Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Adam Riley 28.11.2012 4

Review for Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion on Nintendo 3DS

Epic Mickey, last year's Wii exclusive, proved to be such a success that it has not only spawned a sequel across all home console formats, but has now spread across to the Nintendo 3DS. However, rather than Blitz Games or Junction Point being involved, the task was passed over to DreamRift, the team that has notoriety due to its previous Nintendo DS successes, Monster Tale and Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure. However, do the constraints of a particular licence hold back the creative process or allow it to flourish?

Mickey is called to the Castle of Illusion to break the spell put in place by a nefarious witch called Mizrabel (is she ironically happy?) that has captured all manner of Disney cartoon favourites. With encouragement from Oswald, and frequent use of the magical brush and paint that Disney Epic Mickey is now renowned for -- one for thinning things into nothingness and the other filling gaps in the world -- Mickey heads off on an adventure that takes place in a world purposefully similar in graphical appearance to the 16-bit classic, Castle of Illusion. Slow and laborious jumps, plenty of dastardly spikes, awkward 'double-action-button-tap' mechanics for crushing enemies from above (merely landing atop causes Mickey to lose hearts from his life bar), and plenty of elements that scream 'old school' are present, but thankfully the platform enjoyment levels remain high thanks to everything being held together well enough, and complemented by a lovely soundtrack full of music that would list anyone's spirit.

For Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure there was a mix of platform antics on the top screen and puzzle-piece clearing on the touch screen, whilst Monster Tale had a cute little creature down below. In Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion, though, DreamRift has employed stylus-led drawing, with outlines of certain objects needing to be followed carefully to draw them into existence or remove them from being obstacles or hazards along the way. The idea works nicely and rewards are given for accurate stylus control, following the outlines when doing creation-related drawing and swiftly swiping away objects, and it also proves important at times. For example, when creating platforms that are required to reach areas previously too high up, inaccuracy can lead to spikes appearing in random places, making it harder to climb aboard the platform without losing health.

Screenshot for Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion on Nintendo 3DS

The idea is to break Mizrabel's curse by first of all saving Disney characters. What proves to be quite amusing, though, is when the first few characters are 'rescued' and told to head to the safety of the castle's Fortress until a way out from the spell can be found. Why? Well, Mickey merely stands near them, says the magic words of 'Go to the Fortress' and *bing* away they teleport -- behold the truly magnificent powers of Monsieur Mouse! It becomes apparent further into the game, however, that it had to be dealt with in that way because there are many to find in each stage, and it would be impracticable to have them accompany Mickey to the end of the level. Simple really, right? Some of them, such as Aladdin, do in fact follow in the background, trying to help out wherever possible, so at least they do have their uses. Some characters are placed in all sorts of cubby holes that grow increasingly tricky to reach, and others need to be spotted carefully on the lower screen before being drawn back into the world.

On top of that, upon saving someone, they take root in their own specific corner of the Fortress and give Mickey challenges to discover items they need to make themselves comfortable for the time being, or make new connections with other characters. There are also uses for some, other than random conversations, with one being Scrooge McDuck, for instance, who opens a shop where Mickey's abilities can be increased, for a price.

There may not seem to be too much challenge for veterans overall for those blasting through to the end without following up on any extras, but fun can definitely be had by playing out all the quests initiated by rescued characters. The boss battles are not particularly taxing, the quantity of levels is lower than perhaps expected, and some may grow tired of the incessant use of touch screen item creation/removal. However, DreamRift has delivered a very impressive homage to Capcom's classic Castle of Illusion and an entertaining change from the likes of New Super Mario Bros. 2.

Screenshot for Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion is a very competent platform adventure, yet sadly falls short of the excellence many would have expected from the otherwise superb DreamRift. That is not to say it comes without any merit, since the -- admittedly shorter than expected -- adventure is filled with smart platform antics, lovely colourful retro visuals and a delightful soundtrack. Hopefully DreamRift will be given another shot to polish up the formula in a 3DS sequel.






2D Platformer



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now    Also on Also on Nintendo eShop


Acccording to most reviews, this is the best of the Epic Mickey games so far, which is kinda sad.

I know, but I certainly don't agree. Have you read Cubed3's review of Epic Mickey from last year? It was flawed, yet definitely still had a lot of charm. Sadly Epic Mickey 2 isn't amazing...but it was worked on by Blitz Games, it seems, rather than mainly by Warren Spector/Junction Point.

I'll try to get something written up about EM2 when I have time, but for now I'm busy with Virtue's Last Reward Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

I got the original as a Christmas present, I really wanted Banjo Kazooie with moral choices and Disney magic. It didn't really reach those expectations. I still think the original Kingdom Hearts is the only game to truly capture that Disney magic in game form. 

( Edited 29.11.2012 20:59 by JayUK )

Epic Mickey wasn't awful - the premise was cool, the execution was a bit poor, though, but on the whole it was decent. Not quite the 9/10 it received here on Cubed3, in my opinion, but nowhere near as bad as some have made out.

As for KH, I really liked the concept of the first one, but that was more flawed than EM, I reckon. Drove me nuts eventually because of the crazy camera and repetitive battling system.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

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