I might be showing my age here, but the first thing that Mickey Storm and the Cursed Mask reminded me of when I booted it up was the film Spy Kids. Unfortunately there’s no Antonio Banderas to be found here, but otherwise the similarities are striking (to me at least).
Mickey is a vlogger, and very excited for the opening of a new water park which turns out to be the most dangerous example of one you’ve likely ever seen. It’s a good job then that he has his trusty drone B.U.D.D.Y. on hand to capture all the action. Much to Mickey’s, and his sister Jenny’s surprise, it just so happens that their parents are professional spies, who have been kidnapped by evil Kingpin lookalike, Dr Fisher. He’s found a mystical mask (which has strong Aku Aku vibes) and used its powers to turn the water park into a deathtrap which Mickey and Jenny must battle though to save their parents. It seems that this family has some heroic genes running through it.
Mickey Storm and the Cursed Mask is a platform game which carries similarities to the excellent Trials franchise for Xbox. You can take command of many inflatable objects, but start out on a bog standard rubber ring. Using the left thumbstick, you can ride the water slides around each level with a few basic abilities at your disposal. The kids can double jump, glide whilst in the air and attack to clear enemies out of the way. Whilst in the air, it’s important to tilt using the bumpers on the Xbox controller to execute a successful landing and avoid crashing.
If you fail to do this, or get killed in any other way, it’s classed as a ‘Wipeout’, and will cost you a life in certain levels. Tilting is very hit and miss, as it feels too slow for when the action gets really frantic, meaning you can’t right yourself before you hit the deck. More generally the control setup works well enough to begin with, but (as I seem to be saying a lot at the moment) when the platforming action gets more complicated they struggle to keep up with what is being asked of them.
You’ll often hit an obstacle which will cause you to spin wildly and flip around as the physics get themselves in a tangle, which then causes you to wipeout. To be clear, Mickey Storm and the Cursed Mask never really gets challenging but instead it becomes more difficult to control your character in the face of more complex levels.
Also, there are a few glitches hiding away within the game. On a handful of occasions I became stuck between a couple of objects where I then kind of fused with one of them and was unable to free myself. My only escape route was to restart the level which was a little frustrating.
You can choose to play as either superspy sibling as you set out to beat the 74 levels on offer in Mickey Storm and the Cursed Mask. It’s a generous amount to say the least, and should keep you busy for a few hours. Your job is to collect energy which charges the amulet in each stage, and in turn this awards you a bronze, silver or gold ranking. There are also five keycards to collect in each level, as well as a bonus time to beat which both offer more rewards in the form of extra energy.
Ultimately, you’ll need to collect all of the amulets to defeat Dr Fisher. Not all levels offer the same challenge either. Some will require you to collect varying amounts of energy capsules, whilst others will pit you against the clock in a race to each checkpoint until you make it to the end of the level.
There are also secret portals to be found in many levels, which once again offer bonus energy. However, you will need to be playing as the correct character, with the correct outfit, on the correct ride to unlock entry to these. The good news is that you unlock these as you play through bonus rewards, if you collect enough energy that is.
Inevitably you will have to face off against Dr Fisher’s mask form a few times as you play through the game. This consists of being pursued by him through the level in a similar way to that annoying little sun character from Super Mario Bros. 3 (but thankfully not quite as irritating). Once you reach the end, you’ll need to clear a final set of obstacles and spin attack the mask, to take it down.
Overall, and possibly inevitably due to the amount of levels on offer, the gameplay in Mickey Storm and the Cursed Mask becomes pretty repetitive. There’s the odd tweak thrown in such as rising lava levels as you progress through each biome (I know it’s a water park, don’t ask) and the variation in challenges, but in the main it plays the same throughout.
Infact, in a fair amount of levels you will notice segments of play that are copied exactly from one to another. You’ll come across them at different points in each level but it is still very noticeable, and a tad lazy. It’s a good job then, that it’s fun to play.
In Mickey Storm and the Cursed Mask you can team up with a friend in the 2-player Co-op mode. They can jump in from the world map at any point should they wish to. It works pretty well on the whole and is just as much fun as you would expect when paying with a mate.
Mickey Storm and the Cursed Mask is a game that offers a simple but enjoyable few hours of entertainment for all ages.
Slip and slide with Mickey Storm by visiting the Xbox Store
- Lots of levels to play through
- Vibrant visuals
- Co-op play is fun
- Simple, repetitive gameplay
- Control issues frustrate at times
- Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - Lion Castle
- Formats - Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One
- Version reviewed - Xbox One on Xbox Series X
- Release date - 24 Aug 2021
- Launch price from - £15.19