I will not mince words here. Epic Mickey is one of the best things, if not THE best thing I have seen thus far at E3. When the title was first announced a while back, many people were skeptical. The name sounded a little grand and the theme seemed rather dark for the world's favorite mouse. But Warren Spector, quite the Disney-phile himself, has done a spectacular job in creating what looks to be one of the most wonderfully fun and artistic games this year.
Epic Mickey's storyline is a little complicated but here it is in a nutshell. Mickey finds himself transported to an alternate world called the Cartoon Wasteland which is made up of tons of forgotten properties and characters from Disney's 80 year history . The whole place is lorded over by the Phantom Blot who seized control from Mickey's long forgotten half-brother, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Using a combination of paint and paint thinner, Mickey must save the wasteland from the Blots and simultaneously regain Oswald's trust.
While this all may sound a bit juvenile, the game is anything but. Part platformer, part action game, Epic Mickey explores parts of Disney history that many people outside of hardcore Disney-ites have forgotten about. The atmosphere is decidedly dark and Mickey himself can either be a Scrapper or a Savior depending on how you play the game.
Your main weapons are paint and paint thinner. Paint can change the way things look, making the atmosphere brighter and adding landscape elements, while thinner can erase things all together or reveal hidden items. The choices you make in the way you use these items can affect everything from NPC reactions to you to the final outcome of the game. The art style of the game is stunning and evokes many Disney films old and new. Especially amazing were some 2D cutscenes done in the style of the old Disney Little Golden Books and concept art. A beautiful watercolor sponged effect that you can see in action in the gallery below.
Warren Spector has mined deep into the Disney archives to pull out some amazing things, not the least of which are the in between level films that are actually 2D platforming levels based on old Mickey Mouse cartoons such as Steamboat Willie. These levels are among some of the cleverest of the game. Look for obscure characters and even Disney theme park areas in the game as you play. It promises to be a treasure trove for those paying close attention.
Once released, Epic Mickey is going to be incredible game that will pull in an adult audience as well as kids. Given the game's Wii exclusivity, the game will be sure to find a large chunk of it's target audience. No release date has been set yet, but you can be sure we'll be waiting with bated breath until we hear. And when we hear, you'll be the first to know. Well, besides us that is.