Review: ‘Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two’ for the Wii
This game is a nostalgia trip. Much like the original Epic Mickey, it highlights a diverse cast of classic Disney characters that don’t always get the spotlight; sure, there’s a matchmaking questline that unites Donald and Daisy Duck as romantic partners, but there’s also one featuring Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horsecollar. When was the last time you saw those two characters featured?
Well, probably the last Epic Mickey game; you also get that nostalgic kick just listening to the opening screen music if you’ve already played the first game. The world of the Epic Mickey, Wasteland, is a bizarre world of forgotten and buried cartoons; at one point, I found myself looking at a bizarre new form of sedimentary rock formed of discarded Disney paraphernalia. It’s a nice place to visit; I’m not sure if I want to live there, though. It’s strangely creepy.
And the camera still stinks, too.
SPOILER ALERT: I have tried to hide late game plot revelations as best I can, and believe I did an alright job. However, I totally spoil the ending of the first Saw movie after the break.
Update (Jan 29): Disney shutters Epic Mickey creator Junction Point Studios
Story and characters
A horrible earthquake has split Mean Street right down the middle; all the areas of Wasteland have been affected by this terrible tragedy as well. But what caused this earthquake? Was it natural causes? Probably not, as Wasteland does not have a history of seismic activity, being a giant cartoon on a wizard’s table.
Perhaps it’s a mad scheme from the Mad Doctor; he’s been very helpful with the clean-up, and Oswald seems to think he’s in the clear, but his cat girlfriend Ortensia is quick to point out his name is the Mad Doctor, after all. Also, one of the Gremlins, Prescott, has been acting a bit … off. Surely a gremlin couldn’t be behind the accident?
For the sequel, the cast has been upgraded with full voice acting, and not just the main cast; all the extras wandering around are fully voiced, and each with a distinct voice actor and lines. No same two voices endlessly regaling you with the news that they saw a mudcrab the other day. Horrible creatures.
The biggest voice actor belongs to Mickey’s loyal sidekick, Gus the Gremlin. He is voiced by none other than Cary Elwes. Younger readers probably know him best as the guy who took a hacksaw to his own ankle at the end of the first Saw movie, but older readers will remember him best as the Dread Pirate Roberts. Now he gets to annoy you with constant not very helpful hints!
The gameplay is little changed for Mickey Mouse from the first game; you shoot Paint or Thinner from a magic brush; Paint creates things and befriends enemies, Thinner destroys them. This time around, things stay painted in or thinned out if you leave the area and return later.
The biggest addition is that Oswald the Lucky Rabbit gets to tag along for the ride; if you’re playing by yourself, a button press can get him to use his Remote to shock things, which can open doors and various other things, as well fly with his ears, carrying Mickey with him. He also has the unnerving ability to remove various body parts and throw them at enemies like a boomerang. What Cary Elwes’s character wouldn’t have given for that ability at the end of Saw …
The game is now playable with a second controller; I did not have the opportunity to test this mode out, but I wonder how playable this is thanks to an issue that plagued the first Epic Mickey.
The camera is still atrocious; I didn’t mind it so much the first time around, but honestly, much as I like Cary Elwes, should’ve saved the money for the time needed to develop a decent camera that doesn’t fight you. “You need to work together to solve this problem!” Thanks. I got it. Now if I could see what’s going on …
If you liked the first Epic Mickey, you’ll like this game. It’s that simple. Much like the first game, you have fun, likable characters in a decent story with some pretty nice 3D platforming with Zelda-esque puzzle solving, with the same single glaring flaw.
The game ends with a sequel hook; I’m looking forward to it. Just fix the darn camera, please!
This review is based on the Wii version of the game. It is also available on the Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii-U.