlock costumes and really bland concept art as paintings in the castle.

The story is a traditional Disney fairy tale. Mickey and Minnie are in love. The witch captures Minnie. Mickey goes to save the day. The narration reads like it's from a child's storybook. It's nothing that will blow your mind, but if you love Disney, you'll enjoy the story. Mickey and the other characters sound great, exactly like you'd expect them to, though their dialogue is limited.

The graphics update for this game is phenomenal. It's gorgeous artwork in the traditional Disney style.

Level design is exceptional, reminding me of the charm of games on the original Nintendo and Genesis systems. Each level has a theme and all the obstacles fit well within the theme.

At times the game makes you move quickly as platformers traditionally do and you need to make quick reactions as the floors fall out from under you. It does feel like a bit of a memorize and repeat formula at times and can be a bit frustrating if the checkpoint is a bit further back.

Boss battles are unique each time, as the various monsters have different themed attack patterns. The forest tree boss rolls like a log, the toy world boss is a jack in the box that jumps around and tosses a spring-loaded boxing glove your way, etc.

The controls are very simple and worked perfectly on the XBOX controller for Windows. I would have liked an option to pan the camera to look around the immediate area for hidden collectables (as that is a significant part of the game), but it's not that big of a deal. Sometimes I would just make a jump to see what I could find. A few times it paid off. Other times, I fell into the abyss. Once I couldn't see what was on a platform I needed to jump to and a bookworm bit me. I think that was just a random glitch though because that area didn't have the same problem again. I never had any other technical concerns about the game. It's a rock-solid game.

Sometimes, the game switches to more of a 3D perspective instead of side-scrolling. It's rarely used. You can play an entire level with one camera style and suddenly the boss is in 3D mode, so that can be a bit counter-intuitive. It's slightly challenging to judge the depth of your jumps in this mode, but it's not that big of a deal.

I would recommend this game, but not at the $15 price point. It only takes about 2 hours to complete the story. Then you can repeat the levels of your choosing any time you want as time trials. Combined with a small system of collectibles, the game does present some replay value, though the collectible rewards aren't really that exciting.
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on March 9, 2015

When it was originally released in 1990, Castle of Illusion was a game I devoured. Disney was in the midst of strong series of releases at the time as evidenced by Chip and Dale's Rescue Rangers, Castle of Illusion, and Ducktales, extending onward to the still fantastic Aladdin, everything coming out of that period destined for remembrance in my own personal Hall Of Fame. At times I've revisited what I'd considered to be classics, and like so many things, these held up better in the mind than in reality, but Castle of Illusion isn't one which failed to continue the hype. After the successful remake of Ducktales which came out recently, I was optimistic after hearing Castle was getting a makeover as well. It took some time for me to finally getting around to picking it up (I've become something of a cheapskate over the years, $15 being a point I need to argue with myself for months over before caving), and I'm glad I did. The good news is: the gameplay remains unchanged largely, and the extra polish and coat of paint only add rather than detract from the experience. In a time when I feel bigger trumps quality within the industry, it's refreshing to see a title live up to its legacy through gameplay, and not the flash surrounding it.

My only ill experience with the remake comes in the form of slowdown. Crippling, crippling slowdown. I have a machine which runs everything I've thrown at it which you'd think might cause it concern just fine, albeit not on the highest settings. Even so, Castle is like watching a slideshow occur in slow motion, one of those videos where a water balloon is popped at something-some-hundredths of a second, and the liquid inside retains its oval shape before succumbing to gravity. Initial hunts revealed this to be a common issue, and though Sega released an official patch for the trouble, my difficulties persisted. I tried all the suggested fixes from changing the specs of my video card to finding some obscure setting to switch on/off, these all leading me toward the same issue in the end. Best I can tell, a small pocket of performance issues remain for a handful of buyers, making me unwilling to write the experience off for everyone, only a piece you should know going in as a (slight) cautionary anecdote. Changing the resolution did work for me in the end, though this wasn't fully resolved until I dipped all the way down to a muddy 800x600, a trade resulting in speed over beauty. The game itself is good enough to where I find the lack of sparkle okay, though in doing so, I do experience a bit of eye-strain not unlike having the 3D on my 3DS on for a period of time.

Castle is not a difficult game. Mind you, I'm approaching this nearly 25 years after the fact of my first encounter, an encounter I did indeed find hard when initially played, so take that curve with a fair amount of salt. Having said, the ramp in difficulty is well handled, introducing new elements and gameplay ideas gradually and naturally so they feel a part of the growth/progression of the player. It's a game where its intended audience is perfectly introduced to platformers, designed not to frustrate but rather challenge, where success is met by satisfaction over relief. If you have younger gamers you're searching for titles to introduce them to, Castle of Illusion is a no-brainer. From the gameplay to the setting, all aspects are wonderfully imaginative, setting my mind racing then even as it still manages too now. Also, to plug that other remake, Ducktales is superb. I'd even recommend it over Castle from a personal level, though some of the gameplay concepts are a little more difficult and unforgiving than they are in Castle. Not that I suggest dumbing anything down, only the mix of the frustrate/challenge balance is tipped closer to the former's side.

Definitely recommended. This is a trend I fully support continuing.
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on February 3, 2014
I love the original Castle of Illusion on Genesis and I thought this remake by SEGA was done excellently. Held the spirit of the game while giving it a very modern 3D feel accessible to newer, younger gamers. And everyone recognizes Mickey Mouse so he's a good intro character to any kid. The basic storyline is still there, the levels are all mostly the same, and you can even play with the original Genesis soundtrack! It's a bit short, but overall a blast to play, and the narration is awesome. Another Amazon reviewer described it as being like a movie for their child when they play it for them, and I have to agree. The only negative I have is the framerate is a little choppy for this port from Xbox to PC, and there's a slight delay in the controls. Otherwise the game is overall excellent.
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on February 25, 2014
This was a great way for me to share my hobby with my children. The content is entirely child-appropriate, but also fun to navigate.

Overall, the graphics are great. Even with my old graphics card (8800GTS), the game ran fluidly and beautifully.

The sound quality was also quite nice. Mickey sounds like Mickey and all of the sound effects were in place.

But the greatest part of the game is the fantastic gameplay. It plays like the old Sega Genesis version, but then introduces all sorts of fun twists. Being chased by a giant apple or timing a jump on a floating marshmallow swimming around a cup of hot chocolate were just simply challenging, rewarding and fun.

The game is not super-easy, but it's not very difficult either. I was able to play through the entire game in three to four hours. I collected only about half of the gems.

Speaking of gems -- the game has some replayability. Gems are hidden through the game. Some are easy to obtain, others take a great deal of thought. So if you're willing to put in the extra time (I'd suspect an additional 6 or 7 hours), you can get all of the gems and other hidden items.

Is this game for you?
If you like side-scrollers like Rayman, played and love the original Sega version or a lover of all things Mickey, then I think you'll have a great time with this hidden gem*.

Have fun!

*pun intended
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on January 31, 2015
I loved the original for my sega. Either my 8 year old self remembers differently or they botched the controls pretty badly. The art is great and I enjoyed seeing the levels reimagined with more modern graphics, but the control of the character does not feel right at all. Mickey jerks around wildly and the jumps are hard to control. If they made a simple patch with some smoother character control it would be a good remake. I had to quit playing out of frustration with the controls.
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on January 3, 2014
I grew up playing Mickry mouse games as a child. This game almost has a side scrolling rpg feel to it since you can run back and forth between levels. I'm running this game on max settings on my PC and there are no issues. The Xbox 360 controller is best for handling this game. There are a few added features to this game and it looks absolutely stunning. The developers fixed the fps setting and I can run more than 30fps easily. I recommend this game to anyone looking to kick back, relax and enjoy a stunning game from Disney!
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on May 1, 2014
This isn't your normal Mickey Mouse game you played in your teen years, or at least my teen years.

The game is a simple side scrolling adventure that isn't very forgiving. You do have a life bar to try and keep yourself alive, but coupled with cheap hits that shouldn't happen keep this game from being 5 stars.

For the price it's worth picking up on sale on Steam or Amazon, but only for those that really want to feel nostalgia and play a Mickey game again. If they would put out the older games in HD they would be worth paying for more than this new game.

My two cents... been gaming for over 30 years, take it as you will
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on January 7, 2014
I played the crud out of the original Castle of Illusion on Game Gear. I didn't have a Genesis till a few years later where I kinda grew out of Disney for a while like we all do so never played the Genesis original then. Played it years later and it was good as well. Heck I even picked up the Epic Mickey spinoff on 3DS Power of Illusion and loved it when others didn't. So this game is a real treat. Highly recommended.
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on February 18, 2014
This is a remake of a sega game. I don't know much about gaming, but it seems to run slow even on a newer laptop with all proper specs. If you reduce the resolution it speeds it up a bit. There are some forums and threads that have patches or fixes for it, but I don't have the desire to try at this point. We play it and it is good for my three and a half year old to mess around with. Also you have to download it through Steam and become a member of Steam and download Steam. So if you don't know what that is, there is a bit of a learning curve required to get it up and running.
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