Video game review number three hundred and forty four in my 365 Games in 365 Days project is "Disney Epic Mickey".
Mickey Mouse hasn't had a halfway decent game since Castle of Illusion on the Sega Genesis. It's kind of odd, because here we have one of the biggest cartoon characters and most popular faces in the history of the planet, yet he's been largely ignored as far as quality video gaming goes. I must admit, I was interested when I first heard about this game earlier this year, and after I saw a bunch of demos at PAX 2010...I was sure I wanted to play it. They had a giant booth for it at PAX, and I watched my friends John and Rachel play for awhile. It looked like fun, and I put it on my Gamefly queue that same day.
Today was launch week and it arrived in the mail for me (I love it when that happens). I was up early this morning playing Pac Man, and so I was pretty tired when I booted up the Wii this evening. I laid down on my comfy couch, started watching the opening cinematics and before I knew it, I realized that I had been letting them play over and over again. It was dark in the living room...and it wasn't a big surprise that the magical tunes from this one were putting me to sleep.
A few minutes later, Heather got home and I stopped almost sleeping and dove into the game while she worked on dinner. Right off the bat, I noticed that the screen was too dark. I had to turn up the brightness on my TV, because there was no setting in the game. That always bugs me.
I've heard a lot of bitching about the camera in this game online, but I thought the game itself was fairly easy to control. You run Mickey around with the stick on the nunchuck, and you control his paintbrush with the Wiimote. It's similar to controlling Mario in Galaxy 2, and it was pretty easy to get the hang of. Sure, there were times when I wished the camera would be somewhere other than where it was, but most of the time you could move it. It wasn't anywhere near as annoying as that damn Spider Man camera from back in October.
The basic premise of the game is this: Get from point A to point B. There is stuff to run around and collect, and the occasional enemy to fight. I played through the first 4 levels, and I'm not sure if it was because of the visuals or my own stupidity, but I got stuck on a couple of the puzzles. Your paint brush can spray "thinner" which melts away any cartoons on the screen, and "paint", which colors in anything that's partially finished. If you see the outline of a bridge for example, you might paint it in order to cross it.
Where I got stuck was not seeing what could be erased and what couldn't. I wasted a lot of thinner on one particular level, trying to figure out the right spot to paint in order to progress to the next part of the level. Finally, I looked it up online and found the hint, and even though I had sprayed a bunch of thinner in the general area, I hadn't hit that exact spot. So that was annoying.
The entire game seems to take place in what I think is supposed to be a painting of the Magic Kingdom. There are teacup rides in the castle courtyard at one point. The 2nd or 3rd level takes place on some kind of riverboat ride, that I swear was supposed to be "It's a Small World". The music was similar, the "ride" through a river of paint thinner on little wooden boats seemed eerily familiar to me. I am pretty sure if I kept playing, there would be more of this to discover...but ultimately, I didn't feel like continuing my adventure beyond the few levels I played through the challenge. Maybe someday...but not today.
Overall Score? 7/10. The music is nice (I mentioned that before) and the graphics are ok (good as far as Wii games go). I think this one might be a little too hard for little kids, but just the right amount of difficulty for teens and older fans I don't think I need to own this one, and there was nothing so special about it that I felt like I needed to keep playing...but I can see how big Mickey fans will really like it. I'm really curious how my little sister will like this one, she's the biggest Disney fan I know.
I'm so excited to sit down and play this one for real! I just wish you could get achievements for it. :) But I'm 99.9% sure I'm getting it for Christmas!
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