Hop ‘n bop Disney style
Hop ‘n bops are the lifeblood of the older consoles. You didn’t have a decent console if it didn’t have one romp with a mascot-like character at the helm. Even the terrible consoles had at least one. So, it should be no surprise that a great system such as the Super Nintendo was chock full of great bops. While a bit on the easy side and slightly derivative, Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse is in the pantheon of good platformers for the SNES.
The game starts out with cutesy lore: Mickey and his friends Goofy and Donald are playing a game of catch with Pluto at the park. The ball gets thrown too far and Pluto runs off. Goofy and Donald chase Pluto and eventually disappear, leaving Mickey to search for them. Mickey tumbles down a cliff and finds himself in a strange magical land. After a bit of searching, a wizard appears to inform Mickey that Pete is a tyrant over the land and has captured Pluto. With that information, it’s now up to Mickey to save his canine companion and reunite with his friends.
While searching for Pluto isn’t hard, some of the mechanics are little cumbersome. The spin-and-throw mechanic is weird at first, but eventually it becomes second nature. It’s a little too off sometimes, making clean hits more miss than success. There are costume changes for Mickey that serve to highlight the magic usage of the game, and each has a way to be useful. The problem is, it’s not always clear what you should be using the suits for individually. And upgrading them is sometimes a chore. However, the overall basic hop ‘n bop mechanics are excellent and feel tight. Mickey is easy to control, and bopping through the beautiful scenery is an easy affair.
While the story isn’t anything to really get excited about, the graphics are. They’re super lush and beautiful, with detailed sprites and abundant colors to brighten even the darkest of realms. The music is also appropriately bright, with a lot of similarities to the later excellent Aladdin soundtrack. It’s a Capcom music show so the soundtrack is at worst decent. The tracks do add a little something to the romp through locations, so the music is serviceable.
This is the very definition of hop ‘n bop in the early days of 16-bit platformers. It’s got a decent story, beautiful graphics and a decent soundtrack with excellent platforming and a variety of mechanics to learn. If it had a save feature, that might have pushed it to the upper echelon of SNES platforming. But, that bit of missing magic along with some quirky control issues keep it from being an epic Mickey quest.