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Game Reviewed: Epic Mickey
Publisher: Disney Interactive Studios
Developer: Junction Point Studios
ESRB Rating: E
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Mickey Mouse has been fairly obscure for the past few years in mainstream media. He has starred in a handful of videos, but has been largely absent from cartoons and movies. Epic Mickey represents Disney’s attempt to “reboot” Mickey’s image, much in the same way that other older franchises have been made over in recent years. The “epic” version of Mickey begins his story in his room, where he discovers that his mirror is a gateway to a sorcerer’s workshop (the sorcerer from Fantasia’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice). This sorcerer is creating an alternate world that resembles a Disney theme park. This world was designed to be a home for cartoon characters that have been retired or otherwise forgotten. When the sorcerer steps out of the workshop, Mickey grabs the sorcerer’s brush and accidently uses the paint to create a dark creature that becomes known as the Shadow Blot. Mickey attempts to douse his creation with paint thinner, but thins out many areas of the sorcerer’s created land instead. The creature then enters the sorcerer’s land along with the remaining bottle of thinner, and Mickey retreats back to his world and forgets about the whole thing.
Sometime later, after he experiences success as a famous cartoon, Mickey is asleep when the Shadow Blot abducts him and drags him through the mirror into the sorcerer’s shop. On his way through the shop, Mickey grabs a magic paintbrush before being sucked in to the world the sorcerer created. Mickey wakes up to find himself in a dark replica of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, strapped into a contraption with the Mad Doctor attempting to steal his cartoon heart. Mickey breaks free and finds himself stuck with the Doctor’s contraption gone haywire. A friendly Gremlin named Gus helps rescue Mickey and explains that he is in Wasteland, the sorcerer’s creation for forgotten cartoons. Gus teaches Mickey about the magic paintbrush he has found. The paintbrush is capable of spreading paint and thinner. Paint restores certain areas of Wasteland and can make some enemies become friendly. Thinner dissolves areas of Wasteland and can destroy enemies.
Most of the game involves overcoming obstacles and solving puzzles using your paint and thinner. There are a few boss battles and some combat with enemies where you can use your paint and thinner to either befriend or destroy your enemies. In the game, the choices you make and quests you finish will determine the opinion the citizens of Wasteland will have of you. Befriending an enemy instead of destroying it may be a more difficult task, but may also have other beneficial repercussions for Wasteland.
What Parents Need to Know
Mickey has the option of dissolving his enemies with thinner, causing them to melt away and disappear. Mickey can also do a spin attack that knocks an enemy away and dazes them for a short time. Mickey collapses when he runs out of health. The violence, however, never goes beyond what normally might be seen in a Disney cartoon.
There is no bad language in this game.
There is no sexual content in this game.
The Bog Easy portion of Wasteland has a representation of Disney World’s Haunted Mansion. The ghosts from the mansion are cartoonish and are more reminiscent of Casper the friendly ghost. The outside of the mansion has tombstones which, when broken, release blue spirit-like beings that float away quickly. Spirits similar to these are seen outside the mansion. The library inside the mansion has floating books, bookshelves that are out of control, and Madame Leona, an image of a head inside a crystal ball (who is modeled after Madame Leota from the Haunted Mansion attraction). Some skeleton and ghostly images based off of older black-and-white Mickey cartoons are found in a few of the levels that transition between places in the mansion.
The Sorcerer from the Fantasia’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice is the one from which Mickey gets the magic brush to paint and thin Wasteland. Wasteland is the Sorcerer’s creation.
Epic Mickey reveals a darker side of characters and places from past Disney lore. Through the story, Mickey learns the impact of his tampering with Wasteland, and has the potential to make good come out of his errors (should the player make good choices). This “morality system” enables players to learn about consequences. The overall story and the use of more obscure and mostly forgotten Disney references are very creative. The various locations in Wasteland are very artistic and well convey a post-apocalyptic theme park. Unfortunately, the game’s overall controls, particularly the camera controls, suffer from a lack of polish that really makes the game frustrating to play in several points. Some of the quests in the game were also very repetitive and unfulfilling. Content wise, the game is very clean, but very young children might possibly get frightened by the darker or scarier content, such as ghosts, skeletons and the creepier blot enemies.