COLUMN: Aaron’s Backstage Pass: Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion Review

Created: 12/31/2012 9:10 AM KSTP.com By: Hannah Anderson

I really like Disney’s Interactive Studios “Epic Mickey” games a lot. I think they are great games, because they are fun to play and have characters that most people will recognize. 

Last week I received a review copy of Disney’s Interactive Studios “Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion for the Nintendo 3DS. I still haven’t quit finished “Epic Mickey 2,” but I started playing “Power of Illusion” and I have not been able to put it down. I knew it was going to be a fun game, but I didn’t know how well it was going to compare to the other “Epic Mickey” games because it was on the 3DS.

I was very surprised and delighted as soon as the opening cut scene started. It looked great, the graphics were amazing and I felt the story was interesting and intriguing. 

After everything is fixed and brought back to normal in Wasteland (the land of forgotten toons), a strange castle appears. Oswald the “Lucky” rabbit goes and checks it out. He sees Jiminy Cricket in the window and Jiminy calls out to Oswald that the “Toons” are being kept in there.

Oswald knows that he needs to get them out, so he calls Mickey Mouse and asks for his help again. 

Mickey decides to help out Oswald again. Mickey grabs the magic paintbrush again and goes to Wasteland to help out Oswald.

After Mickey and Oswald enter the castle of illusion, you learn that the evil Mizrabel wants out of Wasteland and she thinks that by capturing all of the Toons in the Castle of Illusion it will drain the paint and she can escape. So your mission is to try and rescue all of the Disney toons and to break through Mizrabel’s Illusion.

Just about every Disney character is in this game and you have to rescue them. This was so cool and I know a lot of Disney fans will love this. There are characters from Peter Pan, Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel and many more. 

The characters are scattered all over the different levels and you have to find them. Once you rescue them, they appear in one of the rooms in the castle. You can go and talk to them. They usually have a task for you to do, such as find an item.

Once you find the item the character is looking for, they will give you” e-tickets” that can be used to buy upgrades for Mickey or they will give you an upgrade for your character.

You can tell when a character needs something, because a question mark will appear by their image on the map. Once you talk to them or complete the task it will go away. Sometime you have to search a level or talk to another character in the castle that may have the item you are looking for.

I found that if you just talked to everyone that had the question mark icon you will eventually find the item you need. Also if you look at the map, the levels that have items you may need or other characters will have the same question mark.

I thought that this was very helpful, because then I knew I had to go back there and look for something. You do have to keep checking all of the levels for the question marks after you rescue new characters, because new items will pop up in levels that you have completed.

Scattered all over the game are “e-tickets.” It is like money and you can also get them by defeating enemies.  You use the “e-tickets” to buy upgrades for Mickey Mouse. You find Scrooge McDuck right away and he needs you to find his lucky coin. 

Once you find his coin, he sets up a store and you can go there anytime and use your “e-tickets” for upgrades. You can increase your paint and paint thinner bars and you can also increase your health bar. There are a bunch of upgrades and you can keep upgrading Mickey’s powers. I really liked this a lot, because you could make Mickey pretty strong.

“Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion” is a platform game. It has been a while since I’ve played a platform game and I do miss them. You start out in the Fortress and in the east wing. You play through three different levels that are based on the story of Peter Pan. As you complete a level and rescue characters, other levels and wings of the castle open up for you to explore.

I thought that the controls were very easy to learn and it was also very easy to control Mickey Mouse. Some of the things that you need to do with Mickey Mouse are, jump, use your paint brush to shoot paint and thinner at enemies, you can do a spin attack, and you can also create sketches of characters that will help you in the game. 

You will also be using the stylus a lot in “Power of Illusion.” On the bottom screen you can see a rough outline of the level. There are items that can only be seen in this mode that can help you in a certain situation if you use your paint brush.

You can either draw something to make it appear or use your paint thinner to make something disappear in the level. For example, there is a section of spikes and you need to cross them. So you can see on the bottom map that there is an image so you can make something appear to help you cross. 

You tap on the image with the stylus and you go into another menu. There is an image and you have to trace it to make the image appear or delete it by rubbing the stylus over the image. After you do this a platform will appear and you can jump on it to cross. There are also characters that are hidden this way as well, so you have to constantly be watching the bottom screen. I felt this feature made the game unique and very fun.

Another feature is that you can create sketches as you play. Some of the characters will give you a sketch when you complete their task. You can have up to five different sketches equipped at one time and there are eight different ones you can unlock. The sketches can be used to help you in the game.

For example, Tinker Bell is one of the sketches and she will give you the ability to fly for a short time when used. The sketches appear in the upper right hand corner of the screen and you can switch between the different ones at any time during the level.

When you select a sketch you have to draw the outline and once you do that, the character will appear to help you.

There are also a few different meters that you need to pay attention to. One is your paint meter, the second is your thinner meter, and the third is your health. All three can be upgraded so you can hold more paint/thinner and add more health. Enemies will drop either paint/thinner or hearts when they are defeated and that’s how you refill your meters.

The graphics and animations are very well done and looked amazing. The characters looked like exactly like they do in the Disney films. The artists gave the characters all of their unique characteristics which was nice to see. The backgrounds and enemies were very detailed and colorful.

The 3D worked very well with “Power of Illusion.” Everything popped out and you could see the depths of the levels. It was amazing how great everything looked.

Overall I really liked Disney’s Interactive Studio’s “Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion.” I thought the story was great and that a majority of the Disney characters appear in the game. The game looked amazing and was easy to control. “Power of Illusion” is rated “E” for everyone, so it is a great family game and I know fans of Disney or people that enjoy platform games will really like this a lot.

Aaron Chalich is a columnist for KSTP.com blogging about the latest entertainment news.