When I first saw Disney Epic Mickey at E3, I thought, “What a beautiful, ingenious game.” Now that I’ve played it, I can still say it’s beautiful and ingenious.
|DISNEY EPIC MICKEY
Disney for Wii
Replay Value: 7.0
Overall Score: 8.0
Official Web Site
Pros: Wondrous re-imagining of Mickey; brain-busting puzzles; detailed graphics
Cons: Dizzying camera angles; gameplay can feel repetitive; graphics sometimes have jaggies
But, sadly, it also has gameplay issues.
First, here’s the good stuff: You’ve never seen Mickey like this, frightened but so heroic. During the opening movie, some strange, scary things begin to happen. By the end of it, Mickey is pulled through his mirror by a monster. The offending evil being is known as the Shadow Blot, and he has the upper hand.
Mickey is stuck in Wasteland, a creepy but cool place where everything has gone terribly wrong—and it’s kind of Mickey’s fault. Wasteland is wonderful to explore, inspired by old Disney cartoons, classic rides and amusement parks.
It’s no small task, but your job is to restore Wasteland to its beautiful former self. In doing so, you’ll defeat the Shadow Blot as you solve the puzzles and meet the motley and varied characters that originally sprang from the minds of Walt Disney and his team of animators.
One of these characters is Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Mickey’s brother. As the story goes, Walt Disney created Oswald before Mickey. But he lost the rights to make Oswald cartoons. So he created the mouse. If Oswald had gotten a green light, there would probably be no Mickey!
In the game, Oswald ruled over Wasteland before Shadow Blot took over. But now Oswald is mad at Mickey for unknowingly making Wasteland into a place run by the nasty Blot.
Will Mickey reunite with Oswald by the end of the game? Will they become friends again? That’s up to you, gamer.
THE POWER OF PAINT
Epic Mickey features some gameplay you’ve seen before, like spin moves and double jumps. But what’s amazing is the ability to use paint to create things and paint thinner to destroy things. Use paint to add roads or bridges. Use thinner to get rid of floors or piles of boulders blocking your path. You can even use them on your enemies to make them your friends. Once an enemy is your pal, he’ll fight against his former brothers for you.
All that is really top-notch stuff. Add a soundtrack with sweet violins full of sweeping moods and you’ll feel like you’re in a Disney movie that you control. Mix in weird bosses like the sneering Clocktower, and you’ll think you’re a hero after beating him.
Plus, at the end of each level, you get a surprise: a short extra that works like a 2-D platformer game. The extras are based on cartoons of yore, like Mickey and the Beanstalk.
As interesting as Epic Mickey sounds, this review comes with a serious warning.
What hurts the game are really bad camera angles. Not only do they make you feel lost and disoriented in Wasteland, they can make you feel dizzy (like you want to hurl).
The camera angles are the real enemies in Epic Mickey. There’s just no excuse for such an expensive-to-make project to have these issues. It’s the difference between a score of 8.0 and a perfect 10.
So to prevent getting dizzy, I recommend that you don’t play more than 30 minutes at a time.
ALL IS NOT LOST
If you play safely that way, you’ll probably enjoy the riches that Epic Mickey has to offer. And you’ll find your way past annoying enemies, like the long-eared Bunny Children. They swarm around you, pick you up and toss you in a Thinner pool (which drains your health). Also, watch out for the very powerful and very round purple Slobber. He sucks you in with his breath and spits Thinner at you. Gross.
Finally, look for Film Reel icons along the way. Trade them in at Mean Street’s Cinema for everything from power ups to cartoons.
There’s much here to enjoy in Epic Mickey. It’s really a shame about those dang camera angles.
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