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Reviewing Epic Fail Mickey: The Power of Two

Reviewing Epic <STRIKE>Fail</STRIKE> Mickey: The Power of Two
  • On October 25, 2013

A few months ago I went on a bit of a demo spree. It’s like a shopping spree, only you can do it in your living room in your underwear, and it’s free.

Actually, it’s not anything like a shopping spree at all.

I downloaded a bunch of different demos from the Xbox Live Marketplace, both for games that I was interested in playing and games that I was dubious about. Most of them earned a “meh” rating from me; I’d seen enough to know that I really didn’t want to waste time or money playing them.

Epic Mickey: The Power of Two was one that caught my attention- and that of my two children- immediately. By the time I’d gotten ten minutes into the demo both kids were hovering over me, waiting for my hands to relax enough that they could snatch the controller. They were like hungry wolves. That eat video games. So really more like Pac-Man, if the little white dots were games, and I guess the ghosts were chores or homework or something.

I am not on my analogy game today. I apologize.

The demo impressed me. I was excited that I’d found this gorgeous game with characters that my kids know and love, and that they would not only be able to master it easily- they could play cooperatively.

I probably should have realized I was walking into a web of lies the exact moment “my kids” and “playing cooperatively” appeared in the same sentence.

The demo covered the first few levels of the game, so once we received the full version we blew through that section pretty quickly. The beginning of the game is both creative and beautiful, following Mickey as he retrieves a magic paintbrush from the Sorcerer’s workshop and travels with it into the alternate reality that is Wasteland.

That was when we started getting stuck. Wasteland is the hub of the game, and you have to complete different tasks and puzzles to open up different platforming levels. Unfortunately, you’re only told what to do once. If you happen to miss the instructions for a task because, say, your kids are having a screaming tantrum, you’re screwed; the instructions aren’t listed anywhere else that I could find.

We got stuck about a third of the way into the game, didn’t know what to do next, and were unable to progress any further, even though we spent hours experimenting.

It’s possible there was a game-breaking glitch and we just got screwed. It’s equally possible that I am an idiot, missed something incredibly obvious, and should be deeply ashamed of myself. Even if the second one is true, the fact remains that this game was made for children. I am a grown woman and an experienced gamer and I couldn’t finish this game.

My children gave up in frustration long before I did.

Epic Mickey: The Power of Two is based on sound characters and an adorable idea. The platforming levels are fun and creative, promoting cooperation and teamwork between players. If we’d been able to finish this game, I probably would have heartily endorsed it. Since we got hopelessly stuck and weren’t able to find any in-game indication of how to proceed, I am going to label this game “Stay Away”.

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