Disney is one of the most recognizable brands in the world today, with characters such as Mickey Mouse becoming an important part of pop culture. Over the years, there have been dozens of games released by Disney, with many being focused on classic characters, stories, and movies. As with many adaptation games, there has been a fair share of mediocre titles, but there are also plenty of gems that still hold up today.
This list will only focus on officially licensed Disney games, so the upcoming Mickey Mouse horror game won’t be making an appearance. Here are the 10 best Disney games that you need to play.
10. Disney’s Hercules
Disney’s Hercules may be one of the most long-forgotten gems of the fifth generation. This is likely due to it feeling like a previous generation game a lot, with its style being similar to the likes of Aladdin, although it did incorporate some 3D elements too. If you didn’t play this game growing up or even knew it existed, it would be understandable. But, it is a title worth revisiting and checking out if you have the means to do so.
The game did see a PS3 port as a PSOne Classic, but it has since been delisted. Today, the only way to legally play the game is by purchasing an original copy or playing it on Steam.
9. The Lion King
The Lion King is a must-play game for any Disney fan. Originally released in 1994 on the SNES and Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, The Lion King is one of the most faithful adaptations of a movie game, with backgrounds and animations drawn by the same team behind the feature film. Two of its levels are also based on scenes that were cut from the movie, making it one of the most complete ways to experience the story. The only reason it ranks lower on this list is due to its notorious difficulty, which can be offputting for some gamers.
The Lion King is available to play today as part of the Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King collection, which also includes the Sega Genesis version of Aladdin, as well as DLC that added the SNES version of Aladdin and The Jungle Book. This collection is available on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Nintendo Switch.
8. Disney Dreamlight Valley
Disney Dreamlight Valley is the newest game on this, which was released in 2022. The game is described as a hybrid between a life simulation and an adventure game. Disney Dreamlight Valley shares a lot of similarities to the Animal Crossing series, with the player building their own village in a universe populated by characters from various Disney and Pixar franchises.
The game does set itself apart from Animal Crossing as it has a story element attached. The world was overtaken by Night Thorns, which caused memories of the world to be forgotten and it is your job to rediscover the stories of the world. This is a fun change of pace from the usual shooters and RPGs that are in many gamers’ libraries. On the surface, it may not seem like your type of game, but just give it a try and you might enjoy it.
Disney Dreamlight Valley is available on PC via Steam and the Xbox Store, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Nintendo Switch. The game is playable on Xbox Game Pass for both console and PC.
DuckTales is one of the best platformers on the NES that doesn’t have the words Super Mario or Mega Man in its name. Coincidentally, the game was developed by many of the key developers behind the Mega Man, which speaks volumes as to its quality. With the game being based on a children’s cartoon, DuckTales is easy enough for young gamers to play as it isn’t very difficult or long, but also a fun enough experience for older gamers to enjoy. DuckTales also saw a faithful Game Boy version released the following year in 1990, as well as a sequel in 1993, which was also released on the NES and Game Boy despite the SNES being three years old at that point.
A remastered version of DuckTales was released in 2013, which included voiceovers from the actors of the original show who were still alive at the time. This version was released on PC, PS3, Xbox 360, and the Wii U. As with many entries on this list, the game is no longer available on the PlayStation Store but it can be purchased on Steam or the Xbox Store, with it being playable on the Xbox One and Xbox Series X.
The original 1990 game was released as part of the Disney Afternoon Collection which also included Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers, Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers 2, DuckTales 2, Darkwing Duck, and TaleSpin. This collection is available on Steam, the PlayStation Store, and Xbox Store.
6. Epic Mickey
Epic Mickey is a forgotten 3D platformer on the Nintendo Wii with a unique and fun mechanic that helped to set it apart from other similar games at the time. In the game, Mickey Mouse utilizes paint and thinner to create or remove areas from the game, as well as being used to befriend or defeat enemies. Epic Mickey was created during a period where Disney was looking to make the character into more of a hero rather than a fun-loving happy character, with other games such as Kingdom Hearts also helping to achieve this.
This game is most notable for being the first time that Mickey Mouse and Oswald The Lucky Rabbit were seen together. The character was created in 1927 by Walt Disney for Universal Pictures and it wasn’t until 2006 that Disney acquired the rights to the characters, meaning the two could be put together. Epic Mickey was unfortunately never ported to any other platforms, meaning if you want to check this out you will need to dust off your Nintendo Wii. But, its sequel, Epic Mickey 2: The Power Of Two, did see a release on PC, PS3, PS Vita, Xbox 360, Wii, and Wii U. Currently, it is still able to be purchased on Steam or the Xbox Store, with it being playable on the Xbox One and Xbox Series X.
You may be wondering what Disney franchise this game is from, and you’d be right to guess it isn’t part of any. But, Split/Second was published by Disney Interactive Studios, and I will have very few opportunities in my writing career to talk about this game. So, I am taking this time to do it because this game deserved way more attention than it got.
Split/Second is a racing game set within a reality TV show, where you compete across various tracks that are full of destructible events to wreak havoc and take out your opponents. As you race you will be able to trigger events on the course that can either create new shortcuts to get ahead or cause things to blow up to destroy your opponent’s vehicle. The game was released on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 and is one of the most underrated games of the seventh generation. Unfortunately, the studio was shut down just one year later, but the game was ported to Steam in 2014. While the online functionality no longer works, there is still a dedicated community that hosts its own servers. If you own a seventh-generation console or a PC, you should check out this game. It is a bit janky compared to modern racers but it is still incredibly fun to play today and I live in hope that one day we will see a sequel.
4. Disney’s Aladdin
This is one of the more confusing entries on this list as two different versions were developed. One was by Virgin Interactive and released on the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, and the other by Capcom and released on the SNES. This entry is going to focus on the SNES version because it is the better game. No, just because you had a Genesis as a kid it doesn’t mean that version is better, it isn’t.
When it comes to movie adaptations, most have been dreadful, especially during the 90s and 2000s, but Aladdin got everything right. The game follows the plot of the movie well, while also being a solid platformer that is fun enough for experienced gamers as well as accessible enough for fans of the movie who may not play games. Aladdin would go on to sell 1.8 million copies, making it the second best-selling Capcom game on the SNES behind Street Fighter 2.
I recently went back and completed this game for the first time in a long time in 2022 and it was just as enjoyable then as it was when I was a kid. If you’re a fan of the movie then definitely check this one out. It is available to play as part of the DLC for the Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King collection along with The Jungle Book.
3. Toy Story 2: Buzz Lightyear to the Rescue
Toy Story 2: Buzz Lightyear to the Rescue is a 3D platformer and third-person shooter game, something you probably wouldn’t expect from Disney. The game largely follows the events of the movie as Buzz Lightyear tries and rescue Woody after he is stolen by Al McWhiggin at a yard sale. Even today, Toy Story 2 is incredibly fun to play and has aged fairly well, even if the camera is a bit awkward to control compared to modern titles.
PlayStation owners can still easily access the game today as it was ported to the PS3 and PS Vita in 2011, and more recently it was brought to the PS4 and PS5 in 2022 and is included in the Classic Catalogue for PS Plus Premium subscribers.
2. Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
When it comes to retro platforming games from the early 90s, two names immediately spring to mind, Super Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog. But, in 1990, Disney released arguably one of the greatest platforming games of all time that unfortunately may have flown under the radar for a lot of people. Originally released on the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive with a later 8-bit port on the Master System and Game Gear, Castle of Illusion follows Mickey Mouse as he tries to rescue Minnie Mouse from an evil witch named Mizrabel.
Castle of Illusion was developed and published by Sega, the creators of Sonic the Hedgehog, so you know it isn’t a cheap cash grab looking to utilize an established IP like many similar titles of the era. A remake was released on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 in 2013 with a mobile port in 2016. Unfortunately, it has since been delisted from the PlayStation Store, but it is still available to purchase on Steam and is playable on both the Xbox One and Xbox Series X.
1. Kingdom Hearts 2
If you’re unaware of what Kingdom Hearts is, it is a series made by Square Enix, the developers behind Final Fantasy, but set in the Disney universe. Many iconic Disney characters make an appearance, including Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Aladdin, and Jack Sparrow, as well as some Final Fantasy characters dropping in from time to time.
Kingdom Hearts 2 takes place one year after the events of the first game and is widely regarded as the best in the series. Its RPG elements are light enough that newer players will be able to get to grips with the style easily, while not alienating more experienced players. The game’s main protagonist, Sora, has become a beloved video game character and was even added as a playable fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate after years of fans requesting he be added to the Smash Bros. series.