Epic Mickey Review by NarvJanuary 10, 2011 0 Comments
I admit I’m a casual gamer. I’ve spent some time playing World of Warcraft (hence my pseudonym Narv) and goofing around on some PC titles, but for the most part I only dedicate a small amount of time each week to playing video games. So, this game review will be coming more from that perspective.
So far, I’ve completed about 50% of Epic Mickey in about 10 hours. The game provides a very enjoyable experience, but only in small doses. Imagination certainly isn’t lacking. The visuals and music feel rich and make many charming references to Disney’s deep history in animation and theme parks.
The gameplay consists mostly of guiding Mickey through a 3D-rendered, “warped” version of Disneyland. You gather quests from various characters and complete them in order to unlock new levels or receive achievement awards. The quests also contain some wonderful visuals. However, many of the tasks assigned by the quest-givers quickly begin feeling repetitive. Find 3 of this or that thing, travel here to there and back again, etc. It gets old, no matter how many different ways the character plays it. Eventually, everything takes on the air of being busy-work and you start taking the game’s exceptional artistry for granted.
In addition, the character controls often feel clunky and redundant. The UI could stand to be more intuitive, as it is in many other similar games. You’ll also experience some difficultly controlling the camera. Your Point-of-View will often end up looking in the wrong direction, forcing you to manually adjust the camera in order to determine your next move.
Unfortunately, the awkward camera controls result in a lot of unnecessary deaths for poor ole Mickey...and in my case, an airborne Wiimote thrown against the wall.
One area that makes this game truly special are the worlds in-between the worlds. Each time Mickey travels to a new place, such as "warped Tomorrowland" to "warped Adventureland" he must pass through an intermediate 2D level. These brief levels are by far the best part of Epic Mickey, especially for those with a love for Disney's rich animation history. Many of these levels pay homage to classic Disney cartoons like "Steamboat Willie" and "Thru the Mirror," each one lovingly crafted to capture their essence. They're rich in cinematic nostalgia, re-creating the hiss and pop of their silent film soundtracks and the flickering visuals of old-style cell animation. I would have loved to have seen the same attention to detail and stylish risk-taking applied to every portion of this game. If that were the case, Epic Mickey might have been a modern-day classic.
Still, I'm glad Disney took some risks making this game in the first place, brushing the dust off their most famous icon and ushering him back into relevance.