Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two is the follow up to the successful Wii-exclusive Epic Mickey which made waves for its nostalgic excellence.
Now the barrier of one-console release has subsided for the sequel, the series has burst back onto the scenes in glorious high definition and along with new character, Oswald, at the helm.
But how epic is Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two? And is it epic enough?
Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two is a mixed bag of gaming treats. The story is fairly simple as one would expect from a Disney storyline; The Mad Doctor has seen the errors of his ways from the evil deeds he committed in the first game and is back to help out Oswald repair the damage caused by recent earthquakes.
Gus the Gremlin figures something’s up and enlists the help of Mickey Mouse who once again wields his magic paint and thinner. Together, Mickey and Oswald go about and help out the Disney world with the earthquakes.
For those who haven’t played the first game, prepare to be confused but charmed by the story. There’s plenty of singing and dancing and colourful Disney references throughout the game which might just mask the story’s simplicity. The writing isn’t anything to be excited about; most of the game involves the characters being suspicious of someone but getting on with the job anyway.
Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two takes its name from the fact that both Mickey and Oswald progress through the game together. Players must use both to solve puzzles — Mickey has the magic brush and Oswald has a remote control that does various things — and a second player can jump in and take the role of Oswald at anytime.
Puzzles are simple and straight forward and do not require a huge amount of thought, but the game remains fun to play through. Most of the fun will be had by using Mickey’s paint to bring life to the toon world once again. It feels fun and in some places the puzzles around the paint and thinner mechanic are actually pretty good.
The two player mechanic is cumbersome when the second player is the CPU. Most boss battles will have Mickey and Oswald working together with their own abilities required to defeat the boss. This is a great idea in theory, in practise — at least with the CPU as your wingman — is slow, frustrating and poorly executed as you miss many opportunities to attack as you wait for the CPU to get its act together and stop standing in the corner.
The overall style of Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two has been heavily borrowed from games like The Legend of Zelda and a whole host of generic platformers. Mickey’s movements feel a little loose such is the case with many licensed games, and the pre-rendered indoor environments feel like a bit of a cop out for a game with all the resources of the world behind it.
That said, the game serves Disney fans extremely well. Characters from long ago return and there’s a few new ones littered around that didn’t appear in the first game. Some might feel the nostalgia has worn off a little bit from the original, but fans of the world of Disney will be very satisfied.