While they tried to say otherwise, Epic Mickey: The Power of Illusion is a sequel to the classic Genesis game The Castle of Illusion, Starring Mickey Mouse. The game opens with the Castle of Illusion appearing in Wasteland and Mizrabel kidnapping anyone she can find that could have a heart so she can escape. Mickey’s first comments upon seeing the castle are: “I’ve been there before.” Nice try Disney, trying to tell us that this isn’t directly related to Castle of Illusion and just like that game, The Power of Illusion is a 2D sidescrolling platformer with more buttstomps than anything on the market.
Because of the inclusion under the ‘Epic Mickey’ banner, The Power of Illusion arms Mickey with the magic paintbrush and introduces a painting and thinning mechanic into this new space. Epic Mickey was the best way to get a long sought after sequel to Castle of Illusion out, but it also became its biggest detriment. The painting and thinning mechanics from Epic Mickey were an essential part of the gameplay and story, changing the world and how characters reacted to you whether you created or destroyed, or at least it attempted to. Here they only created the most monotonous and arduous part of the gameplay.
Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion (3DS)
Developer: DreamRift, Junction Point
Publisher: Disney Interactive
Release: November 18, 2012
MSRP: $39.99 [Buy Now]
While venturing through the beautifully drawn worlds you’ll come across objects in the environment that appear as sketches on the bottom screen or simple outlines. Pressing X or touching the touch screen pauses the game and takes you into the brush mode, where you can use paint or thinner to create and destroy objects. You end up having to create platforms to progress or destroy obstacles so you don’t die so often that you spend a large portion of the game paused, drawing outlines or erasing sketches. It grows so tedious that you start trying to find ways to avoid it altogether.
Just like the platformers of yesteryear, expect your adventures in the castle to be difficult. Oswald may be in the castle, but he stays behind while you and Jiminy Cricket journey through the expanding wings to find Disney characters from throughout time. The more you save, the more heart power you have and the more the castle reveals itself. Saving people gives them a room in the castle and they give you quests that upgrade their rooms or provide you with E-Tickets to spend in Scrooge McDuck’s upgrade shop.
Side quests either require you to talk to someone in the castle or to go back to a previous level to find some item or person hidden in it. It was incredibly tedious, but I didn’t entirely mind going back through the levels in the first two worlds. They’re beautiful and the tight controls made maneuvering a breeze. The same can’t be said for the third and final world, since the difficulty intensely ratcheted up and I found myself needing every upgrade possible. Maybe I just suck at games, but it was difficult and not in a good way.
I spent around 15 hours playing according to the in-game clock, but most of that was spent going back through levels I already played on pointless fetch quests. The three worlds and the accompanying boss levels give the game a total of fourteen levels. Even with the excuse of having to painstakingly create the levels and backgrounds to make them look as stunning as they do, there is not enough real game here to justify a $40 price tag.
Epic Mickey: The Power of Illusion is a game I wanted to love. It’s a sequel to one of my favorite old school platformers and was going to give me something else to do on my 3DS, but everything just doesn’t gel. Painting, thinning and the side quests are tedious, there’s no way around that, and they’re a large portion of the game. Remove them, and you’re left with a beautiful game with great controls that lasts 2-3 hours. They had a great idea here, but they failed to fully execute on it.