I love a good story in video games. Something with a good narrative, storytelling or just a unique idea suits me more than graphics. Although the latter is a sweet bonus. Step forward Illusion: A Tale of the Mind. Featuring a young white haired girl by the name of Emma, and her sentient pet rabbit, Topsy. Illusion offers a touching, heart-felt story from the perspective of the young girl, with some movie villain bad guy moments. But can the rest of it step up to the mark? Let’s find out.
The world of Illusion is a warped sense of reality, that there is no doubt. Stuck in the mind of Emma’s father, Euclid at the turn of the twentieth century, she has to find out who she is, who the memories belong too and more as she unravels the events that have transpired, solving puzzles, collecting pictures to job Euclid’s memory and listening to gramophones to flesh out the story make for a dark and gritty story, filled with a love between a father and his daughter. But one flaw I couldn’t shake off, was that Euclid speaks with a heavy French accent, as does the villain. But Emma? Nothing shouted out French in her accent.
The game spans a trio of chapters, as you dive into the psyche of your father as he battles the horrors of war that plague his subconscious mind, and his depression over the loss of his wife and daughter. Warping everything in the process. While the graphics aren’t of the highest quality, they’re above average and do the job in the dark recesses of Euclid’s mind.
The puzzles are interesting enough as you search for glass shards to fill in the gaps of a broken mirror, or pieces of a puzzle that once in a certain position form a shadow in the light to complete that particular puzzle. Lastly, and one that I really enjoyed was where I was required to position the camera to form the shape of an object from debris that floats statically in mid-air. Trial and error plays a part here, but there is always a clue nearby to help you along the way.
One major pain in my backside though, was the game’s camera that is fixed to whatever location you happen to be in, and this caused many a problem for me as I played through Illusion. I get that it’s trying to play a part in creating mood and atmosphere. But more often than not I found this to be more of a hindrance than a help. Especially during a chase scene or when trying to fine tune my position ready for moving around at the end of chapter two.
Illusion is a game that will be seen as average by many gamers, or a little bit above average. The story is genuinely good, and dialogue from Euclid presents a heart broken man in search of his loved ones as he battles his inner demons. Despite a wonky camera, the controls are thankfully responsive enough to function as they should, in a dark and dreary world set in the mind of Emma’s father. It is a fairly short experience that presents puzzles that can be overcome with a bit of thought, and there really isn’t too much in the way of aimless wandering to pad the game out. The execution isn’t perfect by any means, what with the aforementioned camera and graphics that could have used a bit more polish in places. As for the audio, it is pleasant to listen too, and the creepy videos from incidental pieces really give it an edge to spook you out just enough without it being treated as a full on horror.
Illusion is one of them games that once you play it, you will see it for all its faults, which is a shame, as deep down there is a touching story between Emma, Topsy and Euclid as they battle to overcome the dark force that is your protagonist. You’ll like it more than dislike it, but the story will shine through enough to satisfy.
Developer: Frima Games
Release Date: 1st July 2018
File Size: 4.14GB
Xbox One copy provided for review purpose.