I can’t tell you why, but something about this game had me more than just a little bit excited before its release. It was very strange, because I’m not generally interested in anything Epic Mickey had to offer. I’m not really a huge fan of Disney. I’m not one who cares greatly about decision/consequence gameplay. And the game’s biggest selling point to hardcore gamers, having Warren Spector behind production, didn’t excite me in least because I had no idea who that even was.
Still, I couldn’t help but getting hyped up for what I had convinced myself was going to be the next great Wii game. And then it actually hit store shelves, and the flood of reviews stating it was merely “average” or simply “good” caused my interest to wane immediately, and the game fell off of my radar until Christmas, when I received it as a gift from Santa Claus.
I can now confirm that the game is merely “good,” as many other critics have stated, but there is something special about Epic Mickey that makes the experience much more satisfying than I had expected.
We’ll start with what is sure to be the biggest hook for any die-hard Disney fan; the story, which is told through beautiful watercolor animations. Players take control of Mickey Mouse and adventure through the world of Wasteland, a forgotten area where all of the forgotten and abandoned Disney cartoons reside. Something terrible is happening in area, which is usually a relaxing and ideal home, and citizens are being terrorized by malicious little ink blots. It is up to you, Mickey Mouse, to help save Wasteland with the help of all sorts of forgotten characters and either restore the world of Wasteland to its former glory or, alternately, simply make your escape and ignore the citizens who beg for your help. You can do this with your powers of using either paint to create and restore objects lost from Wasteland, or using paint thinner to simply destroy obstacles and enemies without taking into account anyone else’s welfare.
You see, a big part of Epic Mickey is choice and consequence. For a large quantity of decisions you make in the game, there is a consequence. Depending on how you handles certain aspects of a certain stage, be it helping restore someone’s home or using thinner to destroy a boss, there will be ramifications for your playstyle. Sadly, though, it really hardly ever makes a huge impact on the player, save maybe some dialogue shifts or getting a small reward at the end of a level for rescuing all characters that are, for whatever reason, trapped in cages. It most certainly is not Mass Effect, but it is still pretty fun and adds some fresh aspects to the classic platforming adventure gameplay.
The largest slice of Epic Mickey’s gameplay pie is very basic, PlayStation 1 era platforming. Double jumps, having full control of your character when he’s in mid-air, jumping challenges and so on and so forth. It’s a lot like Crash Bandicoot, when Crash Bandicoot was still a good game. However, it doesn’t make for very exciting or innovative gameplay, especially when you take into account the absolutely horrendous camera. The only way to manipulate it, is by using the D-pad on the Wii remote, which requires taking your thumb away from the ‘jump’ button, or by pressing C to center it behind you, which only works part of the time for some reason.
It’s a real shame, because the awful camera is the only thing keeping Epic Mickey from being what I wanted it to be — what I hoped it would be. There is tons of stuff to collect, lots of characters to interact with, a gorgeous world to explore, all enhanced by an awesome art style and great sound direction. The platforming challenges may not be the most creative, but everything is made fresh by the multiple puzzles in each level.
Disney Epic Mickey is a great adventure from start to finish. The game sports a gorgeous art style and fantastic sound direction, and Mickey’s quest through Wasteland presents an epic tale that you won’t soon forget. Interacting with other characters in the game presents changes to the story, and while the effects of your decision may not be as groundbreaking as Warren Spector had led us to believe, it’s still a fun way to make every playthrough unique and rewarding.
However, many gamers quite simply aren’t going to be able to get past the weak camera and the underdelivery on gameplay mechanics that could’ve been so much cooler than they were, such as the paint and thinner concept, which actually really restricts what you can interact with. Still, despite its flaws, Disney Epic Mickey is a great adventure game for gamers of all ages
Score: 7.75/10 (Good)