Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion Review

Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion is a great platformer with inventive level design and a colourful cast of classic Disney characters.

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Don't let the cutesy good looks and eclectic collection of Disney characters fool you: Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion is a ruthless platformer. Like the classic Castle of Illusion and World of Illusion games it's inspired by, there's little in the way of hand-holding as you're pushed through its smart, well-designed levels and asked to save the world with little more than a stomp and a paintbrush. And while the tight platforming is a wonderful thing, it's Power of Illusion's role-playing elements, such as side quests, shops, and a leveling system (albeit, a basic one), that make it such a rich experience.

It helps that there's a story tying the whole thing together, which draws from both the older games and Mickey's latest outings in the Epic Mickey series. Oswald once again summons Mickey to the Wasteland--a sort of limbo for forgotten cartoon characters--except this time he needs Mickey's help. The evil witch Mizrabel's Castle of Illusion has suddenly appeared, and cartoon characters across the Wasteland are disappearing fast. It's up to you to enter the castle, search its rooms, find the missing toons, and take down Mizrabel once and for all.

To do so, you have a number of special abilities at your disposal. You can spin to take down enemies, fire blobs of paint and thinner at them, or bounce off their heads. It's the latter that makes the platforming so satisfying, thanks to tight controls and a neat mechanic that rewards you for riskier attacks. If you leave your bounce attack to the very last second--just before you come into contact with an enemy--you gain a super-bounce, which leads to more item drops and sends you skyrocketing to access secret or difficult-to-reach areas.

Each room in the castle is based on a classic Disney franchise such as Peter Pan, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, and Aladdin. There's a great attention to detail at play that makes levels not only a joy to look at, but a joy to play. The vast ships of the Peter Pan levels give you plenty of room to jump around, while cannons and barrel-rolling henchmen provide obstacles for you to duck and weave your way through.

The Little Mermaid levels are more constrained, with tight, jellyfish-filled tunnels and rows of spikes requiring precise movements to make it through safely. While Mickey has unlimited lives and can take multiple hits before his health bar is depleted, getting killed during a level sends you straight back to the beginning. That can be frustrating, particularly during some of the extremely challenging levels in the latter half of the game, but the sweetness of the platforming inspires you to give it just one more go.

Aside from traditional platforming obstacles such as spikes, fireballs, and moving platforms, Power of Illusion also makes use of the touch screen in some inventive ways. It shows an outline of the platforms on the level, as well as objects you can interact with. Some, like cannons that fire you into the air, can be drawn in by following a specific outline, giving you access to new areas. Or you can remove obstacles like blocks by using thinner. The puzzles aren't overly taxing, but the fact that you have to stop what you're doing and peer down at the touch screen to solve them means they sometimes interfere with the smooth of flow of the platforming. There are bonuses for solving them, though, with a neat reward system giving you bonus paint, thinner, and a temporary speed boost for accurate drawing or erasing.

Drawing also plays a key part in rescuing Disney's finest. Tucked into hard-to-reach areas are select Disney characters, who are often hidden behind walls of spikes, enemies, or blocks that you must erase. Some characters have to be drawn into the game, many of whom go on to give you a helping hand throughout the level by killing enemies or revealing stashes of health. Stumbling upon a young Simba or drawing in a lost Ariel always raises a smile, thanks to some neat dialogue and the colorful animation. Even finding bad guys like Captain Hook and Jafar is a pleasure, and the ensuing boss fights mix multiple drawing and platforming elements for some tense, strategic fights.

Succeed in finding lost toons, and your newfound friends are sent to The Fortress, a sanctuary at the edge of the castle. There you can speak to any characters you've rescued, who are located in their own themed rooms, which match the films they were featured in. Those rooms can be upgraded by completing side quests, such as finding objects hidden in levels you might have already visited, or by completing simple fetch quests by speaking to other characters within the fortress, and these actions lead to even more side quests and rewards. These aren't complex missions, but they encourage you to revisit past areas and explore hidden rooms.

Some characters, such as Scrooge McDuck, even set up shops within The Fortress. There you can buy upgrades for Mickey using money you've gathered from fallen enemies. There are boosts that make paint last longer, cause more damage, and give Mickey extra health. You can also equip sketches to slots that let you draw in characters using your supply of paint. Depending on which sketch you choose, a character might wipe out all the enemies onscreen or give your jumps an extra boost. It's a simple form of character progression, but it works wonderfully with the classic platforming action and gives you a real advantage during harder sections of the game.

And boy are there some hard sections. This is not a fast-paced platformer in the vein of Super Meat Boy and the like, but that doesn't make it any less of a challenge. Trying to navigate your way past enemies such as fast-moving sharks, unruly henchmen that throw watermelons, and fire-breathing specters, all while being surrounded by spikes and chasms, is challenging--even more so in the underwater levels where Mickey takes on a much more floaty feel. There are points where you might get angry, perhaps even a tiny bit frustrated, but the platforming is such an enjoyable experience, and the levels are so visually inviting, that you power on regardless.

Power of Illusion comes together brilliantly; the modern additions to the classic action are intelligent ones that invite you to explore, to replay, and to enjoy every last bit of this great platformer. And it helps to have some of the best, most well-known Disney characters around too. Who doesn't want to help out an angry Donald Duck, or rescue princesses, or get three wishes from Genie himself? Unlike its latest console cousins, Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion is an unqualified success--a deep, challenging, and thoroughly enjoyable platformer that's the best thing to happen to Mickey in years.

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The Good
Tight platforming feel
Great, challenging level design
Colourful visuals that are full of charm
Lots of classic Disney characters to meet
RPG elements provide lots of extra content
The Bad
Later levels might be too challenging for some
8
Great
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Dschadir
Dschadir

Up till now I didn't even bother checking it out as the console versions got such bad reviews. But then I read something about Castle of Illusion and I knew I'm so gonna get this game. Those early nineties Disney platformers were great. To me this is simply Castle of Illusion 4 (Game Gear had three Illusion titles preceding thise one). 

singhellotaku
singhellotaku

Even game informer gave this a poor review and they love everything, what are you on the take?

Quadster
Quadster

I personally can't wait to get this game, Difficulty isn't gonna scare me away especially after playing games like Super Meat Boy and Ninja Gaiden (NES and Xbox 360 games), and i quite liked the MegaDrive Games, Castle and World of Illusion, oh and Mickey's Magical Quest on the SNES :)

PyreofKoL
PyreofKoL

They had me at "Illusion". I used to beat the Illusion games on my Genesis for fun back in the day, and playing the latter games co-op with my brothers was fantastic. This game hasn't disappointed.

herminio360
herminio360

Ironically, the supplement is better than the original game

BloodMist
BloodMist

I tried out the demo and I have to say it seems like an 8 game to me.A great throwback to not only the classic Mickey Mouse games, but also to the days when Disney didn't completely suck, what with the boatloads of classic characters all over the place that modern Disney almost pretends were never created.It will definitely be worth a purchase when the price drops a little.

popeyfolger
popeyfolger

just  looking at the screen shots reminds me of my child hood and the glory days of games im going to pick this game up

toyo75
toyo75

The game is reminiscent of the glory days of Sega Genesis/Mega Drive and Super Nintendo platforming games. Castle of Illusion, World of Illusions, and Mickey's Magical Quest were inspirations for this game.

megatronx2
megatronx2

The Bad - Later levels might be too challenging for some.

 

C'mon , really? I think that should be a plus!

Rod90
Rod90

Guys, please play the demo first. The game is terrible, repetitive, boring, slow and short.

grbolivar
grbolivar

I want this game like RIGHT NOW, please.

advocacy
advocacy

GameSpot is being generous with its reviews today.  Kingdom Hearts is the better adventure/platformer though, and it's certainly lengthier and has more replay value.

kishen95
kishen95

This looks very similar to the old Mickey platformers on SNES, oh nostalgia, if only this were ported to vita or something.

JustPlainLucas
JustPlainLucas

You know what's sad?  My mom ended up buying this game before I did.  I should have got this instead of Power of Two.  >.<

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

Recently, I've been getting slightly confused by Gamespot's review scores. They don't seem to correlate with the consensus. I'll take on board what they're saying but maybe with a pinch of salt.

Hayasmez
Hayasmez

"Later levels might be too challenging for some."

I'm sorry, but after reading this and your all stars review, it sounds like you just want your games to be cakewalk.

hadlee73
hadlee73

Mark didn't appear to mark it down for the short length of the game. Either that means he didn't finish it, or it means he actually spent some time trying to discover everything and doing the optional quests (which I believe lengthens the game a goodly amount) rather than just rushing through it.

mav_destroyer
mav_destroyer

"Later levels might be too challenging for some."

That is NOT a bad thing.

 

Still it's good to hear that this is a more solid game than Epic Mickey 2 on the Wii.

thom_maytees
thom_maytees

This is a surprising review as Gametrailers gave it a lower score.

SecularSage
SecularSage

Isn't this game supposed to be like two hours long? To me, that seems like a major drawback for a non-budget retail title, no matter how pretty it is.

homegirl2180
homegirl2180

I'm honestly quite surprised with this score. GameSpot's been quite tough on games lately.

Nexozable
Nexozable

That moment when the portable game is better than the AAA title.

Araknie
Araknie

Copy paste "The Bad Later levels might be too challenging for some." Too bad for them! XD

Fayt1986
Fayt1986

i hear its very very very very short....

MrDouglas
MrDouglas

 @megatronx2my thoughts exactly, and one reason I might actually decide to pick this one up, good to have some challenging gameplay in a new game for once :)

 

grbolivar
grbolivar

 @Hayasmez Game difficulty is subjective, but some objetive reference may still be useful.

JustPlainLucas
JustPlainLucas

 @mav_destroyer Notice how it's the only bad thing he listed.  Yeah, it might seem reaching, but some gamers just aren't as good as others, so for less skilled gamers, really hard levels are deterrents that keep them from finishing the game, which is a bad thing.

bgghgubcjhgknjk
bgghgubcjhgknjk

 @Gelugon_baat  @Hayasmez yeah I played all stars on max difficulty with raiden, I played it once in the shop and once for the open beta before and I beat the story mode only losing once and I found it easy, and I chained together my combos really well, not the game's fault they didn't try hard enough to get good at all before they made the review

mav_destroyer
mav_destroyer

 @JustPlainLucas Gamespot has a 'good' emblem for challenging games and a 'bad' emblem if a game is too easy. Being challenging or difficult is not a bad point in a game, however if it's just frustrating and full of cheap deaths then that's another story.

 

Yeah, difficult games aren't for everyone, but if difficulty was a bad factor in games then titles like Demons' Souls would be flops going by that logic.

Disney Epic Mickey: The Power of Illusion

  • 3DS
Disney Epic Mickey: The Power of Illusion is a game for the Nintendo 3DS that was inspired by the classic Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse.
ESRB
Everyone
All Platforms
Mild Cartoon Violence
Average User Score See all 28 Player Reviews
6.4
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