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Disney Epic Mickey (Wii) Review

Review for Disney Epic Mickey on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Epic Mickey was originally seen by the public in the form of a number of concept art images, leaked onto the Internet. The images showed an exciting new alternate look to the Disney world which got just about everyone going bananas for the unconfirmed project. The prospect of Warren Spector also being on board was the icing on the cake for many people, and it then became a waiting game for more information about it. Finally, Epic Mickey was announced as coming to Wii as an exclusive, and the following months showed what looked to be fantastic looking third party title for the system. With so much hype surrounding the game though, does the finished article live up to expectations?

The moment you see the high quality CG opening cinematic, replete with heaps of character and Disney charm, you know you are in for a treat, grabbing the player from the very start. Mickey walks through a mirror into a different world, plays around with a wizard’s creation and manages to make a mess of it all, even managing to make a nasty looking monster in the process. Plagued with worry due to his mistake, Mickey returns back to his world and, for many years, we see how famous Mickey became, with a montage of Mickey Mouse images erupting on-screen. It isn’t until many in-game years later that we see the return of the monster, who grabs Mickey through the mirror and pulls him down into the wizard’s creation, now known as Wasteland.

It’s here in Wasteland you discover a bleak and darker tone to the game and meet the forgotten characters and concepts never used in cartoons by Walt Disney. This will likely be fabulous for Disney fans - but also great for anyone, of course. Players get to see the return of Walt Disney’s original famous character for the first time since the 1920s, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.

Screenshot for Disney Epic Mickey on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

It is up to Mickey to help those in Wasteland from the infestation of the Blots that have invaded just about every area within world, gaining trust from Oswald and other sidelined characters. Armed with his magical paintbrush, you’ll need to help and solve quests for a number of different characters to progress through to the next area. Quests range from simple activities, like delivering items to characters, to ones that span out throughout the entire game. Some may find the idea of continuously doing errands for a variety of different characters to be repetitive and it is, to a certain degree, but overall the mix of long and short quests and the inclusion of cut scenes in-between, keeps things interesting.

To complete quests you’ll also have to travel to various areas through projector screens. Once through a projector screen you’re thrown into 2D platforming sections, which are based on old Mickey Mouse and Oswald cartoons. These are mainly simple to get though and provide a nice break-up in the gameplay. They also host some items, which you can collect. These items can also be collected within the 3D sections of the game to unlock a ton of extra content, including concept art and even a Mickey Mouse and an Oswald cartoon. There’s also money to collect which can be used to buy items within the game.

Screenshot for Disney Epic Mickey on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Pair the quests with the creative nature of the gameplay though and it all becomes very enjoyable. Using Mickey’s paintbrush, you have the ability to erase environments and enemies away with thinner. You can also use paint, which makes the environmental elements reappear, as well as turning enemies friendly. Where this gets interesting is how you use these powers and how this can affect elements of the story and its outcome. It repeatedly makes you think about how you want to tackle certain areas of the game. Being a friendly Mickey will earn you trust and happier outcomes, whilst using thinner may lead to bad consequences. The use of thinner and paint is used within puzzle elements too, and thinner can be used to find hidden chests and items behind or inside the environments.

It’s while using Mickey’s paintbrush powers that unfortunate camera problems can occasionally crop up, though. You may want to aim your paint somewhere high, but the camera isn’t panned down enough. This can be adjusted by simply using the D-pad to move the camera to a suitable position, or you can also point the Wii Remote pointer near the screen edge and it will automatically move the camera upwards. You also have the choice of going into a first person view, where you can still shoot paint and aim more precisely.

These problems unfortunately also carry over to platform styled sections, as well. The camera will sometimes move into a position where your view will be obstructed or into a place where you don’t want it to move to. There is a button to centre the camera behind Mickey, which does help on most of the occasions, but sometimes this fails to work, unless you manoeuvre Mickey into a different position to suit the player. Or again, you can use the D-pad to manually adjust the camera. The camera issue is a flaw, but it generally works well, and it’s easy enough to look past it, because the superb quality of the rest of the game outweighs the negatives.

Screenshot for Disney Epic Mickey on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

This quality is carried through into the presentation, with visuals that have a unique and surreal look to them. Detailed environments are cluttered with old Mickey Mouse and Oswald memorabilia, from lush forests to a ghost-infested mansion. Character models look perfect and the animation is spot-on and full of charm. It can also be said these are some of the best visuals you’ll see on the Wii, and what makes this even more impressive is that there are only minuscule amounts of slow down. Another stand out feature are the cutscenes, which come in three forms: one has a gorgeous classic cartoon art style, another uses in-game visuals, and lastly there are the CGI clips. In addition to this, Epic Mickey boasts an excellent soundtrack, composed by James Dooley and performed by an orchestra arrangement. Old style music, with distortion and blurred effects, play on 2D stages and it fits them perfectly.

Epic Mickey is bursting with content, and can last up to 15 - 20 hours. If you want to collect everything, it will push the play time up even more, and if you want to discover the various outcomes of the narrative, then you’ll need to play through multiple times - which is something you won’t mind doing if you enjoyed it.

Screenshot for Disney Epic Mickey on Wii- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

A creative blend of adventure, platforming and RPG elements, which are mixed up into a solid gaming mechanic. Using paint and thinner to erase and paint back objects within the game world provides some nice puzzle and exploration ideas. The idea of changing the narrative by being a good or bad Mickey also affects how you play the game and what the outcomes will be for doing so. Camera issues are the only faults here, but they are easy enough to work around.

Graphics

Gorgeous visuals with a surreal look to them and are high in detail. The character models look superb (especially the Blot monsters) and the animation is full of charm. This charm is visible within the cutscenes, some of which have a unique cartoon look.

Sound

Epic Mickey has a high quality orchestral soundtrack. There’s a mix of classic Mickey Mouse and Oswald music making its way into the score, also, which fit especially well with the old cartoon-inspired 2D stages.

Value

There’s much to do in Epic Mickey, and if you want to collect everything, it will push it play time up even more. You also have to play through multiple times if you want to see the different outcomes to the story elements.

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

About this score
Rated 9 out of 10

Just like when Nintendo created Super Mario Galaxy, Junction Point’s talented team have created something that eclipses most other modern games. Epic Mickey is pure magic and makes you realise what we’re missing from today’s society and why Walt Disney’s cartoons were just so good. You learn about all these fantastic forgotten characters, it makes you think about your actions and their consequences, it makes you feel for the characters within the game. There’s a whole vibe of creativity pouring from it and, most importantly, it’s a joy to play.

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17.01.2011

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Developer

Junction Point

Publisher

Disney

Genre

3D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (18 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

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Staff Member

Great review! One of the higher scores I've seen for Epic Mickey, actually. Smilie

Epic Mickey is still on my "To Get" list, though only after a price drop. I know that it would be worth the full price but I'm really short on money right now and I need to have money ready for my absolute must-haves. Smilie

 

Eurogamer was really harsh on Epic Mickey, undeservingly so, based on my impressions. I haven't played the game, but while I like the concept and story, the environments don't look unique as they could be and the gameplay seems too "gamey" if you know what I mean. There was a lot of potential that may be realized in a sequel.

Regarding a sequel, it could happen due to the great sales here in America, but Warren Spector says that he would rather work on something original.

drew (guest) 18.01.2011 08:27#3

I have this game and it is fantastic, camera issues aside.

Marin the Chipper (guest) 18.01.2011 08:27#4

^Or you could go my route and got it from "santa" then it doesn't cost me a thing Smilie

Hmmm little high imo, I personally feel it's around a 7.

I've had a lot of fun with the game. Did 4 hours last week and will play some more over the next couple of days.

Hope the game sells enough for us to get a sequel (it's around 2 million worldwide right now and my guess is that all the copies being sold at Disney theme parks haven't been reported).

@PMD: Suda51 said he'd never make a sequel to one of his games and yet we got No More Heroes 2 so anything can happen. If Disney increases Spector's budget and gives him even more creative freedom we might get our sequel.

Judging by the ending, it's very likely there will be a sequel.

Thanks for the comments. Smilie

Pseudo Sonic (guest) 18.01.2011 18:02#9

I bought this game before christmas. Reminds me a lot of Kingdom hearts but i just couldn't get into it. I think its aimed for a younger audience than myself.

I got this for Christmas (after some heavy hints to my wife) and agree with the review. My only problem came from occasional camera issues.
Other scores I've seen have been bafflingly low, yet this is a fraction higher than I would give - it would be an 8 overall from me.

I'll make my review a quick one. A ton of things to collect. Camera was utter trash but not bad enough to make me stop playing. I wish the AI was tougher and I would have loved to see a more impressive final boss than just going around "popping zits." Still, I said the same thing about the final boss in the first Galaxy and I gave it a 10. The choices of paint and thinner where always fun and the hidden content was a blast to collect.

Overall, I give this game an 8/10, but since I'm feeling generous, I'll give it an 8.5/10. I am glad to see a Wii game that gives the console a good name and takes my mind of the "mommy and me" games like Epic Yarn.


Mario, Mega Man and Rayman FTW!!!
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Thoroughly enjoyed EM and am really pleased to see it selling so well in the US (1.32 million in December!).

I am hoping to get some answers back from the developer for an interview, but it's not 100% confirmed yet...fingers crossed!

Thanks for the great review, Ross - looking forward to your next one Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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