Wii

North America

Disney Epic Mickey

by Neal Ronaghan - December 13, 2010, 10:35 pm PST
Total comments: 14

6.5

The style is to die for, but the substance? Eh, not so much.

Stylistically, Epic Mickey is an incredible game. From its opening cut scene to its final moments, the game’s presentation is top notch—even more so if you have any knowledge of Disneyland. However, the gameplay is hit-or-miss with a main concept that feels extremely limited in scope. The end result is a mildly entertaining game at best that is often too frustrating for its own good.

The game is centered on Mickey Mouse's journey through Wasteland, which is basically the land of forgotten Disney characters from the early days of the company. Some of the references might not resonate with all of the players, but the story progression is easy to follow and filled with a lot of good humor. It's told through the use of stylish storyboard-like cut scenes that do a wonderful job at injecting personality into every character, even without voice acting. The world of the Wasteland outside of those scenes is also very visually appealing, showcasing a twisted version of Disneyland and the various characters that inhabit it. If you've been to Disneyland, or even Walt Disney World, then a lot of the settings will look familiar, but not quite as you remember them.

Epic Mickey is focused around one primary gameplay mechanic: the way that paint and thinner interact with the world around you. Paint will fill in areas and transform enemies into friends, while thinner destroys everything it touches. At its heart, it makes interacting with the cool, themed areas fun. Unfortunately, the quests that you undergo are usually contrived.

The majority of the game's quests involve you searching for random items that are hidden in the environment. The game gives you little clue as to where this items might be, making these awful fetch quests even worse. Not every quest devolves into this boring trope, but when they triumph past it, it rarely impresses. When it gets down to it, you're juggling between fetch quests and basic environmental puzzles that hinge on painting or thinning sections to access items or other areas.

There is a degree of choice in how you complete quests, but it's all so binary. Most of the time, the game tells you that you can do either one thing or another. When it doesn't explicitly state the second option, you usually can just find a hidden character that will solve the problem for you. No huge changes occur depending on your decisions, outside of being able to interact with certain characters or the path ahead being less dangerous.

You do have to deal with the consequences of some choices, but in a terribly unfair way. For example, you're tasked with finding the missing parts of animatronic Goofy, Donald, and Daisy, which are strewn about specific areas. Unfortunately, the only time you can search for these parts is when you go through these levels the first time, as there is no way to return later, and you're never warned about this fact. To top off this frustration, sometimes you get the last part by talking to someone right next to where the animatronic character is located. They try to make up for this design flaw by offering the pieces you miss in stores across the game…for an exorbitant fee. Even when you go through all this trouble, though, there isn't much of a reward outside of seeing a cut scene and having another boring quest added to the list. That basically sums up the game: it's a series of mediocre-to-terrible quests that the game offers you little or no incentive to complete.

Luckily, there are some bright spots on your 10-to-15-hour quest. Some levels have really cool set pieces, and the boss battles are mostly well done and suitably epic. The 2D platforming levels, of which there are more than thirty, aren't that challenging, but they're fun to explore. The visual presentation of each level is excellent, as they mimic various Disney shorts. In general, the way the game looks and sounds is wonderful and rife with numerous Disney references. As far as unlockables go, there are truly only two worthwhile ones: two classic Disney shorts. While there are a myriad of other collectibles, they net you little else, if anything at all.

The game controls with no real issues outside of the camera, which is annoying at times. Usually you have free reign over it, but occasionally the game will lock it into place, giving you no easy way to look at certain parts of the environment. It also becomes a problem during combat, as the lock-on system, activated at the press of a button, doesn't work too well and rarely gives you a clear shot against most enemies.

Epic Mickey is a game that falls short in the part that counts: the gameplay. It might look great and feature an engaging story, but the chief gameplay element of paint and thinner isn't engaging enough to carry you through the story and presentation. Way too often, the game is more frustrating than it is fun. If you're a fan of Disney, Epic Mickey is still worth playing for the in-jokes, the twisted version of Disneyland, and the plot, but only if you can tolerate mediocre and uninspired gameplay.

Summary

Pros
  • Awesome presentation
  • Lots of cool Disney references
  • Some interesting environmental puzzles
Cons
  • Camera can be troublesome
  • Filled with fetch quests
  • In-game choices are extremely binary
  • Lack of rewards for collectibles

Talkback

mustbeburtDecember 14, 2010

This wasn't mentioned in the review, so I'm assuming I already know the answer to this, but...


Do the choices you make affect the appearance of Mickey Mouse?  I remember watching an interview with Warren Spector and he said that the the Mickey Mouse character you're controlling would change in appearance (ranging from a menacing to a friendly version of Mickey Mouse) as you interact with the game.  I'm guessing that was bagged?

Yea, it was. Mickey "drips" more if you're bad...I think.

But yea, the whole idea of Mickey drastically changing was canned.

thatguyDecember 15, 2010

Quote from: NWR_Neal

Yea, it was. Mickey "drips" more if you're bad...I think.

But yea, the whole idea of Mickey drastically changing was canned.

This. Being bad barely affects anything else in the game aside from the specific quest you're bad in. Oh, and the paint thinning affect really isn't from being bad, but rather using thinner more often than paint, which, in several cases is done to actually be good.

Kytim89December 15, 2010

Quote from: NWR_Neal

Yea, it was. Mickey "drips" more if you're bad...I think.

But yea, the whole idea of Mickey drastically changing was canned.


Neal, is there enough substance to this game to warrant a sequel? I bought the game and have made it to Ostown and I am starting to get sick of fetch quests, but overall, the game is superb. The camera is my main issue with the game and I found that it sort of got tangled quite alot during game play. I would like to see a sequel on the 3DS because the paint and thinner concepts seem to go good with 3D.

Kytim, the fetch quests ARE the game. Don't you get it?

Everything but the gameplay is pretty great. I kept on hoping the gameplay would pick up and it never did, which is a major bummer. I could totally see some sort of follow-up to this game that expands upon the concept and actually makes the gameplay varied and awesome.

Kytim89December 15, 2010

Quote from: NWR_Neal

Kytim, the fetch quests ARE the game. Don't you get it?

Everything but the gameplay is pretty great. I kept on hoping the gameplay would pick up and it never did, which is a major bummer. I could totally see some sort of follow-up to this game that expands upon the concept and actually makes the gameplay varied and awesome.

Mop it upDecember 16, 2010

I have a feeling that Disney wasn't comfortable with any kind of thing that would portray Mickey as evil, so Warren Specter probably wasn't able to take that idea very far. In fact, I can't help but wonder just how much direction there was from Disney, and if there were other aspects of the game that were stifled.

Kytim89December 16, 2010

Quote from: Mop

I have a feeling that Disney wasn't comfortable with any kind of thing that would portray Mickey as evil, so Warren Specter probably wasn't able to take that idea very far. In fact, I can't help but wonder just how much direction there was from Disney, and if there were other aspects of the game that were stifled.


SEGA didthe same thing with Sonic Chronicles. When Bioware released information about the game in Nintendo Power the art style of the game looked similar to that of Mass Effect. It had a much darker tone to the Sonic franchise, but when the final product was released the art style was watered down. I guess SEGA wanted their IP to not be dark anf forboding.

the asylumDecember 16, 2010

A licensed third party game being bad?

The mind, it boggles.

TJ SpykeDecember 16, 2010

Quote from: Kytim89

I guess SEGA wanted their IP to not be dark anf forboding.

Remember Sega themselves made a game where you played as Shadow and shot real guns.

Kytim89December 16, 2010

Quote from: TJ

Quote from: Kytim89

I guess SEGA wanted their IP to not be dark anf forboding.

Remember Sega themselves made a game where you played as Shadow and shot real guns.


SEGA got chastsized for that game and that is why asked Bioware to scale back Sonic Chronicles.

Ian SaneDecember 17, 2010

So I just got an email from Nintendo promoting this.  Why is this game's actual name "Disney Epic Mickey"?  That is such a fucking stupid name.  "Disney's Epic Mickey" or "Disney Presents Epic Mickey" would work but this just sounds like some sort of corporate lawsuit compromise name.  It reminded me of the old AD&D games for the Intellivision which are actually called "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Cartridge".  Yes, "Cartridge" is officially part of the name.

I remember the old 8-bit and 16-bit Disney games usually had "Disney's" at the front of the title and absolutely no kid every called them that.  We didn't play "Disney's Aladdin" or "Disney's Magical Quest".  It was always just "Aladdin" and "Magical Quest" like how now only a complete tool would actually call it "Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell".

Kytim89December 17, 2010

Is it just me or does the Phantom Blot look like Ooogie Boogie?

Ryan CannonDecember 30, 2010

I got the game for christmas and so far I love it, I will say the camera is a bit of a problem, but not as much as I was worried about, maybe I havn't gotten far enough into the game yet, but I haven't seen too many fetch quests

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Disney Epic Mickey Box Art

Genre Adventure
Developer Junction Point Studios
Players1

Worldwide Releases

na: Disney Epic Mickey
Release Nov 30, 2010
PublisherDisney Interactive
RatingEveryone
eu: Disney Epic Mickey
Release Nov 25, 2010
PublisherDisney Interactive
Rating7+

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