There’s something fishy going on. Mickey Mouse starts to find things going awry in his house and he doesn’t know why. He soon realizes that things are going wrong in the Cartoon Wasteland and that they haven’t been able to keep themselves going without his help. He must return to the Wasteland and help Oswald and the other forgotten toons before it’s too late.
After Epic Mickey released back in 2010, there seemed to be an overwhelming disappointment with the way that the camera was handled, both in movement and in controls. Not this time though, that was the first thing that needed to be addressed in Epic Mickey 2. Warren Spector, the game’s legendary designer, knew that a simple mechanic like that shouldn’t get in the way of the player experiencing the beautiful world that you have created for them. That’s just not how games should be treated.
Rest assured, the camera has been fixed. As you move your cursor to the sides of the screen, the camera slowly pans that direction. It’s fast enough to keep up with the face of combat but not too fast that it feels out of control. If that’s not enough, you can always orientate the camera toward the way that Mickey is looking with the simple press of a button. It’s a nice and easy solution to a problem that should have been fixed in the first game.
As Mickey returns to Wasteland, he finds things running amock! He takes his hat and sets off to find his magical paintbrush. Along the way, Oswald teams up with Mickey to save Wasteland. While this is a clear and obvious set up for the co-op campaign, he remains with you throughout the single-player campaign as well, using his remote control to open doors and activate levers.
Mickey soon obtains his brush and must choose whether to paint the world or thin it out. This brings a whole new mechanic into play beyond just painting the world to create things. They can be thinned out using paint thinner, easily creating a new path or walkway to take. This might sound somewhat silly at first, but it comes in handy in several instances.
Here an example of thinner coming into play during a boss battle. As the dragon boss hit me with boulders, I realized that there were sections of him that needed to be painted in. I kept trying, but couldn’t get very far, he just kept hitting me with his buzz-saw tail – it is as scary as it sounds. I decided that it wouldn’t be very efficient to keep trying that route and I really didn’t want to die. There were support columns holding up the room’s ceiling though, so I started to thin those out. Dragon boss didn’t like this much and threw some goons out to fight me. I painted a circle around them and then covered them in paint, this converted them to good, meaning that they would help fight off future bad guys send after me. It was a neat way to deal with that instead of just thinning them to death.
It took me a few minutes, but I was down to the last support column and was finishing up the thinning process. Just as I finished thinning it out, the roof collapsed onto the dragon. While I had just defeated the dragon boss, I had also ruined the room for future use. This means that later in the game when I need to get somewhere, I’m going to have to find another path to get there.
There are many choices like this in Epic Mickey 2 that actually have an effect on how the game can be played later. It’s an interesting way of dealing with choice in games. Before the start of each level, you can have the option to choose whether you want to get a bonus for sticking to either all paint or all thinner. It’s another way to alter the way that we played games that I found to be naturally occurring and a compelling mechanic.
While the Wii is still the lead platform, the game is coming out on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 this time as well – the PS3 version even has Move support (which is what I played with). It works quite well and seemed to work quite a bit better for controlling the camera than the Wii version did, though that might have been a situational circumstance due to the harsh show conditions at E3.
With one of the most beloved franchises and visionary directors on its side, Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two is proof that learning from your mistakes can be your saving grace the second time around. The game looks great and I can’t wait to see what can be done with the higher graphical fidelity of the 360 and PS3.
Epic Mickey: The Power of Two is out later this year on PS3, Wii and Xbox 360.