April 1, 2023

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Illusion: A Tale of the Mind – PS4 Review


Illusion: A Tale of the Mind is an artistically wonderful puzzle game that drags you in with its unique art style, its charm and its absorbing narrative.
Illusion is a puzzle adventure game set in the ambience of the early 1920’s Parisian cabaret.
Step into the shoes of a young girl named Emma and live her adventures as she is freeing the mind of her father from a madman.
Embark on her journey through the minds-eye of her captors, living in a fractured world of old memories and festering wounds, that paradoxically reveals itself to be also a place of great beauty and intrigue.

The story in Illusion and the way it unfolds is wonderful. An engaging tale told from a unique perspective inside the mind of Elcuide. This is an amazing and engaging way to deliver the narrative and his a mechanic I would like to see being used more in games.

As you would expect from a game set in 1920’s Parisian cabaret the art style for Illusion is simply beautiful. Colourful, vibrant backdrops and fantastical flora and fauna give way to horrific and traumatic memories of war on a single screen. The art style used in  Illusion isn’t just part of the game they are part of the gameplay too. Quite often puzzles need solving by manipulating the camera angle to join unconnected markings to create a picture in order to move forward.

Gameplay in Illusion is simple and somewhat flawed, unfortunately. The majority of the game is walking from puzzle to puzzle in order to collect shards and open up the door to the next area.
It is when the game adds the “black goo” like substance to the screens that once touched reset you to the beginning of the screen. The problem here is the winding pathways are so tight, the camera is zoomed out quite far and the controls are nowhere near precise enough. It isn’t so much a massive problem but a collection of small flaws that add up to a big frustration. especially in a boss fight.
The puzzles are fun if somewhat repetitive by the time you get to the back end of the game. It is possible to complete the game in just over 3 hours and the use of the old “multiple doors but one single route” puzzles near the end scream of padding out the game and really breaks up the flow of the game.

Overall Thoughts
Illusion: A Tale of the Mind is an emotional, absorbing and thought-provoking game with an amazing narrative and a wonderful reputation of a broken mind. It is a unique way of using fantastic artwork and storytelling to look deeper at depression and the way emotional trauma affects our lives.
The voice acting isn’t all that good and I expect gameplay for an average player to last between 4-6 hours but Illusion is definitely a game that is worth picking up. If only just to see how impactful games can be when they are allowed to be designed by artists and writers.
Overall Score – 6/10