Published on January 13th, 2011 | by Kyle Spencer, Editor
Disney’s Epic Mickey Review
Disney Epic Mickey
Release Date: November 25, 2010
ESRB Rating: E
Publisher: Disney Interactive Studios
Developer: Junction Point Studios
Genre: Adventure / Platformer
This poor mouse has been through a lot throughout the years, from being the feature face of Disneyland to being bombarded by critics for his video games. 2010 marks the return of the famous mouse in Warren Spector’s vision. Some of you may remember Warren’s work from System Shock or even Deus Ex. Warren takes his first steps onto the Wii and takes on one of the biggest video game licenses to hold.
Epic Mickey is a 3D platformer that pulls you through the many years of Disney history. You are equipped with a magical paint brush that can create pieces of the world by painting them in or erase obstacles by using the paint thinner to wash them away. You learn the games story line in the opening cinematic when you learn that Mickey has accidentally released an evil spirit in Yen Sid’s workshop. The world itself is very reminiscent of Disneyland itself. You will travel through different worlds where you will play with a more traditional Mickey and some where you will take control of an early 40s Mickey with black and white and simplistic drawings.
Epic Mickey’s core game mechanics are where this game begins to buckle. The game requires the Wiimote and Nunchuck and you must use the Wiimote to operate Mickey’s paint brush and the Nunchuck to navigate him. The game follows Mickey around but unfortunately the camera is terrible. There have been numerous times that I fell from platforms due to not being able to see where I was jumping. You can use the D-Pad on the Wiimote to move Mickey around at a slow pace and by the way this camera functions, you will need it. The save system does work well in case you die–which can happen often. When you pass certain areas of the world the game will autosave frequently to ensure that you will not get aggravated when having to backtrack. During combat the camera tends to become a nuisance as well. There is no lock-on mechanic so fighting blind becomes way too frequent. Mickey’s main attack comes in the form of shooting paint at his enemies, and in narrow corridors it becomes almost impossible to fight.
The game itself will not take you long to get past. A couple days fighting with the weak game mechanics can see you completing this title at around 10 hours. There was a lot we saw going into Epic Mickey that never made it’s way to fruition. Morality choices that we thought could have made a good gameplay mechanic never shined through as the only choices that you make are whether to use paint or thinner. The majority of the missions in the game are very linear, in terms of go here, grab this, and come back. If you miss a quest there is no going back, and once you close a level there is no backtracking to complete smaller tasks.
Visually Mickey is stylish and features some lavish environments. As stated earlier you will go through Disneyland-themed parks and revisit classic cartoon environments. Remember Fantasia? The use of colors was brilliant and features an almost water color pastel. Visually this is the treatment that Mickey deserved and it’s fun to play through the insane, dark playhouse that Warren Spector created. The music created for this game was pure brilliance. The mood created by Jim Dooley is a puritanical embrace of the past.
The Final Truth:
Disney’s Epic Mickey is a visually stunning, certainly one of the Wii’s better-looking games. Warren Spector succeeded in creating a wonderful fairytale land and dropping one of Disney’s main mascots into a world of eerie disbelief. Jim Dooley put the icing on the cake with a stunning musical score. However, the games core mechanics crippled the fun that was there visually. A horrible camera and lack of attack controls lead to a miss-handling by the great Warren. Sorry, but this is one Mickey journey that showed great promise and is still fun to play, but if I didn’t play the game for review I don’t know if I could see myself wanting to even finish it.
+ Visually stunning
+ Excellent score
+ Interesting story line
+ Memorable environments
– Horrible camera
– Weak controls
– Lack of target lock-on
– Poor use of the paint brush