The recent Disney and Marvel Games Showcase and Ubisoft Forward have given video game fans food for thought. Properties used a wide range of licenses from the unexpected remaster of the 1995 Gargoyles game on Genesis to the new Trackmania. The Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope segment of the Ubisoft show even revealed that Rayman would eventually appear as a DLC character, which would be his first major appearance in years. However, one of the most unexpected announcements was the release of the cooperative platformer Disney Illusion Island on the Nintendo Switch, which stands out from the rest of the Disney presentation.
Rayman’s latest console game, Rayman Legends, was in the spotlight of many viewers even before the release of Mario + Rabbids thanks to the demonstration of Disney and Marvel. Disney Illusion Island, developed by Dlala Studios, the team behind the Battletoads reboot, is a side-scrolling platformer that supports up to four players and uses the art style of The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse. These days, a major publisher rarely announces a 2D platformer, and even more strange is the close similarity of Disney Illusion Island with some of the most famous Rayman games.
2D Couch Cooperative Platformers Have a Strong Legacy
Rayman Origins and Rayman Legends are the last two major games in the Rayman franchise, marking the return to the 2D platformer of the very first Rayman game. This came after a period when it seemed that the Rabbids were rejecting Rayman’s presence in his own series, so the fans welcomed them with open arms. Both of them were created using the UbiArt Framework engine, which allowed scanning art objects directly into the game with higher quality. The result was a pair of beautiful platformers with tight controls, in which speed was combined with secrets and thoughtful design of the best Mario levels.
It is appropriate to compare Rayman Origins and Legends with Super Mario Bros., as they were inspired by this. The games are based on New Super Mario Bros. Wii and New Super Mario Bros. U, which allows you to simultaneously pass the stages of up to four players. These games draw so much inspiration that the multiplayer system is almost identical: defeated Rayman characters turn into bubbles that must be saved by live players. Although all these games give naughty friends the opportunity to upset each other, it’s all part of the fun and helps make chaotic gaming sessions unforgettable.
Disney’s Island of Illusions May Revive a Dormant Style
With all their multiplayer shenanigans, hidden collectibles, and a focus on a hard 2D platformer that encourages high-speed play, it’s clear that the New Super Mario Bros. games and UbiArt Rayman are created from the same fabric. Many feel nostalgic for these games, which is why Disney Illusion Island stands out so prominently among the upcoming Disney games. Although the mechanics and level design have not yet been determined, the main gameplay of Illusion Island strongly resembles Rayman Legends. The game uses a flat 2D graphics style, which allows players to move on any surface, as in the aforementioned games.
From time to time, 2D platformers focused on multiplayer, such as Guacamelee 2, were released, but this niche remained unoccupied for the most part. To preserve what first appeared in New Super Mario Bros. Wii, fans need something really original. With several advertised abilities that can only be used in co-op, such as Rope Drop, Leap Frog and Healing Hug, Disney Illusion Island seems to be leaning more than ever towards its multiplayer side. If executed correctly, this game can be a great addition to the cooperative legacy of Mario and Rayman.
Disney Illusion Island will be released in 2023 for the Nintendo Switch.