|Epic Mickey 2: The Power Of Two|
|Developer: Junction Point
Publisher: Disney Interactive Studios
Release Date: Out Now
Players/Online features: 1. 2-player drop-in/out co-op play
In Disney’s Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, you play as Mickey Mouse and his pal Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, with AI controlling Oswald’s actions. As the title suggests a second player can join at any time and take control of Oswald, and drop out at any time too, which is a very neat feature. Not many people will know this but Oswald, not Mickey, was Walt Disney's first cartoon star, so these two heroes really are Disney “royalty.”
Epic Mickey 2’s story begins shortly after the conclusion of the original Epic Mickey (a Wii-only game), with Oswald and all the other Wasteland residents starting to rebuild their world after the events of the first game. Earth tremors constantly threaten to undo their work, but the Mad Doctor (an enemy in the first game) appears and convinces Oswald to combat the new menace in the form of baddies named Ian and Prescott (sadly no relation to our “beloved” former Deputy Prime Minister.) But Oswald’s girlfriend Ortensia doesn't trust the Doctor and so she and Gus (Oswald's gremlin helper), persuade Mickey Mouse back to Wasteland to help.
So, controller preferences finally decided we’re off on this Epic adventure, with Mickey and Oswald travelling around the small and weird but beautifully formed world of Wasteland, an alternate world filled with 80 years-worth of forgotten Disney characters and ancient theme park attractions. In places Wasteland has been drained of its colour, and Mickey can use his magic paintbrush to fill in missing scenery with paint, or remove other parts with thinner to reveal new pathways to previously inaccessible areas. Mickey can also squirt enemies with paint to make them friendly (yeah, that makes sense) or with thinner to kill them (more logical.) Oswald has a powerful remote control that allows him to control electricity and energise powerless gadgets and machinery, with some clever and amusing contraptions and fairground rides to be discovered along the way. Oswald can also use his remote to stun enemies so Mickey can take advantage of them, either killing them or “befriending” them.
The game features a completely nutty story co-written by award-winning American comic book writer Marv Wolfman and Junction Point, and inspiration from a host of other classic platform adventures like Super Mario Sunshine, Banjo Kazooie, Ratchet & Clank, Jak and Daxter and even the Prince of Persia games, as well as a fair bit of originality from designer Warren Spector (famous for the Ultima, Wing Commander, Thief and Deus Ex games.)
Despite many levels looking friendly and cartoon-worldy enough the actual “puzzles” and required actions make little or no sense and getting out of one weird location to the next is often just a matter of bumbling around until you find the exit, no matter how daft or unlikely it may seem as you traverse both town-like locations and weird fairground attraction areas with oversized automatons, aggressive mutant monsters and robots. The game’s map isn’t a lot of help when trying to find out what to do or where to go, and the friendly gremlins that sometimes seem to indicate or suggest the way to go are often difficult to see, especially when playing split-screen. If it all sounds confusing then that’s because it is, some of the level design is utterly baffling; with movie screens used to warp to new areas, as well as more logical lifts, trains and cable cars. Wasteland is a difficult place to explore and even harder to care about.
Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two can genuinely be described as a "musical" because at various points during the adventure characters will burst into song to both advance the plot and break up the gameplay. The songs are original with typically Disney-inspired music and lyrics. I found this at times to be extremely accomplished, and at others almost laugh-out-loud bad, as some of the songs appear to have been written in 5 minutes flat, with the performer simply speaking dialogue “in tune” rather than actually singing a song, but maybe that’s what “musical” songs often do anyway...
And finally, sadly Epic Mickey 2 commits a videogame’s cardinal sin-it just isn’t much fun to play, even with the added appeal that co-op play should bring to the party. Once the novelty of playing a platform adventure with the Move controller is gone, you’re left with a confusing mess of levels loosely connected with what seems to be a gratuitously surreal and weird plot.
- Full support for both Joypad and PlayStation Move controllers.
- Looks nice in places.
- Drop-in, drop-out 2-player co-op mode.
- You can drop out of the co-op.
- Oswald, and male cows.
- Confusing story and level design.
- Fun-free platform gaming.
- Who is this aimed at?
- Unreliable co-op AI.