He may be one of the world’s most iconic mascots, with a timeless legacy that dates back almost a century, but in recent years Mickey Mouse has been anything but epic.
So with a title that boldly states its somewhat ambitious intentions from the off, it was clear that Disney and Nintendo would have to have produced a game a little more impressive than their last collaborative outing – the embarassingly weak Disney’s Magical Mirror Starring Mickey Mouse – from up their wizard’s apprentice sleeve.
Ominously enough, Epic Mickey also focuses on a magical mirror, except thankfully this time it’s an apt reflection of all the things the House of Mouse is adored for – creativity, imagination, vibrancy and most importantly of all, fun.
The set-up’s ingenious in its simplicity and cleverly planned depth. Mickey’s lured into another world and stumbles across Fantasia’s sorceror Yen Sid creating a model world using an enchanted paint brush. Proving that cats aren’t the only flawed furball, Mickey’s curiosity causes an accident that creates an evil monster known as the Shadow Blot which infects the parallel paradise and enslaves its inhabitants.
As if that wasn’t enough of a hook for Disney fans, it turns out that the forgotten world was created by Yen Sid to home all the Disney characters that either time forgot or who never made it big – including Mickey’s understandably narked predecessor Oswald.
Armed with the powerful paintbrush and some fantastical whitewash, players control Mickey as he sets about thinning out the nasties and repainting them in the studio’s magically memorable image.
While Disney Epic Mickey revels in its own lineage, it takes more than a fair few cues from Nintendo’s premier plumber, crafting a 3D platformer that mixes Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine with superb, if not exactly flawless results.
A controller-flingingly annoying camera and a lack of enemy lock-on throws a sizeable spanner in the works but thankfully the rest of the wax on/wax off gameplay mechanic is executed perfectly.
In a refreshing change of pace for the Wii’s platformers, it encourages gamers to actually use their heads as often as they waggle the Wii remote without ever making the difficulty level infuriatingly complex, while the seemingly endless treasure trove of Disney classics and undiscovered gems to mine help build a vividly immersive, magically dystopian gaming wonderland that’s as much fun to explore as the theme park it’s based on.
It’s not just Mickey’s best console outing yet, but the Wii’s fitting platforming swan-song.