Epic Mickey 2 is a sequel of the first game (Epic Mickey) and there are a few changes from the original. The mad doctor Mickey defeated in the last game is back and wants to make amends with Mickey, Oswald and the Wasteland. The gameplay in Epic Mickey 2 closely resembles the gameplay of the first game, one of the biggest differences is that Oswald can now be controlled by the AI or a local second player in order to help Mickey (first player) through challenges. Oswald also uses the remote control that appeared in the first that can electrify things, stun enemies and operate control panels. Oswald also has many other abilities, such as flying with his ears, detaching his feet, and so on. There are also some special abilities that can only be used when Mickey and Oswald are working together. Traveling through projector screens also remains and Mickey also traveled through magical mirrors during the beginning before he returns to Wasteland.
The platformer requires a lot of cooperation between Mickey and Oswald. If you have a friend rocking some couch co-op with you it’s not so bad but with the AI in control everything seems to fall apart. Many of the puzzles and combat require the two to work together and with Oswald the AI controlled rabbit running into walls and getting stuck on various pieces of the environment, the tasks become a bit more difficult. He also seems prone to just disappearing altogether which is particularly frustrating when you encounter enemies that can only be taken out using his stun ability. Even the jump and hover ability is so finicky and irritating that it forces you to avoid certain paths. Most of the time I found myself just taking the route that was possible to navigate without being incredibly frustrated than the one I necessarily wanted to, it makes for a really unsatisfying experience.
Unfortunately this pretty much sums up the entire game. The original Epic Mickey was a lengthy go but the story in 2 is a bit on the short side. The optional side quests and challenges give players a few more hours and activities to sink their teeth in to but don’t really add much depth to the overall game, which can completed in a mere 4 or so hours compared to 12+ spent in the original. The optional gameplay would be more appealing if the world of Wasteland wasn’t such a chore to navigate in the first place and would add a lot more replay value to the game. The lack of minimap and complex level layouts really discouraged me from continuing the grind through the optional gameplay. On the plus side the jittery camera of the first game has been adjusted nicely and requires little to no further adjustment by the player. But it’s not quite enough to sell a series on.
The problem with Epic Mickey 2 is we don’t really know who it’s for. At first glance it appears to be a kiddy game through and through but on the other hand it’s so frustrating and convoluted that the attention span of a child can’t combat it (let alone adults). One of the downsides of the first game was it was a Wii exclusive but even now with the Wasteland in full HD where the artwork can be appreciated, it still feels dull and stale. After a few decent puzzles and the lovely artwork, the pleasantries end and you’re left with a disappointing and unfulfilling experience. All is not lost however, as I truly believe the Epic Mickey series has a boat load of potential. Fans of the franchise will likely enjoy the addition of high-def graphics and vibrant colours, but it’s just not a nod for me.
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