Dec 11, 2007
With Nintendogs, Brain Age and Flash Focus, Nintendo has proven that videogames don't need to be games at all - not in the traditional sense, anyway - to be successful. Their latest experiment in not-quite-gaming is Master of Illusion, a title packing plenty of entertainment for Penn and Teller-wannabes. In fact, the DS practically plays the part of silent assistant Teller to your spotlight-soaking Penn as you dazzle friends and family with Illusion's mind-bending magic show.
Packaged with a deck of cards, three game modes and a bosom-brimming, belly-baring magic shop owner named Barbara, Illusion gives gamers everything they need - short of top hat and white rabbit - to prepare for and perform their own magic show. Preparation is actually a big part of it; believably pulling off the tricks requires patience and practice as well as slogging through some text-heavy tutorials. But if you're willing to put in the time, the results can yield a great deal of magic-making fun.
Many of the tricks utilize the included cards, the DS and, especially cool, audience participation; like a living room version of pre-self-abuse-era David Blaine, you'll choose volunteers to draw with the stylus, choose cards and blow into the DS's mic. Cartoony visuals compliment your act with nice touches like an audience-selected card appearing in a crystal ball.
When you're sick of the spotlight, Illusion can entertain you, albeit briefly, in solo mode by performing its own tricks, and a training mode allows you to brush up your skills by playing a variety of sense-sharpening Brain Age-like games. One such mini-game has you tapping off seconds to test your internal clock; guess what? That "repeat 'Mississippi' after each number" trick you've been doing your whole life? It doesn't work.