A lesson in visual style.
Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion Got Right
- + Amazing Visuals
- + Fun side-scrolling platforming
- + Plenty of Disney references
- + The slow pace works well
Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion Got Wrong
- - Very short
- - Painting/thinning should have been better
- - Easier to just ignore thinning objects
Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion is a game built upon nostalgia. It looks like an early ‘90s SNES platformer and it plays like one, save for some poking around on the 3DS’s touchscreen. From that mindset, it’s a solid platformer that meets expectations. However, nostalgia can only carry success so far.
In the shoes of the world’s most famous Mouse, you’re tasked with rescuing an ensemble of Disney greats including Minnie, Peter Pan and Goofy -- just to name a few. Power of Illusion is a side-scrolling platformer that reminds us of a simpler time. At its best, you’ll believe you’re back in the ‘90s when games had one simple objective -- run from A to B.
As the spiritual successor to the 16-bit Castle of Illusion, Power of Illusion follows a similar leisurely pace in contrast to the speed-focused Mario and Sonic games of the same era. You’re encouraged to appraise the situation, learning enemy movements and contriving a rounded plan of attack before moving forward.
Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion is a game built upon nostalgia. It looks like an early ‘90s SNES platformer and it plays like one.
It’s accentuated by the game’s focused 3DS abilities. Armed with his trusty paintbrush that can fill in and thin the environment, the bottom screen is used to show objects that can be interacted with that mightn’t be obvious, or even visible at all, in the thick of the action on the main screen. Every time I got stuck, it wasn’t the result of a frustratingly ingenious puzzle, but rather incompetence on my behalf by forgetting to keep half an eye on the lower screen.
Aside from some colouring in on the touch screen, Power of Illusion is an organic action platformer. You’ll be jumping on enemies, hitting them with spin-attacks and firing at them at range whilst navigating spikes and timing jumps onto moving platforms. It’s nothing that you haven’t seen before, but that’s the point: it’s a throwback to platformers of yesteryear, albeit on an easier scale to conform to modern expectations.
The controls are intuitive and perform as you would expect with the range of powers Mickey has at his disposal. The slower pace makes timing jumps all the more important, and the reaction times of the controls won’t let you down.
However, the painting mechanics become tedious far too soon. It’s playfully entertaining in theory, but half the time you’re just painting the outlines of letter A’s and B’s instead of the actual object you’re creating, which doesn’t make much sense.
I understand a Mickey game is trying to appeal to younger children who struggle with the concept of colouring in within the lines (we’ve all been there), but I can’t help but feel they would have loved painting something remotely reminiscent of the actual designs and then seeming them spring to life in the game, rather than an irksome letter.
Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion’s biggest failing is its surprisingly short length. The game boasts just three worlds, each comprising around four levels for a total of eleven and one boss each. I finished it over the course of a few train trips, and it could easily be completed in one committed afternoon. For the value conscious gamer, that could pose a problem.
While it’s too short, the visuals alone are reason enough for early ‘90s gamers to engross themselves in classic Mickey. The aesthetics are amazing and a strong case in favour of more 2D gaming with the power of modern technology. It employs a beautiful 2D art-style that harks back to the same designs used in classic Disney productions. Turning 3D on doesn’t add much to the experience, and I’m glad to say that. The 3DS doesn’t need to force 3D as a key feature just because it can.
The Final Verdict
Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion
is an enjoyable side-scrolling platformer with an amazing visual style that harks back to the 16-bit era. The platforming gameplay is solid, but the paintbrush features aren’t as deep as they should have been for such an important feature. While it’s too short, Power of Illusion
is still an enjoyable experience and will put a bright smile on any Disney fan’s face.
By Ben Salter