Having finely honed my cynicism and bitterness over the past thirty years, magic tricks don't hold much allure these days. Clearly, Nintendo's Master of Illusion isn't for me. I'm the type that likes hours spent obsessing over RPGs, turn based strategy games and Picross. Master of Illusion is for wee youth, kids who have been unspoiled by the creepiness of David Copperfield or annoyed by street magicians, the type who can be wowed by a Nintendo DS correctly guessing which of five cards you've selected from a pile. It's also a handy magic trick training device, something I'd have more experience with had I remembered to bring a deck of playing cards.
Fortunately for those excited by the prospect of Master of Illusion, whether it be for yourself or for the ever present Little Johnny, Nintendo has packed in a marked deck with the game. There are a handful of training games that will teach players how to perform card tricks, plus plenty of card and number guessing wizardry that the DS will perform on you. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't, but even I was curious about the manner in which the DS was able to so accurately guess my chosen cards.
Let's be clear. Master of Illusion isn't a game. It's less of a game than Brain Age. Sure it has a passable version of Monte Carlo in it, but you wouldn't pay for that. In fact, you might not want to pay for it at all. It's probably not for you. That 8-year old that you want to keep occupied during long car trips, however, he may be very into it.