Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion

While Disney Epic Mickey 2: Power of Two received a mixed response on home console, the sister release is launching to a much more concentrated audience. Available now as a Nintendo 3DS exclusive title, Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion is designed to attract two […]
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Electronic Theatre ImageWhile Disney Epic Mickey 2: Power of Two received a mixed response on home console, the sister release is launching to a much more concentrated audience. Available now as a Nintendo 3DS exclusive title, Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion is designed to attract two types of gamers: young fans of Mickey Mouse and thirty-something gamers hoping for a fifth title in the classic Illusion series that can stand up to the quality of Castle of Illusion, Land of Illusion, World of Illusion and Legend of Illusion.

Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion connects the infamous Illusion series to the more recent Epic Mickey titles in perhaps the most self-referential plot a videogame has ever seen. The Wasteland remains a land of lost toons, where characters and venues once championed by Disney end up when they’ve been forgotten. Being nearly two decades sinceElectronic Theatre Image its last outing, the Castle of Illusion has now appeared in The Wasteland, and Mizrabel is not happy about the idea of being relegated to a land of has-beens. She’s kidnapped some of Disney’s greatest villains to prevent Mickey and Oswald rescuing Minnie Mouse from hidden within the castle, thus securing her fame.

For the most part Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion is a fairly traditional platform experience, blending side-scrolling action and alternative routes with the paint puzzles that have defined the Epic Mickey series thus far. Players can see objects that can be interacted with on the touchscreen’s map, and touching them will allow players to either draw their outline and make them appear or erase their ink for them to disappear. It’s a simple mechanic that pays dividends when it comes to hunting for hidden toons later in the videogame, with elaborate series of doing-and-undoing challenges tasking the player alongside the dexterity challenges.

A new addition to the formula offered by Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion is that of sketches. Equipped prior to the start of each level, sketches allow the player to summon specific instances into the level at any point (as long as their Electronic Theatre Imagepaint meter allows). These can be direct assistant in the form of a bounding Scrooge McDuck that kills all enemies he approaches, or a one-shot Thwomp style block that crushes anything below it, but can then become a hindrance to the player.

Rescued characters move to the Fortress, a safe haven where they can recoup and help Mickey out in other respects. These characters will often set the player challenges (such as finding an item or rescuing additional characters) and reward the player with status improvements that will aid their progress. Scrooge McDuck will open a store shortly after the start of the videogame, allowing players to purchase health and attack power increases, amongst other bonuses, with the cash collected in-game.

The visual quality of Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion hardly taxes the Nintendo 3DS hardware, but the art direction is of course intended to reflect the 16-bit Illusion titles. The colour palette is obviously superior to those Electronic Theatre Imageoriginal titles, as is the variety of characters and locales, though oddly the animation is rarely anything that couldn’t be achieved on lesser hardware.

A thoroughly enjoyable platform videogame from start to finish, Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion is a welcome addition to not only the Epic Mickey franchise, but also the Nintendo 3DS line-up. It manages to provide an interesting series of platform challenges without redefining the conventions of the genre. While Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Two was criticised for sticking too rigidly to the 3D platform formula, the more limited audience of Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion will likely commend the videogame for the same passion for its genre.

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