Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Epic Mickey

I usually don't buy video games at full price, preferring to wait until they've been discounted. However, my wife specifically requested the game Epic Mickey for Christmas. Since I'm usually lousy at giving gifts, I ignored the price and bought it for her.

Although the game was technically a gift for my wife, I think I've played it more than she has. The plot appeals to a geek like me who loves nearly anything from the Golden Age of animation. References to classic cartoons and characters fill the game and Mickey is presented with his late-1930s look.

In Epic Mickey, a pre-Steamboat Willie Mickey Mouse goes through the looking glass into the wizard Yen Sid's workshop. There, Yen Sid has used paint, thinner, and a magical brush to create a miniature Disneyland-esque paradise. Mickey, out of curiosity, begins to play with the brush, but accidentally creates an evil creature called the Shadow Blot. Mickey attempts to destroy it using a bottle of thinner, but instead ruins Yen Sid's world when he spills the bottle. Not realizing what he's done, Mickey returns to his own world through the mirror and goes on to a successful career, forgetting all about his little adventure.

However, it turns out that the miniature world had been home to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and a host of other forgotten or scrapped Disney cartoon characters. By creating the Blot and spilling the thinner, Mickey had turned the world into Wasteland; a sinister mirror version of Disneyland. Oswald, who had already been cast into Mickey's shadow, has become even more bitter. When the Shadow Blot drags Mickey into Wasteland, Mickey has to find his way home while making up for the damage he's done.

The game is a puzzle/adventure game with a good amount of RPG elements thrown in. The gameplay is fun while the Wasteland is a thoroughly entertaining place that turns Disneyland on its head. Buildings are warped by the effects of the thinner, Oswald imagery has replaced all Mickey imagery (most notably in the famous statue of Walt Disney holding Mickey's hand), and toxic thinner is everywhere. Having never liked the It's a Small World ride, I especially appreciated the game's demented doppelganger.

Maybe people will want to ride It's a Small World now

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