Created by legendary videogame producer, Warren Spector, Epic Mickey is a great action-adventure game for both kids and adults. At its core, it is a traditional platform puzzle game; but it feels fresh and unique because of your ability to dynamically change this cartoon world using paint to fix things or paint thinner to erase them. Also interesting is the game's "PlayStyle Matters" concept, which means the way you play it -- whether you use paint or thinner and whether you help or ignore characters you meet along the way -- affects how the game plays out.
Mickey observes Yen Sid, the sorcerer from The Sorcerer's Apprentice, creating a magical world for forgotten cartoons, using a special paintbrush and paint thinner. When the sorcerer is not around, Mickey experiments with the paintbrush to create a giant inkblot; but it is so scary-looking that Mickey tries to erase it with paint thinner. Unfortunately, Mickey's efforts fail; and this giant villain becomes the Shadow Blot and seeps into the sorcerer's colorful world, turning it into a dark Wasteland.
Mickey gets sucked into this Wasteland and discovers that its ruler, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, is a brother Mickey never knew he had. Players control Mickey as he wields the magic paintbrush and thinner, trying to find a way out of this ravaged world.
Wasteland is a large world filled with interesting environments. You will explore a castle, a futuristic city, a mountain of discarded Mickey memorabilia and even a street that resembles Main Street found in Disney theme parks.
Also populating this world are numerous cartoon characters, many of which offer you quests. Some of the cartoon characters resemble ones that you have seen in Disney cartoons, but they are slightly different (the discarded versions).
Spraying paint on objects or characters can have a dramatic effect. For some objects, it can fill them in and fix them. For example, if you spray paint on a browned-out, non-functioning gear, it will change color and start to work, which might open the door to the next level. If you spray paint on an enemy, it will befriend you and stop attacking you.
Spraying thinner can erase objects and destroy enemies. You can use it to find hidden rooms or exits hiding behind walls, or cause enemies to disappear. Mickey, being a cartoon, is also susceptible to thinner and must carefully avoid falling into pools and rivers of thinner found throughout this world.
In addition to using paint and thinner, Mickey has the ability to jump and spin. Jumping allows him to navigate environments full of rotating platforms and hard-to-reach places. Mickey's spin move can be used as a weapon or as a way to whack things to unlock extra paint and thinner, health power-ups and E-tickets (the currency of this world). Mickey can also use special sketches, such as one of a TV which will attract your enemies and allow you to escape.
Helping you on this adventure are Gus the Gremlin and special dot-like characters known as guardians. If you use a lot of thinner, then the guardians you will attract are called Turps. If you paint a lot, you will summon guardians known as Tints. Both kinds of guardians can show you paths through difficult environments and join you in fights with enemies.
While your main objective is to find a way out of Wasteland, the decisions you make along the way will affect the outcome. Do you stop and help each citizen you meet or do you power through, trying to eliminate any enemies that stand in your way? Epic Mickey has many juncture points where the decision you make opens or closes certain parts of the game. No decision is right or wrong -- it just has a different outcome; making this a game you will want to play more than once.
Epic Mickey is a spectacular adventure with a great emotional story. The play mechanic of using paint and thinner is fascinating to explore. The game is challenging but doable, because it has save points at key places, so that you never feel frustrated if you fail an environmental puzzle and have to start again.
But it is the attention to detail that really makes this game special. You navigate the world by finding projector screens. When Mickey jumps into a movie screen, he will find himself inside a classic Mickey cartoon; but this time, it is a 2D gaming environment. It is a hoot to control Mickey as he runs through the scenes from the classic Steamboat Willie.
You will see much of Mickey's cartoon history appear somewhere in this videogame. Disney Epic Mickey is not only a great videogame, but it is an homage to Walt Disney's vision.
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