Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion
 BLOG ABOUT THIS

Review: Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion

5:00 PM on 11.24.2012 // Tony Ponce
  @megaStryke

Poor unfortunate souls

As a Sega Genesis child, the news that Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion was going to be a spiritual sequel to Castle of Illusion sent me into a fit of joy spasms. Considering how tedious the original Epic Mickey was, my interest in this handheld excursion easily dwarfed any held towards the home console sequel.

I expressed only the tiniest of concerns regarding the touchscreen controls back when I demoed Power of Illusion in September. Everything else was so colorful and polished that I was willing to ignore those and other apprehensions gently bubbling in the pit of my stomach.

I really should learn to trust my gut more often.

Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion (3DS)
Developer: DreamRift, Junction Point
Publisher: Disney Interactive
Release: November 18, 2012
MSRP: $39.99

As explained in the original Epic Mickey, Disney characters who are forgotten are sent to live out the rest of their days in the Wasteland. Some try to make the most of their unfortunate situation, but others are none to happy to be discarded. Such is the fate of Castle of Illusion's villainess Mizrabel, and she conspires to escape the Wasteland by any means necessary. Her motivations actually threatens to give the plot an iota of depth, but of course they're never explored further.

To achieve her goal, Mizarbel needs Heart Power collected from famous Toons. She is somehow able to drain the essence of beloved Disney icons like Snow White and Simba, trapping them inside her castle and using illusory magic to reflect the Toons' home worlds. So instead of visiting rundown Disney theme park attractions, Mickey will get to explore notable locales like Never Land, Agrabah, and Atlantica.

Screens and video do not lie: this is a beautiful game. From the detailed environments to the smooth sprite animations, DreamRift did a fantastic job capturing the bright and colorful Disney style. Each stage features around four parallax layers, and when you flip the 3D slider on, the background simply pops.

The music is equally rich, with crisp, original orchestrations inspired by the source films. Better still, a small number of tracks are revamped versions of Castle of Illusion tunes. In the first level, you hear a rendition of the forest theme; in the shop, a variation of the interstitial music plays; and in the final showdown against Mizrabel, there's a dark twist on the boss theme. Seriously, I got goosebumps when I heard those nostalgic melodies.

Mickey's repertoire includes his signature butt stomp from Castle of Illusion and melee, paint, and thinner attacks from Epic Mickey. All his attributes can then be upgraded in Scrooge McDuck's shop by spending E-Tickets. In a similar fashion to DreamRift's previous title, Monster Tale, you can string attack combos to juggle enemies even after they've been defeated; the more you keep them airborne, the more health and E-Tickets they'll drop. It's a clever way to reward players for laying an excessive beatdown.

The big gameplay hook is the use of the touchscreen to paint or thin out objects or characters highlighted on the touchscreen. For example, if a gap is too wide to clear by jumping, you might notice the outline of a bridge on the bottom screen. Tapping it with the stylus initiates a mini-game of sorts where you must trace the outline of the object as accurately as possible, and how well you stay in the lines determines the "effectiveness" of the resulting object.

Having to manually draw each one of these paintable objects absolutely kills game flow. I didn't mind it so much the first few times, but the novelty quickly turned to annoyance. This is especially true in segments where you have to paint or thin out several objects in quick succession, such as in the boss battle against Jafar, where he keeps destroying the floor and you have to keep drawing it back in. This mandates that you always have the stylus at the ready, either on a nearby surface or awkwardly wedged between your index finger and the edge of the 3DS.

The effectiveness grading doesn't even matter all that much. If you get an "okay," your floating platform might have a spike at the tip that you should avoid touching. If you get a "perfect," your cannon won't disappear after firing three times. Yet there's never a situation where you need the best possible object around, and unless you wildly draw outside the lines, you're always at least going to get an average rating. It's just an exhausting exercise.

If I may bring up Monster Tale once again, that game only required simple taps on the touchscreen to feed your critter or direct it to attack. I would have much preferred if Power of Illusion adopted that system, so that a simple tap of the finger was all it took to create or destroy an object. Leave the precision drawing to key events.

Before each level, you fill slots on a loadout bar with Sketches, items that you can spawn at any time as long as you have enough paint. Such items include temporary invincibility, Tinkerbell's pixie dust for a slower rate of descent, and the Scrooge McDuck summon in which he'll bounce around the screen on his cane like in DuckTales on NES.

Unfortunately, you have to go through the whole rigamarole of painting a Sketch to use it, and with the exception of a floating platform that you can place anywhere you want, none of the items are all that helpful. There's a treasure chest that generates random items, but it's pointless when enemy drop rates are so high to begin with. Even the attack summons -- sorry, Scrooge -- are quite ineffective at clearing the screen of foes.

Throughout the worlds are Disney characters in need of rescue. Once you've saved them, they'll take residence in individual rooms inside the Fortress, your home base between levels. By spending acquired upgrade stars or completing optional side quests, you can spruce up their rooms to look like scenes out of their home films.

Some quests are as simple as painting a requested object right then and there. In others, you play errand boy between residents of the Fortress, such as obtaining a threading needle from Rapunzel so Wendy can stitch Peter Pan's shadow back in place. It's really quite amusing to see these characters interact outside of their individual universes.

Then there are quests that send you back to previously cleared stages in order to rescue characters or locate treasure chests that weren't there on your first pass. Since you can't exit from the menu in the middle of a level without losing all you current progress, you have to play through the entire stage again, even if whatever you are looking for is near the start. In fact, it's not uncommon to have to return to a level three times or more!

The only purpose that the lack of a proper "escape" function serves is to artificially lengthen the game, a truth that didn't really sink in until my adventure abruptly stopped. See, there are only three worlds in total, yet I'm certain that four were originally planned. Each world is located in the East, West, and South Wings of the castle -- isn't it's only logical that there ought to be a North Wing as well?

If you look at the game's box art, which I've used as this review's header image, you'll notice four villains -- Captain Hook, Jafar, Ursula, and the Queen of Hearts -- peeking out of doorways leading to their respective realms. Neither the Queen of Hearts nor Wonderland appear in the game; in fact, the final box art was altered slightly, replacing the Queen with the non-villainous Mad Hatter. If there was to be a fourth world, it must have been removed very late in development.

That's not all. Both the Peter Pan and Aladdin worlds feature four levels followed by a battle against that film's antagonist. However, The Little Mermaid world ends after only three levels, and you never fight Ursula. Rather, you find her just hanging out in the water and rescue her like any other character. The room to the final battle with Mizrabel opens immediately after completing that third level -- it's as though the game is saying, "Eh, that's enough."

For what it's worth, I think DreamRift did a remarkable job regardless of the shortcomings. Like the original Epic Mickey, there's a lot of love for Disney history, and like Monster Tale, there's a solid action platformer at its core. It's just a shame that various design decisions, both intended and possibly not, threw a major spanner in the works.

Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion is beautiful to look at. It's also quite obviously unfinished. The building blocks of the ultimate Mickey Mouse game are here, but we'll have to wait yet another day to see that vision become reality.



THE VERDICT

6

Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion - Reviewed by Tony Ponce
Amicable - A presentable but unmemorable time. Focusing on the bright spots helps, and I appreciate the effort, but I won't be playing this repeatedly.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Tony Ponce, Former Contributor
 Follow Blog + disclosure megaStryke Tips
(Decommissioned) Super Fighting Robot more   |   staff directory





 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion


  Oct 16

Disney reveals new levels for upcoming Epic Mickey titles

Rainbow exploration for consoles, and hot mermaid action for 3DS


  Sep 24

Preview: Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion is pure magic

Epic Mickey 2 on consoles can go jump into a river


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Modern face of survival horror

Discussion Discussion on Games

PStoid Episode 38: Doomed from the Box Art

Cblogs of 2/9/16 - Only Slightly Late Edition

Narrative Mistakes: Mass Effect's Reapers As Primary Villains

Journey to Become a Jedi Knight - Jedi Outcast

Waifu Wars - The End

Hindsight Part II: Unreleased Games of the Past

Robbing Kirby of his Greatest Asset

The meaning of The Witness (Part 3 of 3)

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

gajknight avatargajknight
I want to listen to classical music. But I'm in a funky mood right now. The solution?
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Been watching Better Call Saul, being a pretty big fan of Breaking Bad, and it's been pretty decent. Like a b-side to BB. But, this scene with Trevor (GTAV)-famous Steven Ogg has been my highlight. There's more to it before this, but it's the best part.
Parismio avatarParismio
Whens the racist Wakka animation?:
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Well, wherever you are, Human...
jak2364 avatarjak2364
...Well, nice to know I could improve a game I didn't take a survey on!
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
jak2364 avatarjak2364
...Does Ubisoft let their employees do drugs before they write surveys? It really seems like it. "The progression of the main character (skills) in the game should be adapted" Can anyone tell me what the hell that's supposed to mean?
FakePlasticTree avatarFakePlasticTree
I always thought the anime Baccano felt like something out of Guy Richie or Tarantino--then someone made the intro of Snatch with the opening theme from Baccano playing over it. Two of my favorite things together and it fits beautifully. I love it <3
Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
I just need something to do for 5 minutes before I got to leave. *checks Dtoid Quickposts* .... SHIT, 15 mintues!
Dreamweaver avatarDreamweaver
Weird nerdy confession: I actually wrote, and got HEAVILY invested in, Pokemon fan fiction. It was based on a RP Story I did on The Escapist forums, and featured a love story between a Squirtle and a Miltank. To this day, Miltank still gets me aroused. :P
SayWord avatarSayWord
Spending time with your significant other, or playing with Nep Nep? I choose you Neptune! =P
SpaghettiOReilly avatarSpaghettiOReilly
And when I said "as" I meant "this." The funk has ruined my mind.
SpaghettiOReilly avatarSpaghettiOReilly
It's been ages since I've been as addicted to a game. That changed yesterday. I can't stop playing Crypt of the Necrodancer. Send help. My hands hurt.
JPF720 avatarJPF720
As I'm back to studying, I can't help but recall that while it took me a week to read 10 pages of psychology theory I managed to read an analysis on Killer7's plot, that was 100 pages long, in a day. Good times.
WryGuy avatarWryGuy
"I don't trust you, pal." "Well I don't trust YOU, guy." "I don't trust ANY of you, friend." This has basically been the Marvel themed Werewolf game we're having in the forums right now. Real popcorn material.
JohnSmith123 avatarJohnSmith123
"I don't have time to explain why I don't have time to explain." Then she explains anyway.
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
id Tech 5 is a damn fine engine, but it's way ahead of its time. If The New Order and The Old Blood together need almost 70 GB of space, I cringe just to think what an open world game would need using that engine.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I'm definitely snatching Quantum Break on Xbox One so I can get dat crossbuy. Screw the haters, I'm excited for it and it's exactly what I hoped for when it comes to W10 exclusive gaming and crossbuy.
VIRGO avatarVIRGO
I've done nothing but read Pointandclickbait.com articles and now that's all I want to write like...
Ckarasu avatarCkarasu
People who think that Smash 4 balance patches aren't coming because Sakurai said development has ended don't know anything. I doubt he'd just drop the characters and leave, given the potential balance issues. He's a professional, not an amateur.
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -