While the grim world of Final Fantasy XVI makes for a fascinating and interesting game, sometimes I just want a game that only wants to serve me fun mindless gameplay with a chill aesthetic.

I wouldn’t have thought a Metroidvania could offer this, but Disney Illusion Island decided that was what I needed right now, and it was right.

The game kicks off with Mickey following a map to a picnic spot. He arrives and doesn’t really get it, but then Donald, Goofy, and Minnie all turn up having followed mysterious maps they also received. It turns out it was a ruse, and the trickster, some innocent little creatures that desperately need their books back.  So naturally, they oblige.

Disney Illusion Island

When I think of Metroidvania, I tend to think of some hard and complex games, that isn’t what Disney Illusion Island is throwing your way.

In many ways it is a nice chill 2D platformer. As you make your way through the ever growing 2D map you gain abilities allowing you to get to spots you couldn’t reach earlier. There are keys to unlock doors etc, but for the most part it’s a simple effective Metroidvania.

The most important part of a game like this for me is how it plays. Average or below average gameplay can have me drop off hard. Fortunately, the gameplay in Disney Illusion Island is smooth as butter. The platforming is solid and responsive, and it just plays damn well. Early on you have no abilities, not even a double jump, but you unlock these very quickly as the game progresses and it’s just a treat to play.

Disney Illusion Island

One thing that I initially thought was weird was there is no combat, not even a simple Mario squashing will vanquish your enemies.

There are plenty of enemies around like annoying Cactuses, blob dog things, and little creatures that create an electric field. This is a case of avoiding rather than defeating your opponents, with the exception of the boss fights, which even still is more platforming and less combat-like. This may seem weird at first glance but it definitely fits the games vibe.

This is a super happy chill game for all ages. We can’t have Mickey, Minnie and Goofy killing innocent creatures can we? Given in co-op there is the ability for the team to give each other a hug to recover lives on the fly, this attitude with combat definitely fits the style.

On the whole, Disney Illusion Island is a simple Metroidvania that is fun to play and is beautifully animated.  This is a nice chill local multiplayer-game, or a fun one to play solo when your brain needs a break. If you want to introduce your kids to Metroidvania type games, this is a fun way to walk alongside them into the world.

Disney Illusion Island
Disney Illusion Island (Switch) Review
Game details

Released: July 2023
Rating: G
Platforms reviewed: Nintendo Switch
Genre: Adventure
Developer: Dlala Studios
Publisher: Disney

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