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CVG
12 Reviews

Disney Epic Mickey

Epic win?

As you'd expect from the man who made Deus Ex, Disney Epic Mickey is a game all about player choice.

Everything you do in Mickey Mouse's moody paint adventure can be achieved in multiple ways, with different outcomes depending on how you go about tackling a particular task.

It's definitely a title that will inspire discussion on the bus - detailing how you approached a particular boss fight, or discovering a section of the game that you didn't even know about.

True to the form of Warren Spector, 'Mickey has the ability to genuinely surprise with its depth of choices and chest loads of replayability.

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Some of this, unfortunately, comes at the expense of core gameplay systems - which ultimately shift the Mouse out of triple-A territory. However, Epic Mickey still offers a level of freedom and depth of exploration that keeps it unique amongst the platforming competition.

PAINT BY NUMBERS
The concept of Epic Mickey is that the big-eared mouse, cloaked in fame and naturally jolly, has been sucked into a magical painting world. This is inhabited by forgotten relics from Disney's past, including Walt's first toon creation, Oslwald the Lucky Rabbit, who rules all.

Unfortunately, an early disaster in the real world involving the Mouse himself and some magic paint thinner means the Wasteland, as it's called, has become a not-very-nice gothic wasteland, inhabited by evil, oily ink baddies called the Blot.

Mickey's out to defeat the shadowy foes using his new tool; the magic paintbrush. This is perhaps Epic Mickey's most successful gameplay feature - pointing the Wii remote at the screen, you can 'paint' or 'thin' the world, erasing and materialising elements at will.

Using the brush, you essentially take level design into your own hands, creating your own paths by recreating invisible platforms and thinning out chunks of buildings for a makeshift staircase. It's exactly the sort of player choice Spector talks up with abandon.

Of course there's a moral consequence to the painting and thinning gameplay, with the former representing good and the latter making the Wasteland even more miserable.

For example, enemies can be tackled either by erasing them completely with the green stuff, or rallied to your side with a bucket of paint. Which of the materials you use to tackle boss characters will affect which of your two resource pots is increased.

It's a well realised and fun mechanic that, when combined with the more head-scratching quests, sees Disney Epic Mickey at its best.

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One memorable sequence has Mickey trying to save the pirate inhabitants of Skull Island from a machine that's turning them into animatronics. Drench the offending machine in thinner and it'll explode, much to the delight of the island's remaining inhabitants. Fill it with paint, however, and you'll eventually save those already converted into robots - but with no instant reward. Or you could ignore the whole problem, but it'll come back to bite you in the arse later.

This is one of the more enjoyable and thought-provoking conundrums Epic Mickey throws at you. Others can be a bit too clean cut, with your gremlin friend pointing out every choice and consequence to make it blatantly obvious which decision's the evil one. (Do you help the friendly telephone? Or smash it to pieces and do a celebratory dance?)

The branching paths and beautiful, twisted world form a campaign that's full of compelling sidequests and literally tonnes of extra content (achieving 100 per cent completion is truly an Epic task). Because of the way your choices change the Wasteland and its inhabitants you're literally going to have to do 'good' and 'evil' playthroughs to see everything, with certain choices locking off paths and opening others.

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