FANDOM


This week, Zero Punctuation reviews Epic Mickey.

TranscriptEdit

You know, as a child, I used to have a phobia of theme park mascots. Emotionally repressed even then, I was suspicious of their instant friendliness, fixed grins, and eagerness to take me into the gents to show me Herman the Hairy Snake (the secret mascot who only comes out for good little boys and girls with weak gag reflexes). The point is, I hadn't gotten over this problem by the time I got taken to Disneyland, and the day became a tense and fearful avoidance game at the first sign of oversized cranium; culminating in paroxysms of torment when the parade rolled around. The grins! A sea of grins! Staring. Judging. Winnie the Pooh doing some foul, perverted windmill dance with his exposed forearms. No, Goofy, I don't want to taste Herman's special milk! You'll be pleased to know I have now conquered this fear, thanks in part to Epic Mickey, a game about systematically demolishing Disneyland while Mickey Mouse repeatedly falls off cliffs; whether you want him to or not.

You may remember that the media started buzzing like an amorous wasp about Epic Mickey when some rather evocative concept art got sent around of an animatronic Goofy post-threshing machine; and of a ruined, post-apocalyptic Disneyland, implying the kind of dark, edgy, subversive reinterpretation of Disney that Epic Mickey most certainly is not. Disney, having long been as artistically bankrupt as a vending machine, care less about interesting new reinterpretations than their copyrights being depicted in the slightest negative light, so the specter of compromise hovers around Epic Mickey - sorry, Disney Epic Mickey - like a bad smell.

Well-meaning funster Mickey Mouse, depicted in the intro as some kind of narcoleptic, wakes up for just long enough to accidentally release an evil blob monster upon something that closely resembles Disneyland, but is never identified as such; ostensibly fucking the whole place up, but not really. You see, pseudo-Disneyland is far too magical and wholesome a place to be brought down merely by the relentless march of time or the indifferent neglect of man; it's got to be blob monsters. There's this one vintage Mickey Mouse comic in which he breaks up with Minnie and spends the rest of the comic attempting suicide - I swear this is true - and it was way edgier than this. Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers was edgier than this. Fucking Kingdom Hearts was edgier than this, if only because of the usual JRPG pedophilia subtext. Two child abuse jokes and we've barely started; that never bodes well.

The game is a hub-based action-adventure with a slightly Zelda-y, Banjo-Kazooie-y bent. Centrally, Mickey is wielding a magic brush - an edgy magic brush - with the power to create with one hand and destroy with the other, Mickey now apparently being a Hindu deity. However, the power extends only to selected background objects, bits of wall, and patches of grass. It's a gameplay mechanic specifically designed to annoy people with obsessive-compulsive disorder, because while a totally created or totally destroyed level both look at least consistent, anything in between looks like absolute arse - like an unfinished jigsaw puzzle balanced on somebody's arse. The creation/destruction thing ties into an ongoing moral choice system where every enemy (including bosses) can be defeated by either destroying them (the evil option) or recreating them into friendlies - which is still evil when you think about it, because it's suppressing their free will. And yes, now you come to mention it, that terrifying full-faced picture of a grinning Mickey Mouse they used to use at the start of Disney shorts does have a slightly Orwellian vibe to it.

Now, I'm not about to say the Wii is inherently a big, white clump of hardened albino snot - that's the old me, the one who lives in a cave feeding off pebbles and arrogant snorts. But every time a third-party Wii game acknowledges the motion-sensor with one token Wiimote waggle control - in this case, for the melee attack - it always fits into gameplay flow as naturally as a sponge at a moisture convention. And why do you think every other console controller has two analog sticks, Mr. Wii? Do you think it's just for symmetry or because they look a little bit like nipples? No! It's because in 3rd person games the camera is like the working class: if you can't control it, it will plot to destroy you. When it's not staring at the floor, it's swinging drunkenly around while you're trying to spray paint at something off to the right. The "center camera" button just flat-out refuses to work sometimes when it feels you don't appreciate it enough. And in 1st person mode you can't move, and when you spray paint it looks uncannily like Mickey is urinating a vibrant blue liquid.

Perhaps the camera issues wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the level design. For a lot of them, it's like they got together all the pieces of the level, dropped them on the floor in a big pile, and then, I don't know, there was a bomb threat or an ice cream van drove past and everyone ran outside - and someone else came in to pick up the finished level and didn't realize the bits hadn't been put together yet. Not that there's not enough opportunity to get your bearings, I suppose; you're only going to see them all eighteen million times. As is so often the case, the interpretation of "epic" seems to be "backtrack a-go-go". Before you can unlock the next level, you're required - required, no less - to complete a few little side-quests in and around the levels you've already been to.

And again, as is so often the case, "side-quests" means "glorified postal service". Guy A wants something from Guy B; he'll give it if you get something from Guy C; Guy C will give it if you masturbate into his webcam for a few minutes. Multiple layers of fetch quests! It's like they couldn't be arsed to think of anything else, so they just said, "Fuck it, we're going for niche appeal with the fetch quest connoisseur crowd". Oh yes, and to travel between levels, you have to go back and forth through these extremely LittleBigPlanet-esque 2D-platform sections every single time! It turns into a fucking commute. There's one collectible in each one as part of another fucking fetch quest, and if you're going after them, here's a gameplay hot tip: take the upper path. They are always, always on the upper path. Maybe they're like deep-sea angler fish in that they explode if they're not at the right altitude.

It occurred to me that you only ever see Mickey Mouse these days if it's in some kind of ironic context, and that led me to wonder: who exactly is this game for? I doubt kids these days have any interest in a small, cartoon animal that cannot fit inside a red and white ball, and all the references to classic cartoons might as well be referencing The Canterbury Tales; if it predates ThunderCats, they just don't want to fucking know. But if it's meant to be some nostalgia trip for adults, then why is it so unchallenging and toothless and about as edgy as a spherical cake in the middle of something? Despite one slightly interesting dual-gameplay idea, Epic Mickey is an irritating waste of potential; like a used condom resting on your forehead.

CreditsEdit

Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw: The crappiest place on Earth

Fair Use Notice: There's this one vintage short included called The Mad Doctor that gives me a really strong Human Centipede vibe

FullyRamblomatic.com: So many childhoods to rape, so little time

ScreenshotsEdit

Epic Mickey 1

The grins! A sea of grins!

Epic Mickey 2

Does have a slightly Orwellian vibe to it

Epic Mickey 3

Every. Single. Time.

External LinksEdit

Episodes
2007 - 2010
2007
Q3 The Darkness Demo · Fable: The Lost Chapters · Zero Punctuation (Episode) · Heavenly Sword and Other Stuff · Psychonauts · Console Rundown · BioShock · Tomb Raider: Anniversary · Manhunt · Peggle
Q4 Halo 3 · Tabula Rasa · The Orange Box · Super Paper Mario · Medal of Honor: Airborne · The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass · Clive Barker's Jericho · F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate · Assassin's Creed · Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock · Mass Effect
2008
Q1 Super Mario Galaxy · Silent Hill: Origins · Crysis · The Witcher · Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles · Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare · SimCity Societies · Yahtzee Goes to GDC · Uncharted: Drake's Fortune · Devil May Cry 4 · Burnout: Paradise · Turok · Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
Q2 Army of Two · No More Heroes · Condemned 2: Bloodshot · Super Smash Bros. Brawl · God of War: Chains of Olympus · Mailbag Showdown · Grand Theft Auto IV · Painkiller · The World Ends With You · The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion · Haze · Metal Gear Solid 4
Q3 Webcomics · Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures · Alone in the Dark · Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures · The E3 Trailer Park · Ninja Gaiden II · Prince of Persia Retrospective · Soulcalibur IV · Braid · EVE Online · Too Human · Spore · XBLA Double Bill
Q4 Mercenaries 2: World in Flames · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed · S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky · Silent Hill: Homecoming · Saints Row 2 · Dead Space · Fable II · Fallout 3 · Guitar Hero: World Tour · Mirror's Edge · Left 4 Dead · Sonic Unleashed · The Year in Review - 2008 · Prince of Persia
2009
Q1 Awards for 2008 · Tomb Raider: Underworld · Far Cry 2 · Gears of War 2 · LittleBigPlanet · Thief: The Dark Project · Skate 2 · F.E.A.R. 2 · Spider-Man: Web of Shadows · The House of the Dead: Overkill · 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand · Resident Evil 5
Q2 X-Blades/Halo Wars · Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars · MadWorld · Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X · Siren: Blood Curse · The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena · Valkyria Chronicles · Velvet Assassin · Duke Nukem Forever · Bionic Commando · InFamous · The Second Annual E3 Hype Massacre · Prototype
Q3 The Sims 3 · Ghostbusters: The Video Game · Overlord 2 · Red Faction Guerrilla · Wii Sports Resort · Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood · The Conduit · Silent Hill 2 · 2.5-D Hoedown · Tales of Monkey Island · Wolfenstein · Batman: Arkham Asylum · Beatles Rock Band & Guitar Hero 5 · Darkest of Days
Q4 Scribblenauts · Wet · Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story · Brutal Legend · Washington D.C. · Uncharted 2: Among Thieves · Dragon Age: Origins · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 · Assassin's Creed 2 · Left 4 Dead 2 & New Super Mario Bros. Wii · Demon's Souls · Holiday 2009 · The Saboteur
2010
Q1 Awards for 2009 · Torchlight · Darksiders · Bayonetta · Dark Void · Borderlands · Mass Effect 2 · Dante's Inferno · BioShock 2 · Aliens vs Predator · Heavy Rain · Battlefield: Bad Company 2 · Final Fantasy XIII
Q2 April Fools 2010 · God of War III · Red Steel 2 · Just Cause 2 · Silent Hill: Shattered Memories · Splinter Cell: Conviction · Nier · Dead to Rights: Retribution · Monster Hunter Tri · Alan Wake · Red Dead Redemption · Alpha Protocol · Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands · E3 2010
Q3 No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle · Super Mario Galaxy 2 · Singularity · Crackdown 2 · DeathSpank & Limbo · Shadow of the Colossus · Split Second: Velocity · Transformers: War for Cybertron · Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days · Mafia II · Metroid: Other M · Video Game Voters Network · Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Q4 Halo: Reach · Dead Rising 2 · Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow · Enslaved: Odyssey to the West · Fallout: New Vegas · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II · Call of Duty: Black Ops · IPhone Games · Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood · Splatterhouse · Epic Mickey · Holiday 2010
2011 - 2014
2011
Q1 Top 5 of 2010 · World of Warcraft: Cataclysm · Fable III · Minecraft · A Shadow's Tale · Dead Space 2 · DC Universe Online · MindJack · Two Worlds II · Bulletstorm · Killzone 3 · Kirby's Epic Yarn · Dragon Age II
Q2 Pokémon White · Yakuza 4 · Crysis 2 · Nintendo 3DS · Portal 2 · Castlevania: Symphony of the Night · Mortal Kombat · Brink · L.A. Noire · The Witcher 2 · Hunted: The Demon's Forge · Duke Nukem Forever (for real this time) · InFamous 2
Q3 Alice: Madness Returns · Shadows of the Damned · F.E.A.R. 3 · The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D · Call of Juarez: The Cartel · Bastion and From Dust · Catherine · Red Faction: Armageddon · Deus Ex · Deus Ex: Human Revolution · Driver: San Francisco · Dead Island · Resistance 3
Q4 Gears of War 3 · Hard Reset · Rage · Kinect · Batman: Arkham City · Battlefield 3 · Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 · The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim · Saints Row: The Third · Assassin's Creed: Revelations · The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
2012
Q1 Serious Sam 3: BFE · Top 5 of 2011 · Super Mario 3D Land & Rayman Origins · Sonic Generations · Star Wars: The Old Republic · Amy · Resident Evil: Revelations · Darkness 2 · Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning · NeverDead · Syndicate · Mass Effect 3 · Twisted Metal
Q2 Yakuza: Dead Souls · Ninja Gaiden 3 · Silent Hill: Downpour · Kid Icarus: Uprising · Fez and I Am Alive · Prototype 2 · Risen 2: Dark Waters · Sniper Elite V2 · Diablo 3 · Max Payne 3 · Dragon's Dogma · E3 2012 · Lollipop Chainsaw
Q3 Quantum Conundrum · Spec Ops: The Line · Walking Dead · Inversion · The Amazing Spider-Man · Half-Life · Wreckateer and Deadlight · Steam Roundup · Sleeping Dogs · Darksiders 2 · DayZ · Guild Wars 2
Q4 Borderlands 2 · FIFA 13 · Resident Evil 6 · Dishonored · XCOM: Enemy Unknown · Medal of Honor: Warfighter & Doom 3: BFG Edition · Assassin's Creed 3 · Halo 4 · Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 · Hitman: Absolution · Far Cry 3 · ZombiU
2013
Q1 Top 5 of 2012 · Paper Mario: Sticker Star · Black Knight Sword & Hotline Miami · Anarchy Reigns · DMC: Devil May Cry · The Cave · Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch · Dead Space 3 · Aliens: Colonial Marines · Crysis 3 · Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance · Tomb Raider · SimCity
Q2 The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct · BioShock Infinite · Lego City Undercover · Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon · Injustice: Gods Among Us · Star Trek · Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon · System Shock 2 · Metro: Last Light · Next Gen Buyer's Guide · Fuse · Remember Me · E3 2013
Q3 The Last of Us · Deadpool · Animal Crossing: New Leaf · Ride to Hell: Retribution · Dark · Mario & Luigi: Dream Team · Rise of the Triad · Papers, Please & Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons · Pikmin 3 · The Bureau: XCOM Declassified · Saints Row 4 · Killer is Dead · Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Q4 Grand Theft Auto V · Lost Planet 3 · Beyond: Two Souls · The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD · Batman: Arkham Origins · Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag · Call of Duty: Ghosts · Exclusives Showdown · Ryse: Son of Rome · Dead Rising 3 · Super Mario 3D World
2014
Q1 Top 5 of 2013 · Knack · Killzone: Shadow Fall · Survival Special · Broken Age · Might & Magic X: Legacy · The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds · Dark Souls · Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII · Strider · Thief · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 · Dark Souls II
Q2 Titanfall · InFamous: Second Son · Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes · The Elder Scrolls Online · South Park: The Stick of Truth · FTL: Faster Than Light · Child of Day-Light · The Amazing Spider-Man 2 · Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure · Wolfenstein: The New Order · WATCH DOGS · E3 2014 · Murdered: Soul Suspect
Q3 Tomodachi Life · Enemy Front & Valiant Hearts: The Great War · Shovel Knight · EarthBound · Transistor · E.T. · Firefall · Sacred 3 · Risen 3: Titan Lords · Daikatana · Lichdom: Battlemage · The Sims 4 · Destiny
Q4 D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die · Hyrule Warriors · Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor · Alien Isolation · The Evil Within · Bayonetta 2 · Sunset Overdrive · Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare · Assassin's Creed: Unity · Far Cry 4 · Dragon Age: Inquisition · Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric · Top 5 Games of 2014
2015 - 2017
2015
Q1 The Talos Principle · Elite: Dangerous · Five Nights at Freddy's and This War of Mine · Lords of the Fallen · Saints Row: Gat out of Hell · Dying Light · Grim Fandango · Evolve · The Order: 1886 · The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D · Resident Evil Revelations 2 · Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number & Ori and the Blind Forest
Q2 Battlefield: Hardline · Bloodborne · Half-Life 2 Update · Axiom Verge & Stealth Inc 2 · Mortal Kombat X · Grand Theft Auto Online · Broken Age: Act 2 · Wolfenstein: The Old Blood · Cyberpunk Double · The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt · Splatoon · Hatred · E3 2015
Q3 Alone in the Dark: Illumination · Batman: Arkham Knight · Yoshi's Woolly World · Cave Story · Godzilla · Rocket League & Tembo the Badass Elephant · King's Quest: A Knight to Remember · Nom Nom Galaxy & Freedom Planet · Everybody's Gone To The Rapture · Volume · Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain · Mad Max · Gears of War Ultimate Edition · Until Dawn
Q4 Super Mario Maker · SOMA · Rock Band 4 · Assassin's Creed Syndicate · Halo 5: Guardians · Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 · Rise of the Tomb Raider · Fallout 4 · Star Wars: Battlefront · Just Cause 3 · Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
2016
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2015 · Devil's Third · Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam · Assassin's Creed Chronicles · Xenoblade Chronicles X · The Witness & Bombshell · Gravity Rush · XCOM 2 · Firewatch & Layers of Fear · Far Cry Primal · Stardew Valley & SUPERHOT · The Division · Salt and Sanctuary
Q2 Republique · Shadow Warrior · Quantum Break · Dark Souls III · Ratchet & Clank · Star Fox Zero · Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door · Uncharted 4: A Thief's End · Doom · Homefront: The Revolution · Overwatch & Battleborn · Mirror's Edge: Catalyst · E3 2016
Q3 Mighty No. 9 · Inside & Shadow of the Beast · The Technomancer · Furi & Song of the Deep · I Am Setsuna · Headlander & Quadrilateral Cowboy · Quake · No Man's Sky · Grow Up · Deus Ex: Mankind Divided · Metroid Prime: Federation Force · The Curious Expedition & Mother Russia Bleeds · ReCore
Q4 Capcom Five · Clustertruck & Lichtspeer · Paper Mario: Color Splash · Mafia III · Gears of War 4 · PlayStation VR · Battlefield 1 · Titanfall 2 vs Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare · Dishonored 2 · WATCH DOGS 2 · Final Fantasy XV · The Last Guardian
2017
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2016 · Let It Die · Dead Rising 4 · Hitman · Gravity Rush 2 · Resident Evil 7 · Yakuza 0 · Nioh · For Honor · Nintendo Switch & Breath of the Wild · Horizon Zero Dawn · Nier Automata · Ghost Recon Wildlands
Q2 Mass Effect Andromeda · Yooka-Laylee · Persona 5 · Remastered Editions · Outlast 2 · Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 · Prey · Wilson's Heart · The Surge · Injustice 2 · Vanquish · E3 2017 · Strafe
Q3 Get Even · Hollow Knight / Dead Cells · Fifth Console Generation · The End is Nigh, and Yonder: Cloud Catcher Chronicles · Pyre · Splatoon 2 · Hellblade · Agents of Mayhem · Sonic Mania · Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle · Destiny 2 · Metroid: Samus Returns
Q4 Knack 2 and SteamWorld Dig 2 · Cuphead · Hob and A Hat in Time · Middle-earth: Shadow of War · The Evil Within 2 · Super Mario Odyssey · Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus · Assassin's Creed Origins · Sonic Forces · Star Wars Battlefront II

Ad blocker interference detected!


Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.