This article was originally published on Lv42.com
Combining old school Disney with modern day charm, Epic Mickey is the latest game to come from Warren Spector, creator of Deus Ex. The game is Disney’s attempt to reshape Mickey’s character and allow players to see his more mischievous side. And from what I’ve seen so far, the developers at Junction Point Studios certainly seem like they’re well on their way with this inventive platformer.
The game begins with Mickey being transported to “Wasteland”, an alternate world ruled by Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Walt Disney’s first cartoon character. Wasteland holds many of Disney’s forgotten or unsuccessful characters. Mickey is also given the ability to wield paint and paint thinner to recreate or destroy certain parts of each world.
A unique, but very simple concept, by using paint, Mickey recreates parts of the level that have disappeared (these objects are always shadowed) or by utilizing paint thinner, Mickey can eliminate different parts of the world to open up new paths or get rid of enemies.
Warren Spector has also said that he is very big on choice and consequence, and to that end the game allows multiple paths to get from point A to point B in every level. For instance, at all times there are branching paths that allow players to decide what they want to do, while never getting that feeling of “What do I do next?”.
As I played through the demo, the gameplay mechanics felt natural. There were obvious instances where I had to use paint or paint thinner, but there were also plenty of times where I had my choice in how I wanted to complete the task at hand. Also, what kind of Disney game would it be if there wasn’t a familiar face or two along the way?
Epic Mickey takes 80 years of Disney history that reaches beyond their movies and into attractions from their theme parks. In fact, almost everything in the game is based on something found in a Disney license. For example, a treehouse I saw in the demo was actually based on the one from Swiss Family Robinson. This treehouse was in Adventureland in the Disney theme parks, before being replaced by the Tarzan exhibit. This just goes to show how dedicated the team is to having replaced, retired or forgotten properties in Wasteland. When speaking to Adam Creighton, one of the game’s producers, about whether or not we could expect Donald and Goofy in the game he replied, “The pals do show up in form or another, just not in the way you would expect.”
As if the thought of playing as a more mischievous Mickey wasn’t enough, Epic Mickey also features gorgeous storyboard-like cutscenes similar to those found as a bonus feature on a Disney DVD. This motif works exceptionally well to tie together the game’s overall aesthetic and only adds to the overall experience. While I might not own a Wii for personal use at this point, Epic Mickey will certainly have me reconsidering my choice when it launches this Holiday season.