Review: Mickey’s Ultimate Challenge (Sega Genesis)

In this review, we travel to a magical kingdom in the Sega Genesis game Mickey’s Ultimate Challenge. We find out if this puzzle game is worth playing.

This game was released in 1994. It is one of a couple of versions that exist out there.

One evening, Mickey is in bed reading a book about a magical kingdom far far away. He wondered what it would be like to be in such a kingdom. Ultimately, Mickey falls asleep while reading the book. He suddenly finds himself inside the magical kingdom. Apparently, the kingdom is being tormented by persistent earthquakes. The guard informs Mickey that everyone is hoping they stop. Naturally, Mickey says he will get to the bottom of the events and try to make them stop.

There are two jump buttons. Will allow Mickey to jump at a medium height. The other button will initiate the higher jump. Up will allow Mickey to enter places.

There are 5 challenges throughout the two building Kingdom. Four of these challenges are located at various locations throughout the castle. The fifth is located just beyond the drawbridge to the left. While the game suggests you cannot access the other building without solving the drawbridge challenge, you can actually walk to the dock on the right and then float across the river to the other building without solving any puzzles.

The five puzzle areas all feature different puzzles. One puzzle is basically a spelling puzzle where you jump on books in alphabetical order. You start off with one letter and you find the next letter until you reach the end of the bar.

A second puzzle is the drawbridge puzzle. It’s basically Simon Says. You start with a pattern of one to repeat. The final round features a pattern of 5 for you to follow. Solve that and you complete the puzzle.

A third puzzle is basically a simplified version of Boxxle or Sokoban. Push the magic potions towards the small mirror. After three rounds, you win.

A fourth puzzle is simplified version of Classic Concentration. You have a 4×3 grid of paintings. Dust off matching paintings to keep the dust off. Dust off every painting and win the game.

The fifth and final puzzle is a simplified version of Codebreaker or Mastermind. You have three possible tools to work with. Set out the proper order of each tool (there are repeating tools) and the game will tell you if you got various tools correct. Note the small icons in the side. A red Mickey indicates a correct tool was placed, but in the wrong location. A green Mickey icon (with a green lit up tool) indicates a tool is correctly placed. Get all four in a limited number of tries to advance to the next round.

In the next round, a fourth tool is added to make things more complex. Beat that round and you’ll get to the final round which uses all five tools. Complete that round successfully and you beat the game.

When you complete a puzzle, you’ll get a prize. Prizes include glass slippers, gold bars, and spectacles. As you may or may not have noticed, when you speak to each character the first time, they’ll give you a hint on what they need. If you re-visit them with the correct item, you’ll be able to give them that special item to make their life easier. In exchange, they’ll give you a magic bean. Collect all 5 beans and you’ll be able to use them to access the final puzzle.

The sixth and final puzzle is a 3×3 slide puzzle. Solve that puzzle and you’ll beat the game.

The first thing I noticed about this game is what many other people have noticed. This game is dead simple easy. Probably the biggest challenge is the last puzzle (the slide puzzle). Even then, once you figure out how to solve that puzzle, the game is push-over easy. The thing is, this game is geared towards a younger audience. As such, you can’t expect a high degree of difficulty in the first place. On the other hand, the audience is, as a result, very limited to a small demographic of gamers. So, already, this game has a limited audience.

Another problem with this game is the length. For me, this game can be completed in about a half an hour. As a result, there isn’t much to work with here. Not a great aspect of the game to say the least.

I will say this, though, while it isn’t the greatest game I’ve ever played, it is certainly better than some other educational games geared towards younger audiences I’ve played. Examples of this include Hangman and Mario is Missing!. Does this make it a good game? Not necessarily. But it isn’t as terrible as other games either.

One positive factor in this is the fact that this game has a good progression throughout. One part of the game leads very nicely into another rather seamlessly. I’m thinking of the game leading from puzzles to items to beans. You can tackle each objective in a number of different orders. So, that is a positive.

The learning curve and ease of play is certainly much more consistent to that of a game for a younger, less experienced, demographic. So, accessibility is pretty good here. Even the controls don’t take much to figure out as well.

Generally speaking, this game is definitely geared towards a younger less skilled audience. The dead simple difficulty certainly says as much. As a result, the potential audience ends up being very small. The length, however, is exceedingly short. It takes nothing to get through the contents of this game. On the bright side, the learning curve is certainly consistent with that of a “geared towards a younger audience” type game. It’s dead simple to figure out. The progression is nice and seamless. It allows for more freedom to solve the different steps of the game in a much more organic way. Generally speaking, though, this is far from the greatest game I’ve ever played.

The graphics are pretty good in this game. The different characters are well animated. Everything is very well drawn. Some of the effects are pretty good. One highlight I’d like to point out is Donald’s reflection on the board during the shrunk puzzle. The texture of the glass is well realized. So, a solid job there, but the quantity is a little limited thanks to the short game.

The audio is OK, but nothing huge. The music works decently enough with the game, but there’s nothing much that is memorable. The sound effects are pretty decent. So, an overall half decent effort.

Overall, this is a game with a limited audience. The difficulty is extremely easy. So, yes, the title of the game is extremely misleading. The length of the game is exceedingly short, though. The learning curve is appropriate for the target audience. Game progression is also nicely done because you can complete different steps at your leisure. So, it’s lets you do things your way to some degree. The graphics are pretty good with some pretty nice special effects and well animated and drawn characters. The audio is decent enough. Definitely a puzzle game for absolute beginners.

Furthest point in game: Won

General gameplay: 16/25
Replay value: 7/10
Graphics: 8/10
Audio: 3/5

Overall rating: 68%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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