Play Time 7h 14m
Gold Stars 10/176
Play Time 7h 14m
Gold Stars 10/176
Epic Mickey was definitely not my favorite platformer game. I thought that the story was very uninspired and the levels certainly didn’t have a very good design to them. There just wasn’t too much to it but I figured that a sequel would help with all of that. Unfortunately I can’t say that this was the case as this game is still rather glitchy and has poor motion controls to back it up. It’s not a bad game but certainly not the most enjoyable one out there.
The story starts with Mickey returning to Oswald’s world because something isn’t right. The Phantom Blot may have been destroyed but citizens of the kingdom are now being kidnapped. Moreover, someone has destroyed all of the warp gates in town so they are no longer accessible. If they don’t find the villain soon, then the whole world is at stake.
Thing is, you never really feel that sense of urgency while playing the game. The heroes barely seem to care about what is happening so why should we? Even the citizens feel no sense of loyalty as one turns evil for no reason and the rest flock to be Mad Doctor since he has promised to help out from now on. The town just isn’t very smart and this makes it a little difficult to really want to save them.
That brings me to the fact that this game’s cast of characters certainly isn’t great. Mickey is probably the most reasonable member of the group here as he does at least show some passion and nearly gets into a fight when one of the splatters looks at him the wrong way. Mickey wasn’t playing around in this game and also made the heroic call to not put the hostages at risk.
Then we have Oswald…I’m not sure how heroic I can say this guy is. For starters he is one of the characters who believes that the Mad Doctor has turned over a new leaf. I can’t fault him for being optimistic and that is a heroic quality but it’s annoying because we then have to hear the villain sing constantly. What hurts him more is that Oswald quickly gets jealous when the townspeople start liking the Mad Doctor. He also encourages Mickey to finish the villain off at the end even at the expense of his friends/hostages. Granted, the hostages are robots but that’s an ethical debate that Oswald probably loses since they seem sentient and Mickey did want to save them. Oswald’s just not a very heroic guy at the end of the day.
The gameplay is that of a 3D platformer where you run and jump to the goal. Typically you have to fulfill some kind of objective before making it to the end like destroying a machine or something of that nature. You have a paint brush which gives you access to two abilities, shooting normal paint and also shooting acid which really trips opponents up. It’s a handy ability to have but one that you will wish was not in the game since the motion controls make it a disaster. In general this is a perfect example of why I’m not really a fan of the motion era. It’s all just so rigid and not very intuitive. When you’re trying to aim at someone the brush will go crazy and you have to recalibrate your Wii sensor again.
The objectives aren’t always straight forward either as you will wonder what needs to be done while you are going around blasting everything. The objectives on the map aren’t helpful either because it will show you the locations of the bonus missions but not for the main one. As a result expect to take a little longer than expected to beat the game.
The game did do a pretty good job with the boss fights at least. The final boss is pretty theatrical and uses gameplay elements from the final Sonic DX boss (In Sonic mode) like the floor giving way and even mixing in a bit of Mario there as the floor becomes lava. These fights did take a little time to figure out how to fight the opponent but the Mystery wasn’t confusing and the characters would shout-out some clues which were actually helpful for a change.
You also have to give the game credit for throwing in quite a lot of bonus content in the game. It’s story isnalreadybreasonably long at about 6 hours and with the bonus content you’ll probably be here for another 4-6. I can’t say that it is something even remotely tempting to me to be honest but it’s always a good option to have regardless as it prevents your game from being known as barebones.
The graphics are reasonably good. The final big cutscene actually looks really good so I’m thinking that they spent the vast majority of their budget on this rather than on the whole game. I can understand the case for this since gameplay isn’t quite as important visually but getting it all to look smooth is important. The actual gameplay doesn’t even look as good as some N64 games. Forget the soundtrack as well since there really isn’t much there.
There is a cliffhanger at the end which is either resolved in the extra content at the end of in a third game which will likely never come out. Ideally it’s the former I suppose. So the game did a lot of things wrong, but as I mentioned it at least had some positives to back it up as well like the boss fights. While the gameplay certainly wasn’t polished and made you feel like it was the true enemy at times, I do still generally like platformers like this one.
Overall, Epic Mickey 2 is not exactly game of the year material but it does try hard to be the big success that we all knew it could be. It just doesn’t pick up until the final boss of the game and was ultimately a missed opportunity. I’d probably still get the third game but I really wouldn’t have very high hopes for it. When you make the same mistakes twice, that is usually a bad sign. At least a sequel wouldn’t need to deal with the Wii motion controls.
My stats in the game!
24 Mickey Pins
7 Movie Reels
9/50 Concept Art
Epic Mickey certainly got a lot of press when it first came out. He was finally getting a big game and it was going to be very dark. With the Phantom Blot as the main enemy and the graphical abilities of the Wii behind it…how could Epic Mickey lose? Well, this just goes to show that platforming isn’t always as safe as it seems. Mario pulls it off easily enough, but he basically invented the genre.
The plot involves Mickey the mouse as he decides to head to the magician’s lair. After the old man leaves, Mickey quickly rushes to the painting, but he spills a jar of paint and oil on it. He then gets sucked in by the Phantom Blot and some pretty trippy dreams commence on his trip down. Mickey finally lands and he’s in a troubled world. Everyone basically lives in despair after the pain disaster. Can Mickey save the planet from the repercussions of his actions? It will be tough, but Mickey Mouse is the only one who stands a chance against the Phantom Blot. It’s up to him!
The plot is simple enough. It’s mostly a non factor though since the plot briefly appears in the beginning and then it progresses at a snails pace. There are over 70 missions in the game and that’s barely counting side quests. Most of the story missions basically are side quests. Examples include: Finding some ice cream, Finding a burgler, Finding Power Sparks, Finding flowers, etc. More on this later though. Let’s look at our cast of characters.
Mickey Mouse is the main protagonist and he’s always ready for danger. Unfortunately, he’s not a very good character. I can’t really say that I found myself rooting for him. His dilemma was pretty sad, but Mickey was just so bland that you couldn’t really sympathize with him. It helps that he only talks in text bubbles, but they weren’t very good text bubbles. Mickey is typically surprised at what’s happening and he doesn’t mind showing his friends how scared he is of the Phantom Blot. I dunno…this isn’t the Mickey that I remember from Kingdom Hearts. I guess Mickey’s still got to wait a while before he gets that hardcore. Still, scaring an old man for the lolz? Definitely not what I would expect from him.
The Phantom Blot is as intense as ever, but he’s really a mindless monster in this version. I remember him having a little more personality in the comic where he was just a guy dressed as a dark ghost. He does bear a striking resemblence to Venom in the way that he roars and he’s basically a really large symbiote. He may not have any character at the moment, but he’s still a tough creature to deal with. Let it be said that he also has a degree of intelligence since he makes plans and figures out what Mickey is about to do with the fireworks. He makes for a good villain in the game…I just wish that he could have appeared more.
Gus is Mickey’s ally in adventure and his courage is matched only by his ability to state the obvious. He started out as a pretty hardcore character when he was taunting the villains. Unfortunately, he lost most of his gusto after that and he was really just around to give Mickey moral support. He can fly and Gus seems to be pretty smart, but he never really developed into a character of his own. He could have been replaced with Donald or even Goofy and the game’s dialogue could have been a little more interesting. Gus wasn’t bad, but he was basically nonexistent.
Oswald is the mean rival for Mickey. He’s mad that Mickey stole all of his glory and also had a hand in the death of his best friend. Those are decent reasons to be mad at Mickey I suppose, but what’s Oswald going to do about it? He spends most of the game running away from Mickey until he finally decides to help take down the Phantom Blot. After that, Oswald thinks up the plans while Mickey does the hard work. It’s a decently fair deal I suppose. Oswald gets his big moments, but I couldn’t take him seriously. He talks so tough, but he never actually wins the battles that counts. Actually…he doesn’t win any battles.
The graphics for Epic Mickey are passable. They aren’t very good, but they are decent enough where I wouldn’t consider them to be bad. They aren’t at the level of Brawl or Skyward Sword, but they are slightly better than Balls of Fury. No photo shop appearances are to be found here! The fact that Mickey is constantly melting can be a little intriguing, but it’s intentional at least.
Epic Mickey’s soundtrack is definitely one of its weak points. None of the tunes are exciting and you’d think that you were walking through the park instead of fighting some pretty serious threats. Even the big battle with Phantom Blot is pretty generic. The composers could take a few pages out of the classic Mickey games like KH2 and BBS to see some true boss tunes.
All right, it’s time to really talk about the game. The main problem that it had was the pacing for the story. If you thought that Skyward Sword had too many sub quests (I personally found them to be pretty enjoyable) then you’re definitely not going to like the campaign. From the 70+ missions to reach the final level, I’d say that over half of them are basically side quests. You need to find so many things that it’s scary and nobody will help you unless you complete a task.
The formula for Epic Mickey is quite simple. Enter a world and try to get to the next one. The exit is always blocked off and then you have to ask for help from the general populace. They will ask you to do something quick and easy or tedious and easy. After you finish, then it is off to the races! Imagine doing this over and over and over again. Travelling between worlds isn’t exactly a cake walk.
Going between worlds requires going inside of a painting. This transforms the game into a classic 2D sidescroller and you have to complete a brief level. This can make things a little dicey when you have to go back and forth between worlds. It will always be the same level as long as you keep going into the same painting. I don’t know why they even added the painting gimmick for the 2D levels. Allowing Mickey to go from one world to another instantly is what should have happened like a classic Sonic or Mario game. The paintings just drag things out. I actually did like the 2D levels, but they are immensely easy and there really isn’t a point to them in the end.
The game also suffered from a lack of action. The gameplay is essentially Mario Sunshine style. You can jump and move around, but most of the enemies can only be defeated by using your acid or transformed into heroes by the water. This goes into the morality system, but I’ll go into that later on. The enemies do appear quite a lot, but blasting them with the water/acid can get a little old. You must also remember that this is the Wii remote so it’s not very responsive. I mostly just skipped the enemies whenever I could to save some money. There are around 3-4 bosses in the game and…there is no final boss. The last boss fight involves going through a few towers and lighting up the fireworks. Yes…you don’t actually fight the boss in this boss battle.
The actual 3D gameplay should have been a lot of fun, but it really wasn’t. This is partially due to the camera, but also due to the fact that Mickey isn’t very fast. It takes time to get anywhere and the levels aren’t nearly as fun as the Mario ones. They’re pretty enclosed and there isn’t a whole lot of room to run. This is because most levels have a few side quests at the ready so it only takes a while to leave the level because of them. Otherwise, you’d finish a world in a matter of minutes.
The morality system doesn’t really do all that much in the game. You have the option to finish a mission the nice way or the mean way. For example, I fed Captain Hook to the sharks instead of breaking the device that was mind controlling him. The game makes the choices a little intriguing in that the good choices are always much harder to accomplish than the mean ones. Unfortunately, nothing really becomes of this. My acid meter leveled up instead of my water one, but that’s really the only change that happens. The story goes on as it would have regardless of your choices and the townsfolk will just be a little meaner to you. No significant changes arise due to your decisions.
Not a huge negative on the game’s part because I suspect that it is mostly just my TV, but it can be really hard to see some of the levels. They are extremely dark and my TV just can’t handle it. It works very well if it’s a light cutscene game like Final Fantasy XIII or Street Fighter X Tekken. Other games tend to be a little dicey. Oddly enough, this is probably the first Wii game that it has happened too unless it had some troubles with Lost in Shadow. Typically, it is just PS2 or Gamecube games.
One thing that Epic Mickey succeeded in was making sure that the game was long. It definitely took a while and it’s much longer than its rivals in Mario and Ratchet and Clank. It’s no Kingdom Hearts, but for a platformer Epic Mickey’s duration is impressive. Unfortunately, I would argue that this wasn’t very good for the game. It definitely dragged on during many parts and cutting out a few hours may have helped.
The story for the game could have been a lot better if another big element had been changed. I’m talking about the cutscenes. All of the big cutscenes are animated, but they are silent and you have to read the text at the bottom of the screen. This just didn’t work out so well. I’m sure that they were trying to make it retro and to feel like the old cartoons, but it didn’t work. At least go in a Legend of Zelda direction and have everyone but Link being able to talk. What made it worse was the animation for the cutscenes. It was purposely done in a way that made them look pretty terrible. It was just unappealing to the eyes and one could picture the N64 doing a better job of it.
We’re getting to the end of this review, but another thing that can be sad is the fact that there is no replay value. None. The game starts you back at the first level and you can try to make better decisions and complete more quests. I’ve always preferred for a level select to be included and most platformers allow you to just have fun in free play once you have beaten the game. Being taken back to the first level is something that just isn’t done very often anymore and it’s always a little sad to see.
Well, if you do bother to beat the game again, there are collectibles to obtain. Pins are awarded to Mickey through various quests and they can also be found in hidden areas by melting a certain patch of the wall or maybe underground. You can try to get all of them, but you have to be very careful since the game auto saves, which makes it very hard to go back for something. More often than not, you would just need to start over again with a new game.
Ultimately, the biggest problem that Epic Mickey faced was the fact that it wasn’t very fun. There were times were I felt a little drowzy. The gameplay is constantly broken apart by the endless cutscenes, which stops you from really getting into it. The 2D levels are too easy since it’s basically impossible not to defeat them in a few minutes and the game just stalled for time too much. The last part of the game just keeps on going and going way past the point where they should have called it a day. If only I could have at least gotten a final boss fight to end things with a bang. If only….
Overall, Epic Mickey had a lot of potential, but I can’t say that it fulfilled it. This is one of those times where I can safely say that the console had a part in keeping it down. Getting rid of the motion controls and allowing for better animation on another console could have easily pushed it up a point. As it is, the game just isn’t as fun as it could be and it really dragged on. All of the negatives for the game keep it from really entering the positive territory and the story didn’t help matters. Technically, the game had a lot of good ideas in terms of the 3D meets 2D gameplay part and the overall story, but it just wasn’t able to execute these ideas. I’m confident that the sequel will be better, but Epic Mickey is not going to be the next Kingdom Hearts of Mario Galaxy. If the sequel can refine the gameplay and work on the other issues, then it has a real chance. (I have hear that the sequel works on the “game dragging on” issue so that’s good) I can’t really say that I recommend the game, but if you really like platformers and don’t need a story to go along with it, then you may enjoy it. Just be warned that the game is loaded with mandatory side quests.