Full disclosure: I’m a pretty big Disney fan. I have a premium annual pass and rarely turn down the opportunity to go down to Disneyland and pretend I’m a kid again. Now, that that’s out of the way, I will freely admit that I didn’t finish playing Disney Epic Mickey. It was a beautiful game and had me hooked for a while, but eventually other projects and a frustrating camera won over.
Fast-forward to E3 and you would have found me thoroughly enjoying Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two on the show floor.
During my visit to the Disney booth I got some hands-on time with the Playstation version, Move controls and all. Needless to say the familiar “Wii-waggle”controls came back to me almost instantly. If you’ve played the previous version on the Wii, then you’ll feel at home using the Playstation Move controls.
Most importantly, though, I was very curious to see how the original paintbrush-inspired gameplay would translate onto the traditional controller of an Xbox 360. Rest easy friends, Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two is a perfect fit on the home console and even sports a beautiful new facelift. Colors are vibrant, textures are smooth, and Mickey has never looked better (or Oswald for that matter).
Control-wise, the team did a great job of assigning movement and reticule control to each of the 360’s thumbsticks and mapping paint, thinner, and jump functions to the face buttons.
In the few short levels that I explored, the gameplay was fast, fluid, and fun. Navigation was simple, but the combat – a long, yet rewarding, battle against a robot reminiscent of Pete’s Dragon – was a great balance of platforming elements and paint/thinner combat.
New to Epic Mickey is the concept of permanace. Whereas before your actions would fade and levels would (essentially) reset, this time around your actions have a consequence beyond puzzle and platforming elements. For example, as I navigated out of a particularly gorgeous area (see below) I was surrounded by the silhouettes of stars and meteors. If I chose to paint them in, I’d bring the sky to life, creating a whirlwind of meteors and gleaming new stars.
Once I finished the level and made my way across the next section, a cleverly placed painting could be erased, revealing the brand new constellation I had unleashed into the world in the previous section. This is a simple example of consequences, but the team has made sure to include far more weighted decision points for players that will effect your adventure. Do I erase the half of the painting to get Object A or paint in the missing part for Object B? Once you decide, be ready to live with your decision.
My favorite new aspect however was easily the new co-op gameplay. A friend took control of Oswald and we proceeded to jump, double-jump, and helicopter (Oswald only) to hard-to-reach areas. Needless to say, this opens up the game for far more tandem exploration and strategy-heavy boss battles like the romp we had with the mechanized take on Pete’s Dragon.
Given the returning charm of Mickey, the introduction of Oswald as a playable character, new co-op mode (same system only), the wealth exploration options, and the new decision-heavy system, I can’t imagine that Mickey’s return will disappoint. I can honestly say that fans of the original Epic Mickey, parents looking for a great co-op game to play with their kids, or even PS3/360 fans that didn’t get a chance with the original should definitely have this on their radar.
Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two releases this November 18th on Wii, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360. Oh boy!