Castle of Illusion Review

Like some sort of video game equivalent of Stephen King's IT, Castle of Illusion haunted me as a child, and has now returned, years later, to appall me as an adult. A lot of care and attention has gone into recreating the Mega Drive original's stages for a new generation, and the structure has been changed akin to Super Mario 64's hub world. But the platforming and control mechanics on offer here wouldn't cut it in any era.

It's a game that requires both accuracy and timing from the player, often throwing them into situations that require them to attack and navigate in tandem, using enemies to bounce Mickey across fairly intricate stages. Good in theory, but Sega Australia's work gives them little chance of achieving those goals thanks to terrible input lag, imprecise movement and spotty collision detection.

Pressing jump sees Mickey leap what seems like six weeks after the command was given, and his airborne movement, which is overly quick with no sense of weight or inertia, compounds what is already a fatal flaw. You'll die as you slide off ledges or as you hit an enemy where you did before but it registers the other way. If that's not enough, the same will happen when the game spawns you onto unavoidable attacks, because the camera's too close, or when you hit jump and the game faxes the instruction over rather than just executing it.

It's infuriating, and a host of other problems don't make matters any better, including unskippable cutscenes before maddening, cheap boss fights. While some stages are very nicely realised - fighting to the top of a clock tower through the gears and cogs being one - Castle of Illusion's failings, especially after Rayman Legends' release, aren't close to being acceptable. Not even nostalgia can save this.

Version tested: Xbox 360. Game played for 5 hours. Click here to read about's new review policy.

4 / 10

  • Pleasing art direction
  • Uninspired stage design
  • Terrible controls
  • Unskippable cutscenes

Click above for enlarged Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse Screenshots


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User Comments

IronMit's Avatar


I just played the demo on PS3. I was expecting an irritating experience because I had already read this review....but there was no control lag. Everything was nice and fluid; the hit detection was fine, everything registered like it should.
Mickey's movement in the air was a bit weird but took about 10 minutes to get used to.

The link below was also reviewed on the xbox- is this just an xbox version problem. The game has got 4.87 star rating on psn atm.
My first impressions have been brilliant. about giving it a whirl on PS3 please!?
Posted 22:05 on 07 September 2013
Slender_Man_co's Avatar


The control lag is a deal-breaker for me. Another review has mentioned it:
Posted 03:02 on 05 September 2013
essex1212's Avatar

essex1212@ DancingRhino

And her Alan Wake review.

She's clueless.
Posted 19:40 on 04 September 2013
masterplan's Avatar


Played the original loved it. Played this, loved it. Nothing in the above "review" rings true to me at all. I will have to give reviews by this guy a wide berth in future.
Posted 18:02 on 04 September 2013
DancingRhino's Avatar


Ellie Gibson from eurogamer was more forgiving, giving it a 7, but I wouldn't trust her as she gave the utterly horrible to control Sonic 4 9/10.
Posted 12:00 on 03 September 2013
Slender_Man_co's Avatar


Sad news. I loved the Master System version to death when I was a kid.
Posted 09:39 on 03 September 2013

Game Stats

Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
Out of 10
Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
  • Pleasing art direction
  • Uninspired stage design
  • Terrible controls
  • Unskippable cutscenes
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 04/09/2013
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3 , PC
Developer: Sega
Publisher: Sega
Genre: Platformer
Rating: TBC
Site Rank: 1,672 357
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