Out of all the third-party games at Nintendo's E3 2010 booth, Disney Epic Mickey generated the most interest. It's easy to understand why--a renowned developer crafting a game based on an iconic character that has underachieved in the videogame world is a curiosity. The gameplay on display in Nintendo's booth was unique and interesting enough to keep the crowds glued to the televisions the game was being played on.
Initially I was drawn in by Epic Mickey's art. It's very striking with its incongruity. Some areas, objects, and characters appear dark and full of muted colors. Others are bright and cheery. This ties into the game's core game mechanic. Aside from the expected running-jumping-climbing-trees game design (from the Eddie Izzard Academy of Interactive Entertainment), Mickey can shoot paint and paint thinner. This can be used to combat enemies and manipulate objects in the environment. It's a clever and will implemented twist that helps Epic Mickey stand out from other platformers.
In combat, paint thinner can be used to damage enemies, while paint can be used to charm them. Enemies that are enamored through paint will help you by patrolling areas and fighting foes. For platforming purposes, paint can be used to reveal objects that can be used to reach new areas and solve jumping puzzles. Paint thinner can be used to remove objects, revealing hidden areas and items. The guy that demoed the game for me noted that a lot of games let you destroy the environment, but this one lets you destroy and create.
Surprisingly, the game has several RPG elements. Mickey will spend a lot of time talking to other characters, learning about various side missions, and embarking on fetch quests. After a short conversation with Smee from Peter Pan, I decided to help him recover his boat. I found it in a swampy area full of caverns and monsters. The boat was being weighed down by three hidden anchors. I had to mix and match the use of paint and paint thinner to find the anchors and defeat the baddies guarding them.
While I only saw a short portion of the game, I was very impressed with the clever game design and fantastic art style of Epic Mickey. The platforming was solid and the paint feature made the gameplay very unique. In a lesser designer's hands, the painting could get gimmicky and gratuitous, but I fully expect the masterful Warren Spector to keep things compelling in Epic Mickey.
Developed by Junction Point Studios and published by Disney Interactive Studios, Epic Mickey is scheduled for release exclusively on Wii this holiday season.
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This is one of the many Nintendo titles shown that I think I will get. Does it come out this year or is it like everything Sony showed and will be dropping in 2011?