A WiiNintendo game review by hattrick.
Game – Epic Mickey
Players – 1
Obtained – Review copy from Disney Interactive
Mickey Mouse has had quite the career. Starting out as Walt Disney and Ub Iwark’s creation, he has starred in well over 200 cartoons, movies, and video games. Many have stated that he is arguably the most well known cartoon character in all history. From his humble beginnings in “Steamboat Willie,” Mickey has risen to superstar level. However, this cheerful mouse has quite the mischievous side, which becomes even more evident in Disney’s Epic Mickey.
Designed by Warren Spector and his team at Junction Point Studios, our favorite mouse is pulled into a world of forgotten Disney characters and amusement park rides. The most forgotten character is possibly that of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Wasteland, as it is often referred to, is ruled by the Shadow Blot, which was accidentally created by Mickey when he was playing with the magic paintbrush of the Sorcerer Yen Sid.
Mickey must use the paintbrush to apply paint and thinner to the world around him. Paint will create things, while thinner will erase them. Also, he can use the paint to befriend enemies or the thinner to destroy them. Choice is a big part of the story, and Mickey must decide how he will save the day. This is a strong point of the game, and it makes it feel as if you were playing a “choose your own adventure” book.
As a whole, the story of Epic Mickey is large and inviting. You will find yourself eager to know what happens next to your favorite character. However, you will also find many side-stories along the way that are not as exciting as the main storyline. While some of these can be skipped, others will require you to endure the tedious as you wait for the stimulating.
Visuals & Sound
Epic Mickey’s Wasteland is a re-creation of Disneyland. You will find forgotten rides and characters abound. Also included is Mickeyjunk Mountain, which contains mounds of Mickey Mouse licensed lunch boxes, video games, and other collectible items.
While the Wii might not be capable of outputting HD graphics, Epic Mickey is one of the better-looking games for Nintendo’s home console. The amount of attention to detail is evident, as every part of Wasteland feels like its real-world counterpart. You really get the feeling that you are in a world forgotten by Disney. The cut-scenes in hand-drawn style add another creative flair to the visuals, and the two-dimensional side-scrolling levels that connect one world to the next are fun and artistic. The only issues on the visual side are in connection with the poor camera angles that are forced upon the player. The majority of time, you are able to control the camera, but sometimes, you are required to look at the world from a predetermined point-of-view. These are usually not helpful, and it detracts not only from the gameplay, but also from the look of the game.
In connection with the mostly beautiful visuals, Epic Mickey has a fantastic soundtrack that captures the player. Every song and sound effect fits perfectly with the world for which it was created. The developers and composers did a great job of focusing on the small things, such as the change in music depending on the speed Mickey is moving. For instance, if Mickey starts tiptoeing, there will be tones in the music, which match his every step. The only thing the game is missing is voice-acting. Other than the narrator, all dialogue is done through text boxes.
Gameplay & Controls
The main concept behind Epic Mickey is, of course, to save the day. Sure, Mickey was also the one to cause the initial problem, and if he was not messing around, there would be no reason to save the day, but that is beside the point. Classified as an open-ended platform game, Epic Mickey also has elements of an RPG and puzzle game. It can be compared to games like The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Galaxy, but there are other elements that are seemingly brand new. The choose-your-own-adventure works really well, and it helps for replay value, as players will want to play again and again to see what different choices will do to the eventual outcome.
Epic Mickey is played with the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. In terms of basic controls, Mickey’s movements are controlled with the analog stick, and he will jump with the A button. The B button sprays paint, while the Z button sprays thinner. All of this is great, and the player will find little issues with this setup. The camera is controlled with the Control Pad on the Wii Remote, and this will be the main problem. While it is not unusual to find this style of camera control, the directions are seemingly backward from what one would think. Also, as mentioned before, there are some areas where you cannot control the camera, and you will end up starring at a wall or up in the sky as you try to jump from one platform to another. This can be quite frustrating at times, but thankfully those times are kept to a minimum.
Concluding Overall Impressions
While Epic Mickey may have flaws in terms of the camera and some side storylines, the overall product is quite the experience. Players will find themselves immersed in world that is both beautiful and dark. On top of that, because of the gameplay style, replay value is bumped higher, which is always a good thing. Epic Mickey should bring gaming pleasure to both fans of Mickey Mouse and fans of a good single-player adventure game.
FINAL SCORE – 4 out of 5