Earlier this week I got a chance to sit down with a brief demo of Disney Interactive’s Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion
for the Nintendo 3DS. The game is a self-contained adventure launching alongside Epic Mickey 2 on the home consoles this Holiday season. The game is being touted as the spiritual successor to the classic Illusion series which called Sega’s 8- and 16-bit consoles home; after spending a short time with the game, it is easy to see why it has garnered that label.
The picks up directly after the events of Epic Mickey, sending Mickey back to the Wasteland to rescue a large cast of classic Disney Toons. The game features a classic visual style akin to classic 16-bit platformers but uses the system’s 3D capabilities to produce a layered effect. The characters and the backgrounds appear to existing two different planes, almost as if it is made from cut outs like the early South Park episodes. Both the gameplay and the cut scenes featured throughout utilize this style.
In addition to looking like the classic series it pays homage too, the game plays a lot like it as well. Power of Illusion isn’t as fast paced as you would expect (compared to today’s platformers); the game is slow and methodical, which may turn some people off. Fans of the original however will feel right at home. Gameplay is focused on classic platforming elements such as avoiding environmental hazards and enemies; you can take out some of your enemies with the classic, Mickey-butt-stomp or tap into some new abilities.
This is Epic Mickey after all, and among the new tools to enjoy is the magical paintbrush. The brush gets put to good use on the 3DS’ touch screen. Occasionally, players will come to an area of the stage that seems like a dead end; this could be a door that can’t be opened or perhaps a chasm that is too large to cross. Referencing the game’s mini-map, which appears on the bottom screen of the 3DS, you occasionally find visual clues that will indicate when the magical brush (once obtained) can and should be used. At this point, you can enter the game’s “draw” mode which will challenge players to trace Disney-themed shapes in a certain time limit; completing the challenge will spawn a bridge over that impeding chasm or unlock that seemingly impassable door.
I have to be honest, my time with the game was VERY brief. However, what I saw was great and it reminded me of everything that I loved in the classic series. Power of Illusion is a great combination of both homage to a classic series and application of modern elements in the platforming genre. Epic Disney: Power of Illusion will b e available on November 18, 2012.