Epic Mickey - Hands-On Impressions (1/2)
By James Farrington (10.19.10)

This past week I went to a Disney Interactive Studios/Junction Point event in Toronto centred on Warren Spector’s new game “Epic Mickey.” “Epic Mickey” was barely on my radar as a game to watch this holiday season but after playing the game and talking with Mr. Spector I think “Epic Mickey” is primed to offer one of the most unique and engaging gaming experiences this year.

A Family Tale

"Epic Mickey’s” story focuses on the relationship between Mickey Mouse and his older brother Oswald the Rabbit. The story opens with Mickey discovering he can enter a different world through a mirror, similar to Alice entering Wonderland through a mirror in Lewis Carol’s Alice Through the Looking Glass. After passing through the mirror Mickey finds a model of Oswald’s world on a table and some paint and paint thinner. In classic Mickey fashion Mickey begins to play around with the paint and paint thinner. While messing with the paint and thinner Mickey accidentally creates the Phantom Blot (an evil creature that looks like an ink blot with glowing eyes and a nasty grin), which ends up ravaging Oswald’s world and turning Oswald’s world into the Wasteland. Mickey escapes through a mirror to his own world only to have the Phantom Blot find him later in life and pull him into the Wasteland. While in the Wasteland Mickey must try to rectify his mistakes and become the hero. The story is classic Disney: a bit of fantasy, a bit of mischief, and a bit of tragedy.



Paint On, Paint Off

Mickey Mouse has a number of different moves he can use throughout the game. Mickey can sneak, jump, double jump, long jump, and spin. The jumping is primarily used to traverse the levels and the spin move can open up chests, damage objects, flip switches, and reveal items hidden in barrels and other such objects. Mickey also uses a magic paintbrush to either restore parts of the world or erase parts of the world.

Mickey’s use of the paintbrush is the most unique aspect of “Epic Mickey’s” gameplay. Using the green thinner Mickey can remove obstacles, objects, and enemies. With the blue paint Mickey can restore erased objects and turn enemies into friends. There are meters for both the green thinner and blue paint that will deplete if the player uses the paints too much. The paint and thinner are replenished by collecting either blue or green paint buckets that are hidden throughout the levels.

Epic Mickey

Platform Levels

The four levels I played are a collection of 3D platforming and 2D sides-crolling levels. The first level I played is called “Mad Doctor’s Lab” and is an early level in the game that has Mickey fighting a large robotic boss that looks like a deranged Swiss Army Knife. “Mad Doctor’s Lab” is a level that allows the player to navigate the world in 3 dimensions and use the paint and thinner to fight off enemies and solve puzzles. “Mickey and the Beanstalk” is a 2D side-scrolling level that has Mickey climbing a beanstalk. “Mickey and the Beanstalk” focuses on 2D platforming as opposed to using the different paints to get past obstacles. “Gremlin Village Ticket Booth” is another level in 3 dimensions that has an amusement park theme and Mickey uses the blue paint and green thinner to solve puzzles and battle enemies. The final level I played is called “Oh What a Knight” and has Mickey travelling through an old black and white Oswald cartoon of the same name. “Oh What a Knight” is a 2D platforming level that focuses on jumping and spinning rather than using paint or thinner. There were also a number of collectibles in each level in the form of hidden Mickey’s and film reels. Form what I played it seems that “Epic Mickey” will feature a variety of different gameplay styles and fun level designs based upon Disney’s past creations.