When it was announced that Epic Mickey would be returning, people for the most part were glad and had high hopes that Junction Point Studios would fix the problems from the first game, would they be able to do it? Let me take you on a journey…
Welcome to Wastleland, the place where Disney long characters are left to be forgotten. It’s hit by an earthquake and all of a sudden the Mad Doctor from the first game returns and claims that he is here to help (via song) Oswald the Lucky Rabbit must find the cause of the trouble and make Wasteland safe again. The fact that the Doctor returns in a ginormous robot gives Oswald’s girlfriend, Ortensia, and Gremlin Gus cause for concern. They rush off to bring back Mickey with magic paintbrush in hand, reuniting him with Oswald so they can go forth and save Wasteland again.
Mickey’s paintbrush is armed with paint or thinner, one allows you to restore toons and change enemies in to ally’s while the other destroys toons and items, I’ll let you work out which does what. With great power comes great responsibility, Epic Mickey tires to play on your morals. Destroy or restore? I played through the game restoring items for which I was rewarded with all sorts of items but the one time I decided to destroy some, you’d think I’d committed a horrible crime, the game was not amused and kept letting me know about it, it’s just a shame that ultimately there are no meaningful consequences based on your decisions.
Epic Mickey 2 performs much better when played in co-op for one simple reason, Oswald, he may be a lucky rabbit but he is useless when left to his own devices. There are plenty of times in the game where he is required to assist you by carrying you across gaping ravines, revive you when you are in battle, or use his remote to open switches but unfortunately you can be waiting for a long time. Early on in the one of the games 2D sections I waited 5 minutes for him to catch up with me “I’m on my way Mickey” er, no you are not Oswald.
Of course any problems relating to our lucky rabbit can be removed by bagging yourself a co-op partner and therefore increasing the games ability to work well. Mickey’s movements can feel quite sluggish at times, he is able to jump and double jump but he only ever manages to just make the larger jumps if you can keep Oswald by your side at least you make use of him. Mickey also has a spin attack which can stun enemies before shooting them with paint or thinner, which again is another frustrating mechanic the hit detection isn’t great and aiming can be difficult too. To mix things up a little there are two types of ink (invisible and indelible) that can be used to help you through. It’s a shame they aren’t used very often and it would have been nice to use combinations of them between Mickey and Oswald. In a bizarre decision when you need to open some doors you have to hold down A, which also happens to be the jump button, not the cleverest thing to do.
The main story is quite short but there are lots of side quests for you to go and take part in, outfits for both heroes to collect, photos to take of hidden Mickey and Oswald heads all over the game’s levels and if you like badges there are plenty of those too. Even the puzzles you come across throughout the game can be solved in different ways meaning you could replay the game a few times.
The game looks great and moves through different art styles seamlessly, the main bulk of the game is played in a 3D world but there is plenty of 2D action too. There is a great section where having to open a door which requires you to pull Snow White and Prince Charming together to kiss and you enter a gorgeous looking room with a rainbow colour fountain pouring from the seven dwarves, when you have completed the puzzle you enter a 2D world completely themed on Steamboat Willie, brilliant. The camera can cause you a few problems when in the 3D sections, for some reason it sits quite low and when it gets a chance it will pull the camera back down there. This only causes a problem when battling with bosses or trying to take on more complicated platforming areas. It’s great that the game brings in characters from across the Disney universe, including Goofy and Big Pete and seeing them in the orignal way that they had been drawn. Even more impressive is that the game is fully voiced throughout the game; thankfully the only annoying voices are NPC’s who you may only deal with once or twice throughout.
As a single player game is Epic Mickey 2 is good but the awful AI makes it much less enjoyable, as a co-op game it kicks into life and is a perfect game to introduce the world of Xbox to the younger members of your family and enjoy some brilliant Disney footage in the process. There is so much to do and collect which means you could get up to 20 hours from this game which is perfect during the festive season.