The original Castle of Illusion was one of my favourite Mega Drive games and I always wanted it either to be remade in HD or for a sequel to emerge, gamers like myself got the latter wish with Power of Illusion for 3DS, it’s s full sequel but set in the Epic Mickey universe so Wasteland and Oswald are featured vaguely, yet not as much as you would expect. Power of Illusion is fully set in the Castle and Mizrabel is still Mickey’s foe in this adventure as she attempts to gain enough power to escape Wasteland.
The castle is split up into different wings which you will unlock as you progress through the game, it plays like a standard platformer but it does use the stylus to erase items or paint objects into existence, you can also summon treasure chests or characters like Scrooge McDuck by painting them, well really it’s more a case of drawing the outline of whats on screen and it depends if you have enough paint in your meters to use the abilities.
As you go through the game, you’ll come across many Disney characters including Peter Pan, Goofy, Donald Duck, Scrooge McDuck, Aladdin, Ariel, Jiminy Cricket and The Beast to name a few, you’ll rescue them easily and they go and hide out in the Fortress where each character gets their own room and will give you side quests like finding objects or characters in older or later levels for bonuses, Scrooge and sell upgrades like health and damage boosts, you can also upgrade the rooms of the characters by completing the side quests and also gain more money (or as they are called E-tickets for some reason).
The game takes inspiration from 3 main Disney films, Peter Pan, Aladdin and The Little Mermaid with a boss at the end of each wing, although oddly there wasn’t a Little Mermaid boss, but instead the final fight with Mizrabel. Power of Illusion only took me less than 4 hours to complete, so if you are looking for a long adventure then this is sadly not it, it does have some good ideas but they do wear thin by the end and sadly, The Little Mermaid stages are some of the most frustrating as you’ll die cheaply with irritating enemies and badly designed areas where progressing is a real effort and it seems like luck if you manage to get through it in one piece.
For example, there’s an area where you have to smash blocks on the ceiling to progress, but there are spikes on the floor and a respawning ghost enemy that will give you enough boost to make the jump once the blocks are gone, but actually getting rid of the blocks is difficult as Mickey doesn’t really have an upper attack and jumping at it doesn’t break it either, so I had to do a spin jump and time it near perfect to smash them, then fell on the spikes and jumped on the ghost to make the jump, but I still barely had any health left. It’s just awkward and unnecessary; I mean how many kids are going to really stick that out?
In terms of presentation, Power of Illusion is charming to look at, but it is a bit simplistic and disappointing when the 3DS is more powerful than that, still it does look like a true sequel to the original in that respect, the 3D effect is pretty pointless for this one though. Sound is a mixed bag depending on how much of a Disney fan you are, but even then you’ll only really hear catchphrases of the characters instead of full voice-over, the music is a combo of Disney films and feels authentic.
Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion is a decent platformer for the 3DS, but it’s far from perfect. It feels unfinished, the ending is rushed and there’s little reason to return to it once you finish it in the extremely short 4 hours it’ll take to beat. It’s good, but it’s miles away from topping the original Castle of Illusion.