It’s strange to play an Epic Mickey game with two hands on the same controller.
The Power of Two, the sequel to the Wii-exclusive Disney Epic Mickey, is headed to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The E3 demo provided some truly fun moments, but also some gameplay stumbles.
The game controls much like the original. Mickey holds a magic paintbrush that shoots paint (to build the world) and thinner (to erase it). The Wasteland, as well as three types of gameplay – 3D platforming, 2D platforming and boss battles – also return.
But it’s what’s new in The Power of Two that makes it interesting. The game features full voice acting from Disney’s character actors. It’s very well done, and the demo on the E3 show floor was all the better for it. Mickey and Oswald didn’t have many lines in the two tutorial and boss battles shown, but when they did, it was significantly better than the text in the original game.
Consequence moments are brought back from the first game, but with more weight. I was shown a point where Mickey could steal a half-revealed treasure chest, or paint over the rest and receive a ticket. I was told these types of decisions will have consequences regarding how the game unfolds.
Also new is split-screen multiplayer. A second player can drop in (or out) as Oswald, the first game’s antagonist. He wields a remote control that can reprogram enemies, and serves as a great distraction during boss battles. As I fought a mechanical dragon as Mickey, another player took most of the lumps as Oswald and kept the dragon away as I doused it with paint thinner.
The split-screen is a bit disorienting, and it happens even in the 2D platforming levels. On the bright side, playing with Mickey and Oswald together – especially in the 2D stages – gave off a serious old school Sonic and Tails vibe.
The biggest problem with the move to non-Wii platforms is the reticle use. Targeting is key when aiming paint or thinner, but unfortunately I found pointing the reticle with an Xbox 360 controller less than ideal; it felt a bit loose. Hopefully, it will be tightened before the game’s release.
Epic Mickey: The Power of Two is filled with Disney charm, and the co-op multiplayer shows a lot of promise. While the game seems to add a few features to the original rather than drastic changes, the demo indicates a crowd-pleaser for fans of Disney and platformers alike, though not without a few small issues.