Disney Illusion Island

Disney Illusion Island Review | Where Mickey Mania Meets Metroidvania

Hand out the JoyCons and share in this Mickeyvania experience together.

Disney Illusion Island, developed by Dlala Studios and published by Disney Games, takes you on a wondrous adventure through the three unique biomes of Monoth – an island full of hidden surprises. Our unlikely heroes, Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy’s morning picnic plans are turned on their heads when they agree to save the day. Having a playable cast of four unique characters allows for both enjoyable individual and couch co-op experiences. With the authentic voice actors, hand-drawn animation, and orchestral soundtrack, this is a Mickey experience to remember.

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Mickey Mania Meets Metroidvania

For someone who absolutely adored Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse as a child, until now, I had not played another Mickey Mouse game. So, I jumped at the opportunity to immerse myself in Mickey’s latest adventure. As soon as I began playing, I was immediately surprised by a familiar gameplay style.

With an interconnected map full of hidden areas, collectibles, platform mechanics, progression locked behind ability acquisition, and necessary backtracking, Disney Illusion Island ticked all of the boxes as to what I can only describe as a ‘Metroidvania lite’ experience.

The map of Monoth is surprisingly large, and when you think it could not possibly get any larger, it does. In the beginning, each biome has many inaccessible areas. As you continue, you will unlock special abilities allowing you to explore previously inaccessible areas, and you will find yourself backtracking in true Metroidvania fashion.

Even when backtracking, Disney Illusion Island respects the player’s time by providing teleportation and fast travel options. When these options are taken advantage of, players will be able to easily make their way from one side of the island to the other. It is clearly evident that every aspect of the game was crafted to seamlessly combine increasingly challenging gameplay aspects with accessibility options to provide an inclusive, enjoyable experience for all ages.

Screenshot by Prima Games

Disney Illusion Island provides players with the opportunity to collect a plethora of different items. From necessary keys for in-game progression to four unique categories of collectible items, players will be busy as they bounce, glide, and swim their way through biomes. Gameplay is incredibly smooth, with areas often needing multiple abilities to be used in a row.

You can go from double jumping towards a wall, wall jumping to a hook, and then swinging off of it and gliding to clear a single area. Which ability you need to use to progress is clear, and with simple button prompts, they are easy to swap between consistently. Mechanically, Disney Illusion Island is just a downright fun experience. It is satisfying when you speed through multiple areas without a single misstep, but if you do happen to make one, the checkpoints are very forgiving.

Collecting Hidden Mickeys rewards the player with an adorable photo of each moment that captures the four characters perfectly. Trust me; we’ve all felt like Donald before. Collecting the other collectibles provides you with image cards of characters, items related to Disney media over time, and additional hearts when new collection milestones are reached. Obtaining a specific collectible feels just as rewarding as managing to get there in the first place. You’ll find yourself avoiding rather unique enemies, spikes, and more, whilst also seeking out hidden areas to collect everything.

Disney Illusion Island Was Made for Couch Co-op

After completing the game, I spent a significant amount of time playing solo, with another adult, and with a child tagging along. Disney Illusion Island works perfectly in each scenario, but it is in co-op where the game truly shines. Each time you begin playing, you are able to choose how many players are playing between 1-4, and each player can choose how many hearts they wish to start with to tailor the difficulty of the experience. There is a metal heart option, which provides you with invincibility, a perfect option for younger players.

“It is clearly evident that every aspect of the game was crafted to seamlessly combine increasingly challenging gameplay aspects with accessibility options to provide an inclusive, enjoyable experience for all ages.”

During the game, you will see letterboxes consistently throughout Monoth. They are spread fairly throughout the map, and you will often see them before and after any obstacle. Each letterbox acts as a checkpoint that will automatically save your progress, will be where you respawn if you die, and a fellow player can revive you if you run out of hearts.

The frequent letterboxes meant that there was never any actual risk of significant progress loss upon dying. This allows for the game to continue forward at a quick pace and for younger players to stay fully involved despite differing ability levels.

Screenshot by Prima Games

Co-op introduces four multiplayer-exclusive abilities. These allow you to hug a fellow player to regain a heart, drop down a rope to help a player up to a higher level they may be having difficulty with, a leapfrog jump to extend jump distance, and an underwater teleport to teleport other players to your location instantly.

These were incredibly useful as the game allows you to play stress-free with less experienced players. There were moments when my fiercely independent six-year-old struggled to make a multistep jump, and instead of struggling for an extended period of time and then becoming emotional, she tried multiple times and climbed up a rope that was offered to her. This allowed her to continue without anyone taking over for her, and she felt accomplished. Similar situations occurred with the leapfrog ability, and by the time we were swimming, her confidence had made her a much better player.

Accessibility Options Continue Beyond Health and Multiplayer Options

Disney Illusion Island shines when it comes to creating a game that can be enjoyed regardless of player ability. As mentioned above, the ability to choose your number of hearts and the potential to be invincible allow all players to tailor gameplay to their own play style and ability. Multiplayer options allow more experienced players to aid and guide younger players through more challenging aspects of the game.

Screenshot by Prima Games

There are other options to assist gameplay. Such as the ability to choose whether you want assists for Jump, Boost Jump, and Wall Cling Assists to be on or off at any time in the pause menu. The same can be done for Hidden Mickey tells. You can turn it on and have a small Hidden Mickey symbol appear above player heads when there is one nearby. Or you can have it turned off and find them independently.

There are many timed elements in the game, and they can be adjusted to either go faster or slower depending on the needs of the player. Text and subtitle options also can be changed. Text speed, color, sizing, and opacity are all options that can be adjusted to fit player needs.

Due to the accessibility options, gameplay is a breeze with players of all ability levels. Playing the game with myself, a Metroidvania fan, and a six-year-old was an enjoyable experience as everyone was able to play the way that they wanted to. When encountering more difficult mechanics, the six-year-old could navigate through them at a similar pace to us due to invincibility. She never had to lag behind.

Disney Illusion Island Provides Entertainment for All Ages

Screenshot by Prima Games

The witty writing in the game had me laughing on multiple occasions. From simply entertaining to jokes that adults could appreciate, Disney Illusion Island truly provides an experience for all. Donald Duck is possibly the most relatable character of all. He has clearly been dragged into this whole ordeal against his will, very clearly not enjoying it and not having time for any of the nonsensical happenings throughout Monoth.

After completing the game and collecting the majority of the collectible items, I can honestly say that not only is Disney Illusion Island one of the most enjoyable gaming experiences that I have had this year, but it is also undoubtedly the most equitable and accessible co-op experience that I have ever had the pleasure of playing. Whether you are going into the game solo, with someone of similar ability, or with someone inexperienced with the genre, Disney Illusion Island is an unmissable experience sure to marvel any player fortunate enough to encounter it.

9
Disney Illusion Island
Disney Illusion Island is an unmissable experience that is a melting pot of classic Disney charm, metroidvania lite gameplay, and witty dialogue. Whether you are looking for a game to play solo, or with other players, Disney Illusion Island will exceed your every expectation.
Pros
  • A perfectly crafted equitable experience for players of all ability levels.
  • Fun, fast, and varied gameplay.
  • Filled to the brim with Disney charm.
Cons
  • Donald outshines the other characters who have less developed personality traits.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review. Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.

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Author
Image of Priscilla Wells
Priscilla Wells
Priscilla is both the weekend editor and a freelance writer at Prima Games. She began working at Prima Games in early 2023. Prior to this, she spent nine years writing for both her own personal gaming blog, and other related websites. Priscilla has grown up playing video games, and most often plays her PS5 and Nintendo Switch consoles. You can find her playing Final Fantasy XIV, RuneScape, Pokemon GO, or lost in the latest RPG to release. She is an Australian living in the United States with her American husband, three children, and her Basset Hound. Before moving to the United States, Priscilla obtained a Bachelors of Secondary Education majoring in English and Japanese Language. This allowed her to teach English and Japanese in a high school setting. You can follow her on Twitter/X at @Cilllah