Developer: Junction Point Studios
It seems like ages since we’ve seen Mickey on the cover of a game but who bothers remembering when each game he’s been in has been mediocre at best? This time Junction Point Studios deliver Epic Mickey, quite possibly the best Mickey/Disney game released in years and it’s dripping in delicious Disney nostalgia. Epic Mickey starts out with our old pal Mickey curiously going through a magical mirror that sends him to Yen Sid’s tower. It’s here where Mickey decides to mess around with the old wizards latest arts and craft project by tossing thinner all over it when he accidentally creates the shadow blot. Cut to a few years later and the shadow blot decides he wants Mickey to take a trip into the world he’s been wasting for a while and this is where your journey to stop the shadow blot and return the Wasteland to normal begins. Being a huge Disney fan I was ecstatic when I saw the concept art first released for Epic Mickey. Remember all that grimdark creepy looking shit they pulled out? Yea the game looks nowhere that creepy but it still manages to tip on the edge of being uncomfortable in certain levels.
Once you finish the tutorial level you’ll arrive at the hub world called Mean Street where you’ll have access to the other worlds and various quests/shops. As you progress through the game and it’s various sidequests you’ll unlock projector screens that take you to different worlds which in turn have their own projector screens to go to another world. Some of these worlds have towns like Mean Street as well where you can choose to do sidequests or not which all basically involve fetching an item. The areas themselves have some of the best design I’ve seen in a while with each area feeling unique with tons of little details and references to anything Disney. One thing I wish they added was a way to instantly travel from world to world since many quests will have you going to multiple places to fetch items and you’re going to have to go through those 2D segments multiple times. Sure, they’re fun the first or second time, but after having to run through the same shit so many times it starts to lose it’s appeal.
If you recall a few months prior to EM’s release they hyped up the idea of paint and thinner, these are the tools with which you shall use to wreak havoc or restore the Wasteland with. The way it works is simple enough; anything that’s bright and colorful can be erased and if you notice an empty space that has a certain ‘overlay’ over it then you can most likely paint something in. The concept is brilliant but the overall delivery seems to fall a bit flat due to the hype built up about how you could paint/erase anything you see when in reality it’s just the few obvious parts that stick out more than the red & yellow bricks in the middle of a jungle in Uncharted. That’s not to say it’s a badly implemented idea, it’s just that it didn’t live up to what I was expecting. Nonetheless you’ll use your paintbrush as your main weapon throughout the game and this is where the game pushes it’s morality system once again at you. Using paint on your enemies will turn them into allies who will instantly begin to attack their buddies, but this isn’t a permanent effect since if you hit your newly turned allies too much or spray a bit of thinner on them they’ll see the error of their ways and try to
kill murder maim pleasantly knock you out. On the other hand you’ve got your trusty thinner with which you can use to basically erase the enemies. Thinner will also erase armor off Beetleworx enemies so you can punch the inner gears while paint will slow them down. Paint and thinner once again give you a moral choice while fighting one of the many bosses you’ll encounter in the Wasteland. You can either purify them with the paint or just erase them completely with the thinner. The thing I liked about this is that in most games the evil option is always the easiest, but in Epic Mickey doing it the evil way might actually being harder.
One thing that annoyed me about the paint/thinner is that you can use it to basically tear apart the various towns you encounter and turn the citizens into puddles of ink, but once you return you’ll notice everything was reset to how it originally was. The fact that they stressed on how your behavior in the Wasteland will change how you play gave me the impression that I can make it look better one town at a time, only to return and see all the holes I patched up were erased and everything looked like it was shit all over again. You’ll also encounter some special weapons like a clock to slow down time, an anvil to drop on enemies/switches, & a TV set to distract those pesky blotlings. One of the major complaints most reviewers are having with this game is the camera. Personally I had no trouble at all with it and was able to see where I had to go and position it whenever I wanted. There are times when the game will stop camera movement, but that’s simply because the section you’re on is most likely a 2D platforming part so the point of looking forward isn’t necessary at all.
Instead of using the 3D models to show a cutscene we’re treated to wonderfully drawn animations to help draw the narrative with noises that fit each character and subtitles to allow us to understand their ‘Disney’ lingo. The graphics themselves aren’t exactly top-notch for a Wii title but Epic Mickey makes it work and the art-style looks perfect for what I would except from a Disney game. The music is definitely one of my favorite aspects of this game though, with each world having a brilliantly done theme that feels exactly like a Disney song would sound like.
The Final Word
You probably bought this if you’re a Disney fan like myself and enjoying the hell out of it, but if you’re still unsure about it then stop being unsure and go out and get this fantastic game. Oh yea did I mention it’s pretty long, popping out around 15 hours?
– MonsterVine Rating: 5 out of 5 – Excellent