When you're not traipsing from one point to the next, there is combat to take part in, but this has issues as well. You can perform a spin attack to stun your ink-blob foes, but you need to use your brush to finish the job. Mickey has the choice to either convert enemies to his side by spraying them with paint or dissolve them with thinner, but this option isn't as simple as it sounds. Certain enemies cannot be converted at all, which removes any tactical element. But even if you just use thinner all the time, combat still isn't any fun. You have to spray an enemy for quite a while before you defeat it, which is not only tedious, but its downright annoying when a bunch of enemies are chasing you down and you need to fight them all at once. Battles consist of you running around and spraying anything that moves while you desperately try to get the camera to focus on what you want.
6284633At least the 2D sections look neat.None
The decision of how to deal with enemies is a choice that has an impact on how the story pans out. Mickey can either be an upstanding mouse who tries to save the inhabitants of Wasteland, or a mean-spirited rodent who uses thinner to make everything disappear permanently. It's in the boss fights that this concept is pushed to the forefront. Depending on how you finish the job, you can gain a valuable ally or banish your foe into the ether. Although the binary decision making is a concept that stays on the backburner most of the time because it doesn't have a big impact during the majority of your adventure, it still makes battles a bit more unpredictable than they would have been otherwise. Your face off against Captain Hook is particularly noteworthy, and it's moments such as these that make you appreciate the care that went into bringing the lore of Disney to life.
But the little touches here and there are not enough to lift Epic Mickey up to a respectable level. Problems layer on top of problems, creating a suffocating atmosphere that makes it hard to see the good stuff that lies ahead of you. The puzzles that crop up are just as maddening as the other elements that come before them. During one such conundrum, you have to align paintings in a proper order. But the directions are so vague that you'll spend minutes wandering around, trying to figure out what you need to do before you can even begin to work out the solution. And that's one of the biggest problems that crops up all throughout this adventure: lack of direction. You always feel slightly lost in Epic Mickey because the game does such a poor job of explaining where you need to go next. Once you enter a new area, you wander around until you happen upon the solution to whatever was halting your progress. For instance, in the aforementioned pirate love quest, you need to collect flowers. But they are only a few pixels wide, and you have no idea where they are hidden within the city you're wandering through. Just about every quest vaguely points you a direction and expects you to know what you to do and it's a serious pain figuring out what the game expects from you.
Monsters get angry when you spray paint in their mouth.
Epic Mickey has so many issues that once you overcome one thing there are a half dozen more problems beating you down. Imprecise controls and boring objectives make progress a chore, and a troublesome camera ensures you won't even be able to see where you need to go a lot of the time. It's a shame the gameplay is so frustrating in Epic Mickey because the story and visuals do give you a solid incentive to play. But it's just not worth the effort. Every gameplay scenario is fraught with problems, and there are very few good moments to look forward to after enduring all the lousy parts. Epic Mickey shows that even a good implementation of a cherished license can't overcome an abundance of fundamental design flaws.