I really enjoyed the original Epic Mickey. Sure it was definitely rough around the edges and didn’t quite deliver on its promise of “your choices matter”, but what it did manage to offer was a fun adventure that captured the look and feel of Disney while throwing in an avalanche of the company’s history. From theme park rides and characters to cartoons, movies and more, for a Disney fan like myself, it was an absolute joy. With the sequel, Junction Point aim to right the wrongs of the last title whilst adding plenty more of that Disney magic, and judging by my brief hands-on with the game, it looks like fans are in for another great adventure.
Power of Two sees Wasteland in dire trouble after a series of earthquakes cause devastation to its residents. Oswald, Gus the Gremlin and Ortensia (Oswald’s girlfriend) decide to call on Mickey Mouse for help. Picking up his paintbrush and thinner, the gameplay is very much the same as it was with the original two years ago. The key difference this time however is that you can now play co-op with someone also handling Oswald who rather than using the magic paintbrush instead handles a remote control that can fire electricity. He also has a number of other differences that make him unique such as the ability to jump higher and glide with his rabbit ears and even use his feet as boomerangs.
After pairing up with another Oswald fan (and being the gentleman I am and letting them try him out) we kicked things off by playing through a 2D platforming stage, exactly the same as those that featured throughout the original title. With the added co-op however, this meant we started at different points in the level and could work together to trip handles and reveal hidden E-tickets for one another. It was fairly basic stuff, but there seemed to be plenty of secrets that could only be reached when working as a team. Our poor communication however resulted in little being discovered.
Things went better as we attempted to tackle a giant animatronic blotworx dragon modeled after the Pete’s Dragon Float from “The Main Street Electrical Light Parade” in the what will be the game’s first boss battle. With the mechanical beast towering in the center it was up to Mickey to either paint or thin out certain sections whilst running around and avoiding its slamming tail and fire breath. Oswald meanwhile could use his remote control to electrify and stun the dragon when timed well, helping make things easier for his co-op partner (me). While the route we took involved painting in the dragon, I was told that if I had opted for the thinner option, we would have taken an entirely different path. Again it was pretty basic stuff but did show how the different abilities of each character could be used together. Hopefully things get more complex as the adventure goes on.
Many complained about the game’s camera in the original and I have to say I had little problem in the demo navigating the environment even in some of the more platform-esque areas. Co-op is only split-screen so gamers expecting online may be disappointed. However with a title like this I think it benefits to have another Disney fan sat by your side so you can marvel at the little touches and nods to the company’s past together.
Visually Epic Mickey: Power of Two looks decent as a Wii title but lacking on the Xbox 360 and PS3. Everything is nice and colourful but lacks the finer details you’ve come to expect from high definition titles. It’s clear its working off of the Wii version which is a shame as with such a fantastic art style, the extra graphical boost could have done wonders.
Judging from the demo here at E3, it seems Epic Mickey: Power of Two will deliver plenty of moments to make Disney fans squeal with excitement whilst using the same simple gameplay style that we saw in the original. Unlikely to change the minds of haters of the first, but with co-op and the promise of full voice acting and musical numbers (which could be truly brilliant) this looks to be a definite improvement on number one.