Mickey Mouse is an iconic example of childhood ingenuity, representing a whimsical look at innocent play. Junction Point Studios’ 2010 release of Epic Mickey, despite some technical nuisances, managed to capture a slightly darker version of Mickey’s world that introduced a sense of drama to something known for catering to children.
In Epic Mickey: Power of Two, we see more of the same but with the added bonus of refined mechanics.
At this past New York Comic Con, I got my hands on a playable demo of the game with the added benefit of creator Warren Spector’s commentary guiding me through his team’s artistic direction.
And by artistic direction, I mean that the game was nearly indistinguishable from its concept art. The colors and the atmosphere were like watching a moving painting, which is fitting for a game like this. The level I played through was an underground cavern, with paint pouring over the carved-out heads of the seven dwarves. Dismal and mechanical, the cave still felt alive while I was playing.
The most distinguishable aspect of this game was the co-op multiplayer. Oswald the Lucky Rabbit joins Mickey on his new adventure, and he does so in the most seamless way imaginable. I was worried that there would be lengthy procedures whenever I wanted to play with a friend. On the contrary, the transition was instantaneous, with no lag between dropping in and dropping out of co-op. With the simple press of the start button, I could seriously stop or start playing at any time I chose, with little-to-no disruption of the game.
I played through the level with Editor Patrick Kulikowski, painting and electrocuting our way through the solutions. The camera was easy to control, and different options for aiming the paint and the electricity were available as well. No frustrating camera controls or quirky platforming: this was control at its simplest and most intuitive.
In terms of extra goodies, there are going to be loads of new costumes, each with unique characteristics that endow Mickey and Oswald with new powers. And as a special bonus, Warren Spector told us of the new consequences of play style. Depending on how you play through the game, different power-ups are made available that reflect your personal playstyle.
It will definitely be interesting to see the conflict of ideals that may arise between two players in this game, especially considering its focus on player choice. With a launch date of November 18 for Mac/PC, PS3, Wii, Wii U and Xbox 360, we won’t have to wait too long until we see the musical fruits of labor.
The following is a clip of our time with the game. Take a look and try not to feel too jealous.