Epic Mickey Review (Wii)

February 19, 2011

Reviews, Wii

Epic Mickey is an adventure based game by Junction Point Studios for the Wii console. It is an attempt to re-brand Mickey from the lovable cheerful mouse we all know and love to a more mischievous and adventurous character.

Story: 5/5

Epic Mickey begins with Mickey searching through Yen Sid’s workshop after slipping through a mirror in his house. After seeing a model displayed on a table, Mickey picks up Yen Sid’s magic paintbrush, and inadvertently creates the Shadow Blot while using it. Panicking, Mickey uses paint thinner to try and erase it, but manages to damage the entire model during the process. Unsuccessful, Mickey returns to his house through the magic mirror, leaving the Shadow Blot to enter the model world. Many years pass and Mickey forgets the whole scenario, until the Shadow Blot breaks through the mirror and drags Mickey into the model world known as Wasteland. Mickey learns that Wasteland is the home of many forgotten characters from cartoon past, including Oswald the Lucky rabbit. Oswald is jealous of Mickey for his popularity and fame, and initially refuses to help him. Meanwhile, the Mad Doctor and the Shadow Blot enact a plan to steal Mickey’s heart, for all forgotten characters no longer have hearts of their own, and need it to escape Wasteland. Throughout the game, Mickey visits numerous characters from the old Disney cartoons that aid him in his quest to return home. If you’re a fan of Disney, you’ll notice the reappearance of forgotten characters, as well as robotic re-imaginings of more current ones. The story is darker than normal Disney stories, but still retains its humor and good-natured storytelling. It was a great way to revisit old locations and characters from Disney’s timeless classics.

Gameplay: 3/5

Epic Mickey uses an interesting game play technique involving paint and thinner. The worlds in wasteland have been destroyed by the paint and thinner that Mickey accidently spilled into the model, leaving the levels partly unfinished. Mickey needs to use paint and thinner to add parts of the world that are gone to traverse to new areas and solve puzzles. The two are easily found throughout the game, and even if you are completely empty, they refill over time. This game play technique brought a new dimension to Epic Mickey that I really enjoyed. However, there were many issues as well. For one, combat was annoying at times. In order to defeat enemies, you would need to whack them with a flick of the Wii remote, then either 1) paint them to make the enemies good (leaving them to help fight other enemies with you) or 2) use thinner to eliminate them completely. The game tries to add a moral element letting the player decide whether to choose a good or bad role. There are many collectibles throughout the game, and depending as to which side you choose, you’ll receive different collectibles, as well as different story paths. While this didn’t affect the overall storyline, it presented a challenging combat mechanic that found me losing life after life because of the awkward controls during combat, especially when trying to point the cursor at the enemies while moving and using both the paint and thinner. The second issue was the bad camera. There were too many moments when I didn’t know where to go or what to jump over, leading to many confusing moments and instant deaths. What I did enjoy were the 2D side-scrolling segments between each “level.” These were recreations of early Mickey cartoons that were fun to play, however, there were moments of backtracking in Epic Mickey that made these 2D segments tedious to play through over and over again. The game also felt a lot longer than it needed to be. I completed it in about 11 hours, and that was with me not doing every side “mission.” There was a moment in the game where you felt like it was over, but then it kind of dragged the last few hours, making you wonder when it was going to end.

Graphics: 3/5

For a Wii game, the graphics were mediocre. It does a good job of showing what you need to see, but there was nothing that really stood out. What I mostly had trouble with in the game was how dark it was. I understand that Wasteland was supposed to look unfinished, but there were moments when I couldn’t quite see what was surrounding Mickey, leading to unavoidable hits and more instant deaths. The game doesn’t even provide an option to adjust the brightness of the screen, which is almost unheard of in today’s games. The cut scenes were an interesting opacity that didn’t really feel like Mickey colorful tone, but worked for the style of game the designers were going for.

Sound: 3/5

Sound quality was decent in Epic Mickey, giving us some memorable tunes to hum along and providing us with the necessary effects. I wish they had provided more though, as the tunes were limited. I would have also liked to see more voice acting /dialogue in the game, as most of the cut scenes had you reading text while listening to mumbled sounds from the characters.

Overall: 14/20 = 7/10

Epic Mickey is a clever game using creative techniques in its game play, but is hampered by bad camera angles and mediocre quality.

PROS:

-Fun story

-Clever game play

-2D segments

CONS:

-Bad camera

-Poor controls

-Dark visuals

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