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Disney Illusion Island Is A Fun 2D Co-Op Platforming Throwback For All

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Genre: 2D platformer featuring four-player co-op and no direct violence

How does one put a spin on a search action title and stand out from top-tier offerings like the Ori games and Super Metroid? And make it enjoyable for all ages without being boring?

Easy: just make it multiplayer and make sure your cast can’t directly harm obstacles in their way. That means no way of attacking enemies directly; you’ll have to use your jumping and platforming knowhow to get through these obstacles. That’s what Dlala Studios had in mind when making its latest title for Disney Illusion Island. Yes, this is a spiritual successor to the Disney Illusion games back in the 90s when Sega teamed up with the House of Mouse to make great 2D platformers. And yes, this game recaptures that same magic albeit in a newer and different way.

Taking A Mickey Out Of…

Disney Illusion Island combines the 90s Sega platformer with search-action level design, along with some bits from the Ubisoft Rayman games with the seamless 4-player co-op. Together, they form a familiar-but-fun 2D adventure featuring your favourite Disney icons: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald, and Goofy. Plot-wise, the game pits the four friends in the colourful-but-dangerous world of Monoth, where they end up helping a group of creatures called Hokuns led by a patriarch named Toku to get three books of power. Along the way, you’ll meet a friendly and eccentric three-eyed dragon who gives you search action items to help you with your progress, a top engineer named Uncle Steve who gives advice and jokes about with the gang, and also a few boss-type characters who may not be what they seem.

As the game is based on the contemporary setting and slapstick tone of the Mickey Mouse (2013 onwards) series, the story doesn’t take itself seriously with some funny lines here and there for both children and adults to laugh at. You might as well dub this as a playable lost Mickey Mouse short that’s 6-hours long, filled with fun 2D gameplay. I’m all for it as the game’s story is funny and charming from start to finish, thanks in part to awesome voice work from veterans of the business like Bill Farmer.

And what fun it is, thanks to the game’s spot-on controls. It’ll take you seconds to get the hang of the jumping, movement, and physics, with new abilities you’ll gain to upgrade your traversal methods. The levels themselves are not only good-looking -the Astrono biome is my personal favourite0 but also pose some decent platforming challenges that require some semblance of timing. Disney Illusion Island is not as taxing as platformers like Celeste (or even Dlala’s previous efforts Battletoads). And it isn’t meant to, given its subject matter about a bunch of cartoon characters in a bunch of colourful hijinxes. Disney Illusion Island plays immaculately and is fun for all skill levels. Having said that, there are options to bump up the difficulty a tad, like having less life so that you have less room for error.

Each stage and pathway is planned out perfectly so that there’s little need to backtrack, unless you want to get certain collectibles that aren’t integral to the main plot. And the game does unlock fast travel later, so you can do search action clean-up duties to 100% the game. In fact, you may need to do just that if you wish to unlock the game’s highest difficulty setting.

Some nitpicks though: the obligatory co-op moves you get when you play multiplayer requires a bit of precision. Yes, you can let down a rope for your buddy to climb if he/she is having trouble with the jumping, but you’ll be doing quite a bit of fidgeting as you do so. You might as well have your co-op partner just retry the jumps over and over; it’ll probably be quicker. And if you compare this game with the past Sega 2D titles featuring the House of Mouse cast, this one is a piece of cake. With the exception of a few bosses and the final stage, the game isn’t going to be challenging to seasoned platformers. At least on the default difficulty.


Not A Rat Trap

The Disney-licensed games of the 90s are honestly just a tier of their own, especially when compared to titles past 2000 and beyond. Or maybe it’s just my rose-tinted glasses doing all the judging, but you cannot deny the fact that developers were given some degree of creative freedom (and restrictions) to making fun 2D experiences.

Dlala Studios aim to recapture that magic with its new Nintendo Switch-exclusive title, and succeeds. Disney’s Illusion Island is a feel-good all-ages search action fare that four people (or less) can really enjoy. From its pleasing aesthetics and whimsical music to its fun-if-familiar platforming and lovely controls, along with some post-game replayability and challenges, it’s safe to say that this title might start a possible return of 90s Disney game platforming and action. Not just from Dlala but possibly from other willing small-to-mid-sized game studios. Here’s hoping!


  • Excellent controls.
  • Lovely aesthetics that fit the Mickey Mouse animation style and tone.
  • Fun levels, platforming, and boss fights that everyone of all ages can enjoy.


  • Some co-op moves need tweaking.


Final Score: 90/100

Review copy provided by Disney.

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