Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion

Mickey Mouse returns to a world of illusion on the 3DS
SeriousGamer - Staff Reviewer

Content at a glance:

Mild Cartoon Violence: Mild violence against non-human and human-like characters, player bounces on heads and attacks with paint and thinner.

Fantasy Magic: Main antagonist is a witch, certain characters use or reference magic, player's paintbrush could be magical.

Scantily Clad Females: Two female characters wear skimpy tops.

We all look back on some fond memories, and I imagine that includes fond gaming memories too. We can’t help but feel a bit nostalgic when we think of the games we used to play on the old systems we had, or watching a relative try their best to play. Well, I don’t know if everyone does, but I know I do. And such was my feeling when I first heard about Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion.

I recall I never finished the first Epic Mickey, although I remember it was fun, despite the remaking of Disney’s famous mascot’s image. I wasn’t sure if I would get back into the series or not, but very recently I got back into it with the 3DS title. But what makes this one so nostalgic? Well, read on and see.

Plot

This story begins a long time ago (no, I am not trying to spoof the recent LucasArts purchase) with the words, ‘Once upon a mouse.” In 1990, Mickey Mouse set out on the Genesis title, Castle of Illusion to save Minnie Mouse from the clutches of an evil witch named Mizrabel. He entered her castle, fought his way through worlds of fantasy and danger, and finally came face-to-face with Mizrabel herself. He apparently got her to see the error of her ways because she gave Minnie back, and even gave them a ride home. So, like any fairy tale, they all lived happily ever after…yeah right.

This story begins much the same way. Once upon a mouse, Mickey was just going about his usual business, when something really strange happens. Oswald the Lucky Rabbit appears right in Mickey’s TV set, asking him to return to Wasteland, the land of forgotten cartoon characters. He tells him that a strange floating castle has appeared, and worse that Minnie Mouse is inside it. Naturally, Mickey sets off right away, but not before grabbing his magic brush. He greets Oswald at the castle gates, before both of them are shut inside. He soon meets a certain little cricket, Jiminy Cricket, who tells him what’s going on. I guess serving as the moral center for a certain puppet didn’t quite work out for the little guy.

Turns out, no one has bothered to remember Mizrabel or her Castle of Illusion since Mickey faced her over two decades ago. As a result, both she and the castle have now arrived in Wasteland. No one really likes to be forgotten, but Mizrabel takes it like a 4-year old at Disneyland (let’s face it, most villians act like brats). So, now Mickey must brave the dangers of the castle once again, and foil Mizrabel’s plans to return to the Cartoon World using kidnapped cartoon characters. The quest sounds, well, epic.

Gameplay

Power of Illusion could best be described as a platform game, at least on a whole. You journey through the Castle of Illusion bouncing on enemies and overcoming hazards. While you explore, you’ll want to keep your eyes open for the Disney characters Mizrabel kidnapped. As you find more kidnapped characters, more of the castle opens up. Saved characters return to the Fortress, a safe location from Mizrabel’s forces. While there, you can upgrade rooms, take quests, and buy supplies once you get the store, so they also throw in a bit of RPG.

Since this is a DS game, the touch screen and stylus have their bits of action too, thanks to the return of the paint/thinner system from Epic Mickey. At certain points, you’ll see symbols on the bottom screen and let you know when you need to bring out that trusty brush. You’ll trace objects with paint to create those objects to help Mickey along, like cannons or bridges. You’ll also use thinner to remove obstacles.

Offensive Content

Mild Cartoon Violence

Castle of Illusion was hardly a violent game, and Power of Illusion follows in its predecessor’s virtual footsteps. Mickey can bounce on enemies. With  his brush, he can also launch blobs of paint and thinner or draw sketches that can aid him, one of which is a crushing weight. Enemies will merely fall off the screen when struck. Some enemies carry weapons, and Mickey can also fall victim to hazards, but he only flashes and loses a heart. If he loses all his hearts, he simply falls off the screen.

Fantasy Magic

As you’ve noticed, this game features quite a bit of magic, but it seems very much the familar Disney brand of it. Mizrabel is referred to as a witch many times, and we see her early on changing into various Disney villians. Her main power seems to be creating illusions, hence the name of her castle. Mizrabel also employs characters who use magic, case in point Jafar, the sorcerer from Aladdin. We see him turn into a giant snake.

Mickey also uses a paintbrush that could be described as magical. He uses paint and thinner to both create items and remove obstacles. But seeing as this is a cartoon-based game, the magical qualities of the paintbrush could also be seen as perfectly natural.

We also spot Disney’s version of Hades, the Greek god of the Underworld. We only see him briefly and only once. He appears only as one of the forms Mizrabel assumes when we first meet her.

*****************Spolier Alert***********************

We hear this fairly early, but Mizrabel’s plot involves draining the heart energy of the captured characters, called by Oswald as the stuff that gives you a heart. It has a rather ominous tone, and we can assume that she intends to do this through magic.

*****************Spoliers End***********************

Scantily-Clad Females

We get a glimpse of Aladdin’s main squeeze, Princess Jasmine, and if you’ve ever seen the movie or played any of the Kingdom Hearts games, you’ll know she wears something of a skimpy top. The same goes for Ariel, the Little Mermaid if you don’t know.

Positive Content

Mickey is an all-around good guy in this game. When he hears that Minnie Mouse is in trouble, he wastes no time in running to her rescue. He’s also willing to help in not only big ways by saving the cartoon characters from Mizrabel, but in small ways by helping them out. It goes to show you that a hero can come from just the little things. I’d say that’s a rather noble, and also a rather Christian idea. Not only that, Mickey not only helps hero characters, but also those with less-heoric tendencies. After defeating them, Mickey opens his doors to the Disney villians to keep them safe from Mizrabel. Talk about an example in loving your enemies. Granted, we get the idea that Mickey doesn’t entirely trust them, but the fact that he’s willing to protect even them is quite admirable.

Conclusion

Power of Illusion was literally my first 3DS title, and I have to say I was impressed by what I saw. The 3D effect was notable, but I mostly played with it off. I was also really impressed at the nods to a game I remember well. The discerning parent and Christian gamer would also be impressed.

Granted, Disney has always been something of a heated topic in Christian circles. But this game boasts only minimal problems. The violence is very mild, and aside from only two females with less than modest outfits and the all the magic, though typical fantasy fare, this game also really shows a glimpse of some old-fashioned heroism and even some quite Christian ideals. Trying to save someone you care about is well and good, but watching Mickey fight to save the likes of Captain Hook is something quite different and something you don’t see that often. If Disney doesn’t rub you the wrong way, I would heartily recommend Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion.

BTW: In case you were wondering why I said this game was so nostalgic, the original Castle of Illusion was one of my first games.




Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Christian Answers Network.

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