I received Epic Mickey for Christmas, and since then I’ve played it twice. Two times, people. One…two. That kind of says it all, but this is Grinding Down after all, and I always like to say more than is probably necessary.
Epic Mickey is a sad game. It’s sad for many reasons; sad that it can’t be what it wants to be, sad that its controls don’t work like we’re told how they’ll work, sad that its camera is disgruntled and ready to quit at any moment, sad that its best aspect has nothing to do with gameplay. Just sad, sad, sad. And for a Disney product, that’s astounding. Certainly, this would have been much more stellar with all the in-game levels removed, the controller denied access, and released as a straight-to-DVD bargain bin flick. It’s a great story. It would make a great family film.
And here’s a summary of the story: Epic Mickey is set in a world crafted by the wizard Yen Sid (pssssst, that’s DISNEY backwards) which houses all of Walt Disney’s forgotten characters. Our titular hero Mickey Mouse accidentally spills paint thinner on a page containing the world and is dragged inside. Here, he’ll discover the Phantom Blot has been manipulating the world in very evil ways. Using paint and paint thinner, it’s up to Mickey to set things right (or maybe not at all). Also, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Walt Disney’s first ever cartoon hero, who hates the Mouse with unbridled passion, is out for revenge. See, it’s good stuff. It has layers, and it’s a real treat to see many of the forgotten characters actually dealing with their depression and anger. And poor Mickey is just kind of thrown into the mess of it all. Storyboard-style art really helps bring to life the characters and world, and I wish someone else would come over to my apartment, play the game to unlock all the movies, and then go away so I could just watch them one after the other. Yes, that is my wish.
The story is not Epic Mickey‘s problem. In fact, it’s its only sparkle of light. I’ve never been excited over using the Nintendo Wii for anything other than Wii Sports as the WiiMote and Nunchuk are prime examples of masochism. Pure hate against the consumer. They are the worst controllers in the galaxy, and playing anything with them is a minigame on its own. Using the WiiMote to aim the paint/thinner weapon is pointless because even if you do aim it right, the game doesn’t shoot the paint/thinner where you are aiming at. It always falls short. So that’s fun to work with. The controllers also don’t make general platforming easy, especially with that camera that Epic Mickey game designer Warren Spector won’t even admit is more horrid than Goofy doing disco. And good platforming is kind of key for a…platformer. I mean, when I say that I can’t get any further in the game, I mean that in the sense that I physically can’t get Mickey to where he needs to be because the jumping and climbing and clinging controls are broken and he keeps falling to his death. Looks like Mickey is doomed to the same fate as Smee and Oswald, abandoned, stuck in limbo, forever forgotten.
Alas, Epic Mickey is not the second coming of Mickey Mania.
Over at The First Hour, Nate answered with “doubtful” to if he’d continue playing Epic Mickey, and I have to echo his sentiments though I might give it one more try. An epic shame in the end.