Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two Review

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Title: Disney’s Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two
Developer: Disney Interactive
Game Type: PlayStation Vita
Download:  2.8 GB
NA Availability: 
Digital Download

EU Availability: Digital Download | Retail
PSTV Support: No

Ever since the last generation, it’s been thought that Sony handhelds don’t have many family games.  While Nintendo has a large library of games directed towards younger gamers, you don’t find that many on the PSP or the PS Vita.  That’s not to say there aren’t any games on the Vita geared towards kids and family situations.  There are more than a few, but the majority of the library to look at is geared more towards Teens and Adults with games like Killzone, Persona, and Soul Sacrifice.

When you think about family or children’s games, or content in general, what do you think of?  When I think about it, the first company that comes to mind is Disney.  In the gaming world, Disney has created a lot of games, from games based on Disney movies to their recent Disney Infinity franchise.  If you look at the Vita, though, you won’t see a plethora of Disney games, like you would see on Nintendo consoles.  Disney has seldom touched Sony’s handheld system.

If you’re looking for a Disney Vita game, let’s take a look back a couple years.  Before Disney Infinity became a thing, Disney Interactive was working on a franchise of games around their flagship mascot, Mickey Mouse.  This franchise was known as Epic Mickey.  A direct port of the console version that not even the Nintendo 3DS got, here is our official review of Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two.

Story

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The plot of Epic Mickey 2 begins a fair amount of time after the events of the first game, where Mickey Mouse and Oswald the Rabbit (a lesser-known Disney character that switched ownership between them and Universal over the years) rescued Wasteland, the world of the forgotten Toons, from destruction at the hands of The Mad Doctor (from the 1933 Disney Animation of the same name).  With Wasteland still trying to recover from the previous attacks, a series of earthquakes take place and the Mad Doctor returns, supposedly turned good.

As the earthquakes take place, the Mad Doctor warns Wasteland of mechanical monsters known as Blotworx, that are on their way to take over the realm.  Shaken by the recent events, the Toons decide to contact Mickey Mouse and bring him back to Wasteland, wielding Yen Sid’s magical painting brush to help repair Wasteland and put a stop to the Blotworx plot against Wasteland.

The story of Epic Mickey 2 isn’t a tale as epic as its name, but it does do its job at feeling more like a throwback Disney cartoon plotline.  If you’re a Disney fan to like all of the characters, it can be enjoyable.  For others, though, the story isn’t as exciting as the title suggests.

Gameplay

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Epic Mickey 2, like its predecessor, is a platformer action game.  As you play through the game and explore the world of Wasteland, you will be going over platforms and solving puzzles in the form of using paint and thinner to alter the world around you.  The best comparison game on the Vita we could compare this to is Ratchet and Clank or Tearaway, but with less action and more of a focus on puzzles.

During the game, you will be in an ongoing continuation of a journey across the world of Wasteland, rather than the game having a base with missions that you go on.  Everything is in a large open world-type situation.  This is the first showcasing that this is a direct port of the console version of the game, and has every bit as much content in it as the game has on the Wii U and PlayStation 3.

Each area will have a checkpoint and the major areas of the game will have boss fights for you to take part in.  The way you progress through the game is by utilizing your Magic Brush as well as a remote control and various duo abilities with your companion, Oswald.  Puzzles and enemies are handled by Paint and Thinner.  You can use paint to color transparent objects to make them whole and tangible.  Thinner can be used on objects to remove color and change their shape.  This is used mostly to create platforms and paths to where you need to go.

Paint and Thinner are also used for combat.  Each enemy you fight has some sort of trick to beating them.  Many enemies you can paint to make them less hostile.  The first type of enemy, for example, can be completely painted to become friendly and won’t attack you.  Others have to be zapped by Oswald’s remote control and then jumped on to reveal the enemy, which you will paint to make friendly, or use thinner or physical attacks to hit and stun them.

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While you never run out of power for Oswald’s remote control, you have a limited supply of Paint and Thinner.  Because of this, you need to always keep your inventory up.  You can replenish these by getting drops from enemies or finding destructible objects you can attack with your brush to be able to get items from.  This is sometimes also parts of puzzles, requiring you to paint objects to make them visible and then attack them to replenish health or thinner.  These objects also can drop money and pins, which you can use to customize at the shops, found later in the game.

Other than the main objectives, there are many side-quests you can take part in.  These side-quests could be as simple as fixing electricity for a shop or searching for hidden characters and spirits as you play through the game.  There is a lot of side content to be done while you’re trekking through the game.

Difficulty is one thing that should definitely be addressed here.  The game’s combat is nothing to worry about, but the puzzles can be.  There were several parts of the game where I had to run over the same room several times, if not longer, without finding what I needed to do to proceed with my story progression.  Some of the puzzles can be fairly mind-boggling, even for an adult to complete.

To help with this difficulty, the PS Vita version of the game has local (Ad Hoc) multiplayer options, so you can have two people in a room playing as each character.  Although this is local-only, it is a way for you to have fun if you have a friend with a Vita as well as this game.

All in all, Epic Mickey 2 has a fair amount of length to it for an action game.  If you just play the story, you can clear the game in about 8-10 hours.  You can easily add another 3-5 hours to that if you are a completionist and want to do everything.

Controls

The control scheme for Epic Mickey 2 isn’t a whole lot different from its PS3 counterpart.  You will not need to use every button on the Vita as you play through the game.  There are some touch controls you can take advantage of, though.  The touch controls aren’t touch-specific, but an alternative.  You can tap on the screen to change whether you’re equipped with paint or thinner, and can tap anywhere on the screen to shoot paint/thinner to that spot.

To move your character around, you will be using the Left Analog Stick.  You can also move the camera around with the D-Pad or Right Analog Stick.  Interacting with environments and people will be done with the face buttons and the triggers.  You can use the X button to jump and double-jump as well as talking with people or interacting with doors.  You can use the Square button to do a spinning attack to stun enemies or break objects.

The rest of it is with the triggers.  When you paint or thin something, you will need to use the L button for thinner or the R button for paint.  You can tap it for a small burst or hold it for a steady stream of paint.

Presentation

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Presentation gives the game credit, but also brings it down.  First of all, the visual presentation looks good for an early Vita title.  While the game doesn’t look as good as the PS3 version of the game, it looks close.  There aren’t a whole lot of jagged edges to find in the environments, but there are a few on the character models for Mickey and Oswald.

The biggest issue with presentation is how the game runs.  For the most part, the game can be adjusted to, but the frame-rate is not steady.  The frames can be fine as you’re running, but as soon as you start jumping, the game starts to slow down.  This can also happen when you’re aiming the camera and firing off paint and thinner.  While this isn’t game-breaking, it certainly does remain an annoyance and makes the game feel slow and sluggish.

Summary

Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two is: Decent
Epic Mickey 2 makes its debut on the Vita with all content in tact from its full console release.  On the downside, the story is nothing special and the game proves to be difficult in its puzzles as well as lag and slow-down.  If you’re itching for a Disney adventure on the go, however, this isn’t a bad choice.

7/10

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