Epic Mickey 2: The Power Of Two

Shout, Shout, Let It All Out

Epic Mickey 2: The Power Of Two has double the volume and half the fun.

By Steve Heisler • November 26, 2012

Imagine if on the first day of grade school, your teacher shouted at you. At everyone in the class. Not really in a mean way per se, but with volume and force. “WELCOME TO THE THIRD GRADE,” he would say. “THIS IS GOING TO BE A VERY FUN YEAR. OPEN YOUR MATH TEXTBOOKS. TIME FOR A POP QUIZ. I’M BUYING YOU ALL FREE MCDONALD’S.” Then, imagine he never stopped.

This would not only get very annoying, but after a while, it’d become impossible to discern when your teacher was legitimately angry, happy, tired, or just having a neutral day in which the status quo is being upheld. Soon, even the most valuable of history lessons would seem as incidental as the lunch bell, and discipline would cease to exist. Because how do you raise your voice when your baseline volume is “maximum”?

Epic Mickey 2: The Power Of Two shouts at you. Constantly. There is audible shouting when Gus, your guiding gremlin, tells you how important your next mission is and warns you of the dangers ahead. Or perhaps its merely a rapping pig who wants you to collect old film reels you find lying around. There is the visual equivalent of shouting, too. Taking place (like its predecessor) in the Wasteland—basically a desolate, animatronic Disney World—there are parts of clocks and disembodied pianos floating around, treasure chests full of Captain Hook’s clothing hidden behind technicolor walls, and cyborg Goofy. You collect tickets for stores, pins for other stores, cloth for a third kind of store, pieces of scrap metal…sure, Mickey Mouse is about 50 percent ears, but even he couldn’t withstand this much noise.

Epic Mickey 2: The Power Of Two

This sequel is subtitled The Power Of Two—there are two characters you play, each with special abilities. Mickey, as per usual, can make the world more vibrant with paint or wash it away with thinner. Oswald, controllable either with a second player or via the computer (which routinely sends Oswald off the screen for no apparent reason), has a remote control that can either zap enemies into submission or be hurled at them to destroy them. Sound familiar? The two characters do much the same thing in their feverish rush to take care of pests. And in the rare instances they must work together—like when Mickey pulls a lever and Oswald powers up a TV monitor that appears—you better believe Gus tells you exactly what to do. Repeatedly. Loudly.

The Wasteland is a gorgeous amalgamation of Steamboat Willie-era homages and a behind-the-scenes tour of a modern, vaguely steampunk amusement park, yet there’s little time to explore or affect the world without somebody barking at you. There are plenty of side missions available in the main town, collecting things for the museum or what-have-you, but the discovery of a hidden treasure is cause for Gus to remind you that, yes, that’s one of the things you should have been looking for.

Epic Mickey 2: The Power Of Two

The stakes of your quest to vanquish evil never acquire much gravity—not in any real way. In the first Epic Mickey title from 2010, Mickey used a combination of paint and thinner—construction and destruction—to defeat the Mad Doctor and a giant ink blot. This game is essentially the same, except Oswald The Lucky Rabbit, who serves as the benevolent Wasteland leader, is no longer a shadow for Mickey to chase. The shadow, this time, is the source of the evil itself. And each mission, be it the slaughtering of a dragon or the fixing of an elevator, is treated with great importance. Perhaps this is the one, Gus shouts, that will finally shed some paint on the person or thing behind the decimation of the Wasteland. It might be. Or most likely, it leads to another door, which opens to an equally important room.

Everybody is clueless. Oswald knows nothing. Gus is befuddled. The Mad Doctor from the last game claims to be good now and sings his confusion. It’s as if they compete to see who can express their naïveté the loudest. Daisy Duck, a reporter now, has some dirt she dares not share in public. But she also hasn’t received flowers from Donald in a while. Help her! With either one! They both matter a lot, maybe! During your hunt for the final boss, a character shows up unannounced and says that the fate of the entire world depends on your finding his missing pearl. He uses a lot of exclamation points. Come to think of it, everyone does. “Shift + 1” on the keyboard hasn’t gotten this much use since the heyday of LiveJournal.

Epic Mickey 2: The Power Of Two

The conceit of the game is that there are two sides to every decision: paint and thinner, metaphorically and literally. For one long stretch, you enter a series of rooms constructed to honor Mickey’s accomplishments from the first game, and you can either fix them up or keep them in a state of decay. Whatever you choose, the broken tour guide robot—the ally you need, at least according to Gus—will either remain broken or get fixed up. Obviously, it’s good news all around if you make things right. But if not, Gus will lament the loss of your new best friend, and you move on. Even the wrong decisions in Epic Mickey 2 lose heft amid the shouting.

After the game is over and the final boss defeated, the villain speaks softly and simply, lamenting past errors. There are no exclamation points. It’s a rare moment of Zen-like calm, allowing for the briefest hint that your work in the Wasteland was meaningful. Then every character bursts into song, the (very long) credits roll, and the game…starts back up again, right where you left off. See, those side missions you failed to complete were also apparently important. It was so hard to tell.

Epic Mickey 2: The Power Of Two
Developer: Junction Point Studios
Publisher: Disney Interactive Studios
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS, PC, PlayStation 3, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360
Reviewed on: PlayStation 3
Price: Nintendo 3DS, PC—$40; Wii—$50; PlayStation 3, Wii U, Xbox 360—$60
Rating: E

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255 Responses to “Shout, Shout, Let It All Out”

  1. Cloks says:


    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

      Yeah, I was super disappointed in the first one. Of course I was kind of hyped up for it. A new 3D platformer! With a bunch of weirdo disney stuff! Made by Warren Spector!

      But the game itself was remarkably ugly and bland and boring. 

      • Aaron Riccio says:

        The fact that Steve didn’t even bother mentioning Warren Spector’s work on this title says a lot about how irrelevant it is. And Kingdom Hearts has far weirder Disney stuff than this write-off of a title.

        • Girard says:

           Has Warren Spector actually done a lot of good stuff, or is he mainly just coasting off of Deus Ex? I haven’t played much of his stuff (apart from the crappy first Mickey game), and he strikes me as a Molyneux-type of big-promiser.

        • duwease says:

          Ultima Underworld, System Shock, Thief.. and to a (somewhat) lesser extent the Crusader series.. a pretty good run there.

      • Merve says:

        I so wanted this to be good for the same reasons as you. There just aren’t many good cartoony 3D mascot platformers for the PC. Aside from stupid movie tie-ins, the only one that comes to mind is Psychonauts. And as much as I love that game and would replay it a million times, I’d prefer to have a new 3D mascot platformer to sink my teeth into.

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

          I loved the platformers on the N64 and PS2. But the genre has seemingly disappeared. The Mario Galaxy games were great, but I want more.

    • PaganPoet says:


    • Anne Noise says:

      The first one was pretty dull once you get past the gimmicky paint concept.  I didn’t realize it sold well enough to justify a sequel.  :X

    • Mike_From_Chicago says:


  2. Electric Dragon says:

    “Mickey Mouse is about 50 percent ears, but even he couldn’t withstand this much noise.”

    Shouldn’t he be more sensitive to noise given such a high ear-to-body ratio?

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:

      Also odd because…er, hmm, excuse me.


  3. JokersNuts says:

    We had a lot of fun with the original, sucks to hear this one isn’t as good.

  4. Effigy_Power says:

    “Hey, when you own Star Wars, you don’t ever have to stop yelling!”
    -Fictional Disney Exec-

    • Moonside_Malcontent says:

       “Lord knows George didn’t.”

    • Aaron Riccio says:

      I just realized that this means Star Wars will be a huge part of Kingdom Hearts 3. I can’t tell if that’s a good thing or not; given the way the franchise has deteriorated, I’m thinking bad.

      • stakkalee says:

        Damn.  Reading that I got a cold feeling in the pit of my stomach, as if millions of fanboys cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

        I honestly hadn’t considered the full ramifications of the purchase, but now I can’t unread this.  Thanks alot Aaron.


        is there actually going to ever be a Kingdom Hearts 3?

        • Aaron Riccio says:

          I guess that’s the one chance we’ve got left.

          ::image of holographic Leia:: “Square Enix, your inability to follow through is our only hope.”

      • Girard says:

         Truly, being included in a Kingdom Hearts game would be the worst thing the Star Wars franchise has ever been subjected to.

      • PhilWal0 says:

         “Meesa Jar-Jar Binks! Whassa Keyblade?”

        • Aaron Riccio says:

          Just bend over, Jar-Jar, and let’s try to aim our boots straight for your keyhole. Then you’ll understand.

      • Liam says:

         As a Kingdom Hearts apologist I’m gonna have to step in here: yes the story is dumb and anime as all hell, but the games are still damn fun to play and the two latest games (3D and Birth By Sleep) are the best in the series. It hasn’t deteriorated at all, unless you count a sensible story not showing up as deterioration.

        • Aaron Riccio says:

          I’m going to have to respectfully disagree. The battle mechanics get increasingly gimmicky, the level design has been stagnant and repetitious, particularly in the “gaiden”-like DS games, the camera is still bonkers as all hell, and without that all-important story, I’ve found myself unable to really make it fully through any of the recent titles. Maybe you can “unlock” (see what I did there?) better modes as you progress through and change up characters or build more robust combos and chains, but I’m impatient. As I imagine most Disney and Square fans are these days.

  5. HobbesMkii says:

    Completely unrelated, I’d like to hijack this comments thread to complain bitterly about how Steam’s Autumn sale held me down and forced me to purchase XCOM, Max Payne 3, and Borderlands 2, despite my intense determination to purchase such games during the Winter sale. My iron will is not what it used to be.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      I scraped by with just Torchlight 2, and even managed to wait until that was fully 50% off.  It got a bit close with Dishonored, but I’ve got such a backlog, my Teutonic capacity for guilt and liberal arts lack of money worked in tandem to prevent me from buying it.
         Torchlight 2 is super-neat, though.    

      • HobbesMkii says:

        My liberal arts lack of money should have kept me from purchasing games, but instead I justified it along the lines of “Well, if I spend less than $75, I can just switch to eating a cheaper brand of cat food and I should be all right.”

        • Aaron Riccio says:

          There’s another way to look at it, too. “If I just keep playing Darksiders 2, I’ll forget that I’m hungry and I won’t have to eat.”

      • Brainstrain says:

        TL2 got me at 25% off. I have great shame. But it really is a wonderful game.

    • Jackbert322 says:

      I bought the Deus Ex: Human Revolution Augmented Edition and all the DLC…despite not having a PC…but, hey, it was only $12.50! More hijacking: what did everyone think of the original Witcher? Our family Mac can just barely run it, and it’s on sale for $2.50. All the reviews say “omigosh it’s so mature and DEEP, like, there’s these THEMES, and they’re SO mature!” But the ESRB description says sex is represented with cards decorated pictures of scantily clad ladies and everyone says “cunt” a lot. So, basically, my question is whether the game is actually mature, or is it “mature”? And if it is “mature”, is the gameplay good enough to overlook that?

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

        I haven’t played The Witcher yet, but I am forever skeptical of games that are touted as explicitly “mature” or “deep” by videogame press and/or fans. 

        • Jackbert322 says:

          Exactly. But the combat does look really fun and the enviroments are beautiful. Still, do we really need sex shown in video games? I mean, c’mon, it’s like uncanny valley softcore. Ew.

        • HobbesMkii says:

          @Jackbert322:disqus The combat for the original Witcher is pretty lackluster. It’s not very involved. You click once to start Geralt performing his slash animation (this animation varies, depending on the stance you perform), then click again (at the right moment) to have him perform it again, but for a bonus. Then you click it a third time for him to continue but at a higher bonus. Then you start the chain over until your enemy is dead. It’s a lot less engaging than Assassin’s Creed or even that monument to mediocrity, Kingdoms of Amalaur. 

          The sex stuff reeks of fan service (it’s mostly female frontal nudity), even if the CD Projekt RED claims it’s simply a result of their enlightened Polish attitudes towards humping.

        • Aaron Riccio says:

          Witcher 2’s a better game and it’s only $7.50. No sex cards in that version, and the maturity has less to do with your ability to sleep with anything that moves and more to do with the sorts of things the main game tasks you with doing. 

          Skepticism’s a healthy defense mechanism for expensive games, but when it’s this cheap, you can take a few shots in the dark, miss, and still be just fine.

        • Jackbert322 says:

          Oh really, Hobbes? I thought it was more timing based like the Batman games. And Aaron, I’d try The Witcher 2 but computer can’t run it. Really, the only reason I’m asking is because The Witcher series is one of like six critically acclaimed games available for Mac. Also, “cunt” really is a nasty sounding word.

        • Girard says:

           I’ve heard good things, and somehow a free copy showed up in my GOG account, so I’ll probably give it a spin when I get some RPG-level free time and my RMAed graphics card comes back.

          So, uh, if you’re not sure about the Witcher, just buy some cool old stuff you DO want on GOG, and you may just get a free Witcher somehow?

        • Citric says:

          @Jackbert322:disqus If I ever start a band, it will be called Uncanny Valley Softcore.

      • Boko_Fittleworth says:

        Witcher I is a fun game but tonally it reads kind of like the show Torchwood — both feel like something you would get from a 13 year old trying to be “mature.” It’s…silly. For what it’s worth, though, I think most of the visually “adult” content is more or less avoidable.

        A bigger concern is that as of fairly recent the Mac port is broken to the point of unplayability. Basically, as I understand it, the “port” is just the original exe file with a WINE-skin wrapped around it. As of a couple of months ago, it was plagued by sudden crashes quite early on in the game. There was endless talk from the publisher of resolving the issue. They finally released a patch through Steam with the result that game would crash at the opening menu ever time. The only way I ever played it was because I eventually knuckled down and installed the Windows version on Bootcamp. It’s possible this has been all ironed out in the last month or two but I’d be very careful about checking with the Steam comment boards about the current state of the Mac port before you potentially waste your money.

        • Jackbert322 says:

          As a 14 year old who never tries to be mature, 13 year olds trying to be mature sickens me. Heh. I just HOPED, what with all the massive praise it got, some of it might be justified, the story might actually be, well, somewhat mature, as in trying-to-be-mature-and-not-setting-back-the-viability-of-video-games-as-art-argument-in-academia. But apparently not. Also, the fact that it crashes on the title screen is kind of a major deal. And Bastion is $3.75. I’m gonna go buy Bastion now.

    • Aaron Riccio says:

      I’m so tempted to get XCOM today for $25. But then I’ll end up never playing it until it’s on sale for even more.

      • HobbesMkii says:

        $25?! Arggh! I spent $8 more than I had to! We are truly playthings in the thrall of a vengeful god!

        EDIT: I’ve definitely had $8 worth of fun, though. XCOM was my most expensive Autumn sale purchase, and my least regretted.

      • Fluka says:

        I managed to avoid that horribly horribly tempting XCOM sale. Mostly through the knowledge that:
        A) It apparently has a 20 GB size, so installing it will force me to go resize some partitions earlier than I was planning to (someday Steam will let you install things wherever you want…).
        B) I know it will eat the very fabric of my soul.

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

          Before you rpartition your drives, you should check out the steam beta client. It has some pretty neat additions (big picture mode is cool) but I was most surprised when it asked me where I wanted to install a game. Fucking finally.

        • Fluka says:

          @Douchetoevsky:disqus Ooo, that is good to know!  Thank you! 

        • Electric Dragon says:

          Also, look up SteamMover. It does stuff with junction points (NTFS equivalent of soft links) to allow you to move games to a different partition while keeping Steam thinking they haven’t moved.

    • lokimotive says:

      I snagged Darksiders II (which is ridiculously fun, it’s like a prog-metal triple album), The Walking Dead, Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble, and Rage. Not a lot of new stuff, but some older titles that I’ve been wanting for a while. Plus I did that ridiculous GOG 10 for 5 thing earlier in the week. I’ve got plenty of games now.

    • Fluka says:

      I was proud of my self-control this time!

      Until it was 6 pm last night and both Mark of the Ninja and Mirror’s Edge were on sale for ~$7, and I folded like a cheap suit.

    • Merve says:

      I snagged the entire Max Payne trilogy for less than $20 from the Steam Autumn sale. Gamefly is also having a sale right now, plus you can get an additional 20% off with the coupon code: NOV20OFF. (NOV20OFFUK if you’re across the pond, I believe.) I was able to snag Dishonored and Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning (shut up) from them for super-cheap.

    • Girard says:

       Part of me is tempted to pick up that Batman game everyone gushes about, since it’s only 8 bucks, but another part of me reminds me that while secondhand accounts are invariably glowing, every firsthand thing I’ve read about or seen in that game screams RUN AWAY to my gameplay and aesthetic sensibility…

      I grabbed Deponia, Jet Set Radio, and Half Minute Hero on the cheap…the Alan Wake collection is sitting there costing $10, and looking pretty tempting, though.

    • Sleverin says:

      Yeah, I picked up Giana Sisters, Hotline Miami, Fairy Bloom Freesia and Deus Ex: HR…I was keeping away from the more expensive stuff and keeping it under 10 bucks.  Miami looked way too cool, and I’m surprised at Freesia, for a silly title and low price I wasn’t expecting such a fun game with an interesting combat system.  Hotline Miami, as everyone else has said, is adrenaline junky fun.

    • TaumpyTearrs says:

       I was gonna get a bunch of cheap games at the WalMart Black Friday sale, but they moved it up to 8pm so when I got there after 9 (when i thought it started) shit was bare. I did get Spec Ops: The Line for 15 bucks after all the good stuff I heard here.

      The I hit up Gamestop, which had some reduced prices and buy 2 get 1 free used, so I picked up Sleeping Dogs, Max Payne 3 (rented and beat it, but I wanted to play it on hard), Heavy Rain, Red Faction: Guerilla (the older one, plays like Saints Row on Mars with building destruction) and for my lady I got God of War 1 and 2 HD collection (she loved the third one) and Lollipop Chainsaw (don’t know if she’ll like the gameplay, I’ll just play it if she doesn’t cuz I know she’ll enjoy the aesthetics, humor, violence and T & A).

      All in all I spent about $100 for 7 games, got a nice mix of old and new/story and action, and for Christmas I will just be asking everyone for money to put in savings for a car since I have bought myself presents.

  6. taylorhicklen says:

    I tried the demo, and there was too much color saturation and purposeless shouting for my tastes. At least when someone shouts at me in Hitman, they’ve earned it. (Then again, if I was better with the whole silent assassination thing, they wouldn’t yell at me in the first place.)

  7. Moonside_Malcontent says:

    These sort of games where everything is said at MAXIMUM VOLUME reminds me of those old Marvel comics from the early 1960’s where every sentence was completed with an exclamation point.  This isn’t hyperbolic, go back and look.  Doesn’t matter if the X-Men are facing down the Master Mold or if the Beast wants to know if Bobby Drake is hiding an ice cream soda in the X-Mansion (that scamp!), gotta have that intensifier at that end.  At first you wonder if it’s for Professor X’s benefit, if he’s going deaf in his old age.  But he can read minds.  That can’t be it.  Too many sessions in the Danger Room, my favorite theory went.  When you spend too much time in a simulated hellscape, how do you know when the room has ended and the real world has come back?  Are the echoes of your tortured, forced pronouncements the only feedback that assures you that you aren’t trapped in some psychological test for the famously unstable Professor’s cold, clinical judgment?  CAN YOU KNOW???


    Anyway, sorry to hear Epic Mickey 2 wasn’t all that good.  First one had serious camera and repetitiveness issues, sad to see that they didn’t take the initiative to improve on a concept that had some fresh, creative potential.

  8. Jackbert322 says:

    No offense Steve, but how do you start grade school in third grade? :)

    • SteveHeisler says:

      What I meant was “on the first day of PICK A RANDOM YEAR OF grade school.” I didn’t want to exclude all those second graders out there.

  9. Mercenary_Security_number_4 says:

    “cyborg Goofy”

    Now I know what to call myself if I ever need a new username.  Or rock band.  Or tumblr blog.

  10. Aaron Riccio says:

    What with all the yelling over the lackluster direction and inanity of the plot/quests, I hardly even noticed anyone complaining about Oswald’s AI: this is the first game I’ve played that seems impossible without a partner, and yet there’s no option to connect with someone online. Worse, while your decisions have no actual effect (you can buy the pins you didn’t get, you can still collect the spirits you want), the game is also entirely unclear about the most fundamental stuff. What am I supposed to be taking pictures of? Am I *not* able to zap this object yet because there’s apparently a higher level of electrical power I need to tap into first? Are those boxes supposed to go onto that switch, or that switch: neither appears to do anything. 

    I was yelling more out of FRUSTRATION than anything else, and I quit shortly after the stealth sequence in Chapter 2. I think I’d seen more than enough by that point.


    the Epic Mickey series is a bastion of wasted potential

    just a few months ago I finally got around to trying the first game and holy shit was it unbelievably tedious and dull, this sounds like more of the same in a prettier package, what a shame. 

    • Aaron Riccio says:

      Whereas Bastion is simply a bastion of well-used potential. And more Disney looking (darker, but you get my point) than Epic Mickey. I hear they even messed up the 3DS version, which really just had to be Castle of Illusion. Or Quack Shot. Or even Duck Tales. Where did all the good developers go? I mean, even the old Chip & Dale game wasn’t all bad….

    • Xyvir says:

      I played the original Epic Micky game in its entirety. It seemed to just fall short of all it could be. There were so many fetch quests, but the clues it gave for them were so ambiguous the whole thing became very tiresome very fast. 

      It’s almost like when I was a kid, and my friend invited me to come out to the lake on a weekend with him and his family. I was excited for the fun times I was going to have, but then his father calls me and told me that the trip is cancelled. All that lost potential for fun weighed heavy on my soul for the reamiander of my hum-drum weekend.

      Yeah, Epic Micky made me feel like that.

  12. Fluka says:

    Thanks to last week’s podcast, this game will forever be ensconced in my brain as Epic Mickey Jizzfest.  

  13. Pgoodso says:

    It’s funny, I read the beginning of this review, and immediately thought he was perfectly describing the titular Mr. Torgue from the recent Borderlands 2 DLC. I never got annoyed with him, though, and actually want more from that character. But maybe that’s because 1) it’s a fairly short DLC, and 2) it’s self-aware and hilarious. Whatever the reason, I was constantly aware that his badass-schtick might get old soon, it really never did and still hasn’t.

    So, basically, I suppose I’m saying that the unfortunate loudness of Epic Mickey 2 might have been better served if there were more explosions and audio-only air guitar solos in the game.

    That, and commands from vending machines that you should go punch bad guys in the dick.