I originally jumped into Epic Mickey without reading any reviews or recent comments; I still donâ€™t really know what the rest of the Infendo crew thinks of the game (according to post comments, Iâ€™m on one side of a rift. Really?) The first hours of of Epic Mickey were amazing: As a Disney geek, I got my money’s worth by the time I hit Mean Street.
Many more hours into Wasteland and nowhere near finishing (this game is huge), here’s a quick update before a final review.
I still like Epic Mickeyâ€”A lot. But, a few worlds laterâ€¦and considering the near-infinite possibilities of a toon-based worldâ€¦Iâ€™m getting a wee bit tired of fixing machines.
What began as novel and ingenious is becoming a bitÂ repetitious. If this was any other game worldâ€¦any other storyâ€¦I might be tempted to say, â€œOkayâ€¦Iâ€™m full. Next.â€
But thatâ€™s the gameâ€™s saving grace: This isnâ€™t just another world. The story is involving and even a bit heartbreaking. Running around as a perfectly-animated Mickey is still a hoot. The settings are still amazing. Imaginative villains keep popping up. The spot-the-obscure-Disney-reference aspect just keeps getting better.
I can sum it up like this: Epic Mickeyâ€™s story is more captivating than I expected. Epic Mickeyâ€™s gameplay is not as consistent as I hoped. Some folks might call the gameplay â€œmeh.â€ Iâ€™d call it â€œmeh +â€â€¦with occasional phoenix-like bursts of brilliance and amazement.
Why do I keeping enjoying this game? Because of moments like this: Thereâ€™s a point on Mickeyjunk Mountain (which is literally a mountain of real-life Mickey merchandise crappola) when you suddenly realize youâ€™re standing on giant discarded cartridges of NES Mickey Mousecapades and SNES Magical Quest. And itâ€™s beautifully rendered, sad and strange all at the same time. These discoveries keep me going between the outstanding cinemas and terrific side-scrolling pathways.
But, just to prove Iâ€™m not completely blind to this gameâ€™s faults, let me mention my two favorite broken moments in Epic Mickey so far:
First: I love it when Gus Gremlin makes a big show of telling you to press 1 to see the world through Mickeyâ€™s eyes. So, naturally, when Gus is done you immediately press 1 andâ€¦NOTHING HAPPENS! You soon learn that you can only go to first-person view at certain points. I think Iâ€™ve determined the secret: It only works when you donâ€™t need it.
My Second Favorite Broken Moment: When I had to jump sideways to a ledge in Tomorrow City, but kept getting knocked back and injured by an off-screen thinner-spraying villain who remained offscreen, because the camera chose that exact moment to dig in its heels and not budge in any direction at all.
Iâ€™ve coped with the camera issue by imagining it as an unseen villain who keeps trying to kill me. In fact, Iâ€™ve combined two adjectives and named it Bustard. Bustard the camera.
I still love the paint & thinner mechanic. I still admire the multiple paths through worlds and the fight-or-solve story branchings. The constant backtracking? Not so much.
So, midway through, do I still recommend Epic Mickey? For Disney fans, absolutely. For everyone else? At the very least, rent it. The story might hook you.
Iâ€™m just hoping this quest ends with a finale that lives up to the title.
Full review coming soon.
(Note: I just Googled and discovered that the bustard is an actual bird, found in parts of Europe and Asia. I did not know that.)