This fall is a big season for video games. August saw the release of Tranformers: Fall of Cybertron, the best rated Transformers video game of all time. One month later, Borderlands 2 came out, and wowed gamers with its improved storyline and in-depth FPS and RPG gameplay elements. And now gamers can enjoy Assassin’s Creed 3 and Halo 4, shortly followed by the release of the Wii U. With all these games (and more) to compete against, standing out from the crowd right now is, at the very least, an incredibly tough challenge to overcome. After playing the demo for Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, however, I can confidently say that this is another game that everyone should keep and eye on, even with all the other big name titles sitting on store shelves.
The demo only takes about 30 minutes to complete and takes place in the intro/tutorial level. After a random earthquake, Micky, Oswald, Gus and Ortensia are trapped in a castle and have to find their way out by completing puzzles, jumping from platform to platform, and defeating enemies.
The first noticeable difference between The Power of Two and the first game is way you aim the magic paint brush. The first Epic Mickey was a Wii exclusive, so the player used the Wii remote to aim and shoot paint and thinner. With an Xbox 360 or PS3 controller, however, The Power of Two almost feels like a third person shooter. From what I played the aiming was precise and there was never an issue with the camera. Moving the reticle did feel a little clunky though, but that can be easily changed by switching the sensitivity.
First and foremost, the Epic Mickey games are platformers, and the demo did a fantastic job showing off what players can expect. Jumping felt smooth, moving the character was precise, and I never blamed the game if I missed an edge or fell off a platform. I don’t play too many platformers, but I actually wanted more of this gameplay in the short time I had with the demo.
You only get to fight three or four enemies in the whole demo, which was disappointing. By pressing the X button (on a 360 controller) Micky can do a spin attack that stuns enemies. Once stunned, you can spray them with either paint or thinner. Paint transforms them into friendlies, and thinner destroys them. It’s hard to judge what the combat will be like in boss battles or against multiple enemies; my concern is that it will get too repetitive. It’s hinted that there are different consequences for using the two different combat methods (paint vs thinner), but it didn’t show in the demo.
My biggest gripe about the demo was the puzzles. They were fairly simple to complete, but the game wasn’t very clear about what you had to accomplish. I ended up walking around a tiny room for five minutes looking for a lever I had to pull, and it ended up being right in front of my face. I’m all up for challenges, but it’s a problem if the player can’t even find the first part of the puzzle. It didn’t help that your partner, Oswald, left his post if you strayed too far. I didn’t get to play the co-op feature, but from what I can tell it would be better to play with a friend than the AI.
The biggest highlight of The Power of Two is the voice acting and the cutscene animation. It felt like I was watching a Saturday morning cartoon. Even if you don’t like the gameplay, it’s hard not to smile when the characters are talking. It’s almost what one would expect from Disney feature film.
Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two demo is available on XBLA and PSN. The full game will hit store shelves on November, 18.