Master of Illusion review

the magic word is... fun

GamesRadar+ Verdict


  • +

    Magic show mode

  • +

    Friends and family interactivity

  • +

    Learning Criss Angel's schtick


  • -

    Text-heavy tutorials

  • -

    Solo mode is just ok

  • -

    Won't fool everyone

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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.

More info

GenreOther Games/Compilations
DescriptionIf you've got the time and patience to prep and an audience willing to go along for the ride, Master of Illusion could turn you and your DS into the hit of the holiday party.
US censor rating"Everyone"
UK censor rating""
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)
Matt Cabral
A full-time freelance writer based in Lizzie Borden's hometown, Matt Cabral has covered film, television, and video games for over a decade. You can follow him on Twitter @gamegoat, friend him on Facebook, or find him in the basement of an abandoned building hoarding all the canned goods, med-kits, and shotgun shells.