Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two (PS3)

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Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two is a videogame that will take you on a magical journey into Wasteland, it will invoke long-forgotten memories from your past of early mornings spent watching cartoons and allow you to explore a beautifully created world with the unbridled enthusiasm of a child while you listen to a masterfully created soundtrack.

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Mickey Mouse returns to Wasteland in The Power of Two, teaming up with Oswald the Lucky Rabbit to save this land of forgotten Disney history from destruction. Mickey has his magical paint brush in hand, which he can use to paint (create) or thin (destroy) the broken-down attractions and enemies in Wasteland to discover more of the world and solve puzzles to progress on this voyage. Oswald is armed with a remote control that allows him to command electricity, reprogram mechanical devices and shock enemies to help the two heroes to overcome the obstacles that lie in their path.

The Power of Two was created by Warren Spector and Disney Interactive’s Junction Point game development studio. It’s an original story co-written by comic book writer Marv Wolfman, with all in-game characters being voiced by the official voice actors of those characters. This is the first time ever that we’ll hear the voice of Oswald, who was Walt Disney’s first cartoon creation. The heritage of Disney has been respectfully treated, and homage paid to one of the most magical places that I’ve ever had the fortune of visiting.

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I’m speaking of course about Disneyland. If you’ve ever visited this kingdom where bushes are cut into the shape of those famous two ears, picture spots dot the winding paths lined with brightly coloured flowers, and the day is ended with a musical parade down main street, you’ll know firsthand about the magic of which I speak. It goes without saying that Disneyland is a place where children and adults alike will both be transported into another world of balloons, badges, toons and pins, likewise The Power of Two will captivate the imagination and, eventually the heart, of anyone who picks up the controller and steps into this virtual land.

The different levels within Wasteland offer various quests to the player, the more you explore and chat to the characters wandering through the environments the more quests you will collect and the more intrigued and immersed you will become in the world. Whether you’re fixing a broken air-conditioner, searching for Donald Duck, repairing an old ride, or getting a train to run on time, each quest is varied and interesting. Each level is vastly different too, bringing variety to gameplay with characters, enemies, puzzles and quests that are as diverse as the themed areas, ranging from Wild West to pirate inspired levels.

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The 2D platforming levels are based on classic Disney animated films and shorts, and offer a welcome change of pace. The different sketch abilities you acquire during the game, such as being able to slow time down and cause objects to float, also present different ways in which you can solve puzzles and interact with the world. The ink wells which enable Mickey to become invisible add even further to this depth, and create the opportunity for different puzzles and variety in gameplay. There are even more sketches and abilities that you can look forward to, but I’ll leave you to discover these on your own.

Mickey can create new pathways and solve puzzles using his paint brush, you can paint a platform in order to access a new area or thin a fence to reach a new treasure or overcome an obstacle. This creates opportunities to explore the surroundings, and you’ll want to check every nook and cranny to discover collectibles such as pins and reels, gather currencies and build your collection of costumes. You’ll be rewarded for exploring and chatting to the different toons, not only will you receive unique pins and uncover more of the history of the world, but you’ll also discover more quests and be able to take more photos at designated picture spots to add to your album.

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This kind of exploration reminded me a little of Animal Crossing, where the characters are just milling around, going about their daily activities, but happy to stop and chat for a few minutes. The way in which the toons sway in time to the music is, to my mind, reminiscent of New Super Mario Bros. It is as if you have been transported into the Disneyland park and are taking a stroll around.

As the title suggests, the game a features drop-in, drop-out two player co-operative mode that will allow you to enjoy the adventure together with a friend. Unfortunately it’s split-screen and this does take away a little from the experience. Working together you’ll be able to do things that neither one can do alone (for example, Oswald can fly using his ears and give Mickey a lift to higher areas), but if you’re playing alone you still control both characters so you won’t be missing out.

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The camera behaves itself for the most part, yet when it doesn’t it can be frustrating and make it difficult to see. The control system is likewise afflicted, and if you’re controlling both characters it sometimes can be challenging to get the second character to do what you want him to do. This becomes even more maddening when you add the PlayStation Move controller to the mix. The Move is less intuitive than you would have hoped for, but fortunately does get easier to use as you spend more time with it.

As I gaze at Mickey Mouse sitting on my desk, I’m certainly left longing to visit Disneyland again, but also inspired to jump back into Epic Mickey 2 again where Mickey and Oswald await me to continue our journey of discovery in Wasteland right now. Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two is an imaginative way to recreate the magic of Disneyland, and allow people from all over the world to experience the magic, right in their own homes. It’s a polished and charming creation that promises to take you on a magical journey regardless of your age, giving you the opportunity to rekindle the Disney enchantment, or embrace it for the first time.

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