So wow, I can’t remember the last game I played with reviews as scattered as they are for Disney’s Epic Mickey! Giant Bomb gave it a 2 out of 5. X-Play gave it a 5 out of 5! Who to believe?? Well, I’ve just finished the game myself, and I would definitely agree with Adam Sessler’s review over at X-Play and his 5 out of 5. But I really think that one of the reasons for the wild fluctuations in scores is that this game has a couple of problems, and it’s going to be personal taste that will decide whether you can look past its flaws or not.
One of the first deciding factors will be, obviously, how big of a fan of Mickey Mouse and Disney in general you are. I know one of the goals of this game was to make Mickey Mouse a relevant video game hero for today’s players, but certainly those of us that are already big fans of Mickey will find much more enjoyment going into this game. And I’m a big fan, not only of Mickey but of Disney animation and old animation in general. This game has a lot of content in it to get someone like me excited. Such as 2D platforming levels that are based off of old Mickey cartoons; one of my biggest surprises came when, in order to get to a section based off of the Haunted Mansion ride, I had to go through a stage based on the 1928 cartoon “The Haunted House”, which is one of my favorite old Mickey cartoons from when I was a kid! One of the complaints I’ve heard about the 2D stages is that they are very short, and too easy. And that is absolutely true. But I got such a thrill out of seeing these stages that it was just fun going through them. The only time that isn’t true is when certain quests make you backtrack and you end up going back and forth through one particular cartoon over and over again.
The other big problem that every review has addressed is the camera system. It truly could have used some extra refinement. Will it lead to unfair deaths? Maybe. Will it lead to frustration? At times, perhaps. But I’m a bit more forgiving in this regard than others may be just because I really love 3D platform games, and have seen these problems before and can look past them. Anyone that says they love Super Mario 64 or Banjo-Kazooie should be able to live with the camera system here. It’s clunky, but it does have a lock-on for combating foes. It just felt so good to be playing a quality 3D platformer that the camera didn’t really bother me most of the time.
The paint and thinner mechanic you’re given with your magic paintbrush is creative, and it allows you to do some cool things that I’ve never really seen in a game like this. Choices can have some interesting consequences, and while it may be more work to be a true hero, you’re usually rewarded down the line; taking the time to rescue someone may work in your favor when they can help you through a difficult portion of a stage later on. The cutscenes, with their Mary Blair inspired style, are wonderfully drawn and really tell a good story; I really grew to like Oswald the Lucky Rabbit as the story progressed, and you definitely can sympathize with him and his jealousy towards his “older brother”, Mickey, that Walt abandoned him for.
I’m certainly biased towards the game, loving both Mickey and platformers, but I really enjoyed this game and hope Disney feels compelled to continue working with Warren Specter and his team at Junction Point (Warren has said he’d love to tackle Carl Barks’ Ducktales! Make this happen, Disney!!!) I highly recommend giving this game a try, it has a unique atmosphere, a lot of heart, and some great platforming!