12th December 2010 - I’ve never been a fan of Disney. Not of the classic range of kids cartoons and especially not of the new-age Disney range of teeny shows about pop stars, presidents and witches. They simply don’t appeal to me. But one cannot deny the cultural impact of the Disney greats; Mickey Mouse in particular. And because of this legacy, I found myself intrigued and interested to discover the world of Walt Disney in what has to be the most appealing and different medium I have ever seen this content put into - what seemed to be a mature, dark tale delivered as a 3D platformer. I found myself in love with a world unknown to me. I found myself in the realm of Epic Mickey.
The story is one of revenge. Of dark and sinister morals. Of a twisted wasteland run by a seemingly evil rabbit. And above all; one of everything you wouldn’t expect to find in a Disney game. Follow Mickey Mouse, as he find himself in a war torn wasteland of evil that he accidentally helped create. A home for the forgotten and lost Disney characters, the Wasteland is occupied by dark and evil characters galore.
Epic Mickey features a good amount of varying gameplay, keeping it constantly feeling fresh and new. Primarily, it’s a platformer. Not one of the classic 2D ones, but something on par with the likes of Ratchet & Klank or Blinx. But Epic Mickey mixes things up a bit with 2D transitional levels, a ton of unique mini-games and even some side-quests. To further separate it from the crowd of modern platformers, Epic Mickey takes it one step further, giving gamers access to the ever important moral system, which can change story, missions and characters in ways only seen in the top RPGs. So to simply call this game a platformer would be selling it very short, as its so much more than that.
The game overall though, falls short on a handful of issues. Mainly, the fact that it’s a Wii exclusive means its limited to gimmicky controls and mechanics, which in turn give off some major camera issues throughout the story. The gameplay ideas though, are all top notch, particularly the paint brush (Mickey’s main ‘weapon’). It can both paint on, and thin out the world around you, and is used in the games many puzzles, fighting and everything in between.
Lets be fair; the Wii doesn’t have good graphics. It cant have good graphics, no matter how much time is put into the games; it simply doesn’t have the guts to process a good looking game by todays standards. So comparing it to the likes of Alan Wake, God of War and Halo for whether it looks good or not will do no justice. So, with that in mind, one can only say that for a Wii game, Epic Mickey is as good as it comes. The models are well designed and smooth, and the level designs are all surprisingly large and detailed.
Above all else though, Epic Mickey is one of the better artistically designed games ive played. The way the game pays tribute to all things Disney and finds itself being thrown into classic cartoon worlds and era’s is stunning. It has to experienced to be appreciated, that’s for sure, but the most justice I can do the game in words is to say that from the very start, to the very finish, Epic Mickey is full of visual surprises and is graphically pleasing.
Now, this is one of those games where a particular part - in this case, the sound - is a mix of all things good and bad. It has some very stylish score moments that fit in well with the gameplay and environments, but the fact that it lacks some big things like voice acting and a great range of different sounds means that a lot of the cutscenes are quite boring and having to read the speech bubbles and captions all the time gets real old, real quick.
Epic Mickey doesn’t have a multiplayer mode of any sort, but its one of those games like we used to play as kids; one that doesn’t need multiplayer to be fun. Its become a rare commodity these days for us gamers to get to experience a game of high quality that doesn’t lighten the single-player mode with a half-asses multiplayer add-on. So for a full priced title, is Epic Mickey a high enough quality to forgive its lack of different game modes? Absolutely!
Epic Mickey’s story mode is great, giving players an above-average length for an above-average quality adventure/RPG/platform experience which is in many ways unmatched by the opposition. Its one of those games you can reply for fun, not achievements/trophies (im looking at you 360 and PS3) or to get different endings. It’s pure enjoyment in a video game.
From the get-go, its clear this isn’t your average Disney game. No, it’s a game built for a more mature crowd than Disney usually attracts. But kids can still enjoy this great platform adventure game (even if they don’t understand the severity of some of the story elements like Mickeys brother Oswald trying to kill him and steal his heart because he’s twisted with jealously) with adults courtesy of well designed visuals and Disney‘s trademark style. Epic Mickey has everything you want from a modern platformer and more, featuring some unique gameplay and genre-blending mechanics, but is ultimately brought down by the Wii’s lack of complete control and some shocking camera issues. Epic Mickey designed as a multi-platformer would have been a much more successful hit, but nether less this is one of the better Wii games of the year.
AAG SCORE: 8.5/10
+ Great story and campaign mode
+ Paintbrush mechanics are awesome
+ RPG elements work very well
+ Visuals and style very appealing
- Control limitations are frustrating
- Camera issues also annoy
Reviewed and Written By John Elliott