The Mouse Is In The House

Disney Epic Mickey
Gameplay
graphics
audio
value
fun
Genre
Reviewed On
Wii
Available For
Wii
Difficulty
Intermediate
Publisher(s)
Developer(s)
ESRB
ESRB
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Mickey Goes Epic in a Darker Disney Adventure

I was all set to enjoy this game. It’s an adventure game with a morality engine. Like in the game Infamous, decisions you make during play affect the way the game unfolds. I love the concept and for that aspect of the game, Disney hits it out of the park. If they’d stayed with that game, this would be a more favorable review. Sadly, this game suffers from an attempt to cram too much into one title.

As the game opens, you see Mickey Mouse asleep in bed. He wakes up and enters a magical mirror. Inside the mirror, he discovers a newly created world that a wizard has left unattended. The world is to be a home for all the lost or abandoned Disney characters. Unfortunately, the wizard has left his magical paintbrush and magical thinner unattended.

For those of you who’ve seen Fantasia, you know Mickey shouldn’t be left around magical objects unsupervised. He plays with the brush, spills the thinner and generally makes a mess, which ruins the world and creates a hideous blot that tries to come after him. Mickey escapes through the mirror and seems safe. Then one fateful night the blot comes through the mirror and drags Mickey into the destroyed world. Luckily, Mickey manages to grab the magical paintbrush before he falls.

The magical paintbrush is Mickey’s primary tool in this game. With it he can shoot paint or thinner. Paint can rebuild parts of the world around him. With thinner he can dissolve things. The moral decisions in this game revolve around when to paint and when to dissolve. Some enemies can be blasted with paint and turned into friends, but if they’re hit with thinner, they disappear entirely.

Parts of the environment can even be blasted with thinner or filled in with paint. This makes for some fun puzzle solving. For instance, sometimes rocks block your path. If you dissolve the floor, the rocks fall through and then you can refill the floor with paint and cross safely.

It’s very easy to pick up how the controls work and the Wii remote functions perfectly in this game, especially for Mickey’s spin move. By simply shaking the Wii remote Mickey goes into a spin that breaks open things treasure chests and allows him to interact with certain aspects of the environment like suits of armor or giant gears.

As I was playing through Dark Beauty’s Castle, I loved this game. I completed the level, and in order to go to the next location, I jumped Mickey through a projection screen, which was cute, since you are playing as a cartoon with a movie history that spans decades.

Then the nightmare began.

Suddenly, I was dropped into a 2D platformer. Newsflash, if I wanted to play a 2D platformer, I would be playing Angry Birds on my iPhone, not an adventure game on my Wii. Apparently, Disney is unaware that there are different types of gamers. In the interest of trying to make Epic Disney epic, they apparently wanted to make it all games to all people. Instead, it just made me angry.

I don’t like platform games. I didn’t like them in the 80s and I still don’t like them. I was enjoying the story of Epic Disney. I was enjoying the game play. I was enjoying the lovingly rendered cartoon 3D environment. Then I was stuck in 2D trying to decide the exact right moment to jump on a leaf from a rotating bed. That kind of game makes me want to throw things and my fun day of gaming became a nightmare of timing puzzles and pointless waiting to get to the rest of the story.

I could forgive the 2D platform if it was just a mini-game that I could ignore and continue with the story. Unfortunately, every single time you complete a level and jump into the projection screen to go to the next one, you’re dropped into another 2D platformer.

If you’re the kind of person who enjoys both adventure games with some RPG elements and 2D platformers, then this is the game for you. Run, don’t walk, to the store and buy it. However, if you like adventure games with RPG elements, but platformers make you want to pull your hair out, this game is going to make you crazy. If you just like platformers, you’re going to get bored with all the wandering around before you get to the 2D platform.

The only other complaint I have with the game is that they should have had voice actors performing the rolls. The little muted sounds that accompany the text balloons are annoying. Other than that and the 2D platform, this game is great.

Epic Mickey is complex and kind of dark for Disney. The moral choices that affect gameplay are really interesting and not always as obvious as they might sound. Seeing some of the obscure Disney characters like Oswald the Lucky Rabbit was interesting too. I wanted to love it, but I’m no King of Kong and the 2D platform transitions killed it for me. I hope you have better luck with it.

Editor’s Note: Game reviewed on a Nintendo Wii.

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