Mickey Mouse is arguably one of the most, if not the most famous of all animated characters. His Image has been used on television, film and merchandise for generations. Yet other than his recent Kingdom Hearts presence, the little guy has been virtually missing from the modern gaming world. Enter Disney Epic Mickey, but does the game live up to its name?
The game starts off with a gorgeous cinematic explaining the circumstances surrounding Mickey’s world being turned into a dark and twisted place. As the game progresses you are shown several different cut scenes using a retro style of animation that works well for the story, it lacks any significant voiceovers but it does not hinder the game in anyway.
In addition to the fantastic cut scenes the in-game visuals are also impressive. The textures and models turn this into a form of art, with each level more stunning the last. The world is filled with characters and locations that any Disney fan will recognize, but has a slight warped feel like something found in a Tim Burton film. It’s hard to explain the look and feel of this game so it has to be seen to be appreciated.
Throughout the game you’ll find portals that place Mickey into a side-scrolling mini level. Each level is reminiscent of a classic Mickey movie that I’m sure will please any Disney fan. They work well in mixing up the gameplay but after a few of these levels they start to blend together and feel the same.
The Controls in Disney Epic Mickey work fairly well with the exception of a few targeting issues. If you’ve played either of the Mario Galaxy titles this will feel slightly familiar. The Wii remote is used as an onscreen target while the nunchuk controls your movement. Shaking the remote spins Mickey, “A” will jump and “Z” and “B” control your projectile. It would have been nice to have some form of control customizing as some of the secondary buttons felt out a little out of place.
Mickey has two forms of attack, paint and thinner. When using thinner you can attack and eliminate the enemies, using paint will turn them into friendly targets. While both require the same effort, choosing paint or thinner becomes a moral choice and has a direct impact as the game progresses. Changing the environments with the paint/thinner is also a major part of the game and while it sounds good in theory, its shortcomings stand out early in the game. The objects and areas of the world that can be affecting with the paint/thinner system are predetermined. This forces the player to interact with the world in a specific way and removes any freedom the player has to progress.
In any third person game the camera system will make or break the experience and while the camera in Disney Epic Mickey is not broken, it certainly comes close. More times than I remember I’ve died because the camera angle is off when trying to jump to a new platform or target an enemy. The camera also seems to hiccup whenever I’m near several objects or in a small area. You are given the option to center the view with a simple tap of the “C” button but once you start moving it goes right back to an awkward angle.
So does Disney Epic Mickey live up to its own name? Almost, but due to the poor camera and questionable game mechanics, it misses top marks. Fortunately it still does a lot of things right with the impressive visuals and fantastic story telling. If you’re a Disney fan and can overlook the flaws then this game is for you.
A copy of Disney Epic Mickey for Wii was provided to us for this review.