While the retail version of Master of Illusion was an interesting package, it didn't exactly light up the DS sales charts, nor did it get much love from the media either. So how exactly does a second stripped down version of the game fare as an inexpensive DSiWare title? Not much better than the first one, as it turns out.
Master of Illusion: Shuffle Games basically takes three shuffle-type magic tricks from the retail release and packages them together in a tidy DSiWare bundle. They also include the same Vanishing Card trick from the first instalment as a bonus to those who didn't purchase the first title. But while there are three different shuffle tricks, they're all very similar in style and execution, making them feel like basically one new trick with two variations included.
The first trick is called Birth Month and has you passing your DSi system to another person so that they can input their birth month and then shuffle the 12 months up. You then have them read aloud through the shuffled months of the year until you stop them when they finally read the month they've chosen out loud. Of course there's a simple trick to the whole process, which the game will teach you before you begin the trick. It's a simple trick and will likely fool most people, at least the first time you perform it for them.
The next two tricks are basically exactly the same, with variations on the content of choices available. Future Vacations allows the person to choose from a group of vacation destinations in the form of various countries, while Recreation serves up choices of various recreational activities to choose from. Much like the original Birth Month trick, this allows the person to choose one country or activity and then have them shuffle them all up. They'll then read them aloud until you recognize the one they've chosen and stop them. Once again, it's a very simple solution that the game teaches you to recognize.
The Disappearing Card trick makes a return in this second Master of Illusion release as well. In Disappearing Card you use the stylus to shuffle around a group of cards, select 5 random playing cards using your stylus, and then the game will tell you to choose one of these and to picture it in your mind; the computer then shuffles up the cards and attempts to remove the one that you are currently picturing in your mind. While it might fool you for a minute or two, it's also a trick that's pretty easy to figure out.
The tricks are all very easy to pick up and learn, but once you've shown them to your friends, there's not much else you can do with this title. If Nintendo wants to release these tricks individually, they should probably make them available for free, or at least bundle a few more tricks together to add a bit more value to the overall package. It's nice that you at least get a few variations of the magic trick this time around, but it still ultimately leaves you wishing for more content.
Visually there's not much to speak of either. The majority of the game is made up of the choice menus, aside from the same tiny playing cards featured in the returning Disappearing Card trick. You do get a nice little graphical presentation at the end of the tricks, but other than that, there's not much else to look at. The music and sound effects are pretty much the same: they're very basic and certainly don't stand out in any way, shape, or form.
Once again Nintendo has basically just pulled a couple of magic tricks from the DS retail release and bundled them together in yet another 200 Nintendo Point DSiWare release. The tricks are fun for a short amount of time, but given how quickly the novelty wears off, this is not likely to be a title you'll spend much time with. Unless you're a die-hard lover of magic or just have absolutely nothing else to do in life, you might want to skip this second rehashed DSiWare offering. Even at a mere 200 Points, it still doesn't offer much bang for your buck.