For those of you who played the first Epic Mickey, the sequel will be very familiar. Introduced by Warren Spector in 2010, Epic Mickey was designed as both a love letter to Disney animation and a showcase for some of the creative functions of the Wii system. Two years have passed and the game has gone multi-platform but I was assured that all versions on the console system were equal in terms of scope and creativity. Hit the jump for the impressions.
The story follows Mickey as he returns to the Wasteland as it is once again in peril. The demo showed off the beginning parts of the in which Mickey is reunited with the magical paintbrush that was confiscated from him after the end of the first game. I played the demo on the Playstation 3 using the Move controller and though it is identical to the Wii remote control-wise, constant demonstrations on the show floor had left the Move needing recalibration and difficult to wield. I’m not going to lie, I had some trouble with the game. In all honesty, fifty percent was due to some controller issues, and fifty percent was due to my lack of skills. I was pretty terrible and fairly embarrassed by my performance. At one point the man leading us through the demo took mercy and completed the remainder of the level for us.
I say “us” because as the name implies the sequel relies on ‘the power of two’ meaning co-op is now a prominent aspect of the game. Joining me in the co-op demo as Oswald the Lucky Rabbit was our lovely writer Muaz Zekeria. Together we needed to cooperate and solve various puzzles to progress through the large open level. Mickey retains his power of paint and thinner which allows him to fill in the blanks of the broken world, or continue to destroy obstacles in his way. The game takes your decisions on whether to repair or continually damage the Wasteland very seriously and there are consequences for your actions regardless of choice. Oswald on the other hand has his own set of powers which are all electric based. He can zap enemies, create large electric fields, and power broken machines. Oswald can also hover off the ground which Mickey can then grab onto and together float around together…adorable.
The thing that was immediately noticeable from the start of the demo was just how much grander in scale the world was, both in design and concept. the levels were larger and the open-ended way in which you can tackle each puzzle was staggering. I am told that there is both a paint solution and a thinner solution for every puzzle in the game and they have lasting consequences. For instance a thinned obstacle that is destroyed by Mickey will remain destroyed when you return to it. Alternatively, a painted repaired obstacle may come and aid you later in the game. There’s a lot to think about when solving puzzles in the game when you have to decide which choice will solve the puzzle quicker, and which choice will help you later.
The sequel is in every way bigger and more intricate than its predecessor. The added co-op mechanics, the multiple solutions, the varying paths all serve to highlight the duality of the Wasteland. Look forward to Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two November 18 for the PS3 (Move and DualShock compatible), Xbox 360 (Controller only), and the Wii (Wii remote, Classic Controller Pro).