Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mommy Review: Disney's Epic Mickey

I recently talked about spending time with my family playing video games, so I thought that a review might be helpful.  I am not a video gaming expert - not by far!  This review is from a mom to other moms.

Summary of Epic Mickey (for the Wii):
Mickey Mouse has to return through the mirror to where the Sorcerer has created a special land for lost and forgotten characters to repair the damage that he (Mickey) created by spilling paint, thinner and magic on it.  Mickey has to use his paint brush to fill in things with paint, thin out others, and battle "blots" and other creatures that he had accidently set loose on this world populated with characters like Oswald the Happy Rabbit.

Family Pros:
It is very engaging and everyone seems to enjoying watching what happens next.  I loved that you can repair this land and help creatures.  Another cool thing is that it is a mock Disneyland.  Each of the lands in Disneyland are represented here with a slight name change - Tomorrowland becomes Tomorrow City, Main Street is Mean Street,  etc.  Rides are changed as well - Space Voyage, instead of Space Mountain.  While exploring each area, you can go up to a character and it will ask for your help (ie there is a pirate that wants helping getting a gift for his love interest. You have to ask her what she likes and then find them and get them back to the pirate. In this case, you have to go to multiple lands to find the 3 things and then only offer the right one to the pirate.)  In a time when so many video games are all about shooting and killing, I like that in this game you stop the bad characters by thinning them or best is to cover them in paint and making them your friend and helper.  They get little blue Mickey heads over their head like hearts and they will help you stop other bad guys.  My entire family can play this game, too, although there are some parts that are difficult (like the battling parts) and we hand the remote to the more experienced players.  There are a ton of parts though that younger members can just paint and thin to their hearts content, exploring an area.  The more you explore each area, the more that you can discover hidden items like e-tickets, pins, film reels and extra content.  The controls are fairly easy to do (move with nunchuck, paint with B, jump with A, and thin with Z.  You can change you view with the directional pad and see the map and quest list by pressing 2.  Later in the game - and + are used as well.)  Another cool element is that when you travel from one land to another, you do via an old film reel of a Disney cartoon (Steamboat Willy, Clock Cleaners, and even some Oswald ones).

Family Cons:
It is a 1 player game, so all the rest of your family will have to sit and wait for their turn.  It is also a very dark game, meaning some of the screens are very hard to see.  Periodically, you end up in a spot for some reason that you can't see what's happening, you view shifts radically away from what you were looking at or it won't let you look at something.  Because the "bad guys" are made from the blot (a dark blob of paint and thinner), there are some area that are a little scary.  Not so bad that my kids left the room, but they really worried for poor Mickey.  There is no talking in this world, so all dialog has to be read.  If you have younger pre-readers, it has to read to them.  Most of these, you can take your time reading, but some of it goes really fast and even I had trouble reading it fast enough.  There a ton of side quests that it seems you can never complete.  It keeps track of them for you (I hated seeing "failed" under a quest).  They published a guide to help out.

All in all, it is a great family game, but probably best for the 10+ crowd.  We did not buy the guide and are almost to the finally battle, but I could see use getting the guide and replaying to find what we missed the first time.  It keeps you interest enough that you want to go back time and again.  I give the game a B+.

Good luck on your gaming,

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