I’m sure all of us had, at one point in our lives, purchased a tie-in game only to find that it is less than stellar. Maybe it was Superman 64, or the E.T. game for Atari? Perhaps one not that bad, but disappointing enough to make us think twice the next time. I sure have. Fortunately for Mickey Mouse, most of his excursions into video games have been good. From the original Illusion games on the Genesis-to-Kingdom Hearts-to this demo. Having only a very vague memory of playing Castle of Illusion and enjoying it at a friend’s house, I wasn’t as hyped as some about Power of Illusion, but I was expecting a good game given the pedigree of the developers (they worked on Monster Tale for NDS) and the fact that the game was being tied to both Epic Mickey and the old Illusion games. Sufficient to say, the demo definitely delivered.

Castle of Illusion. I remember this level.

It was a very lengthy demo covering two levels with a lot of back-tracking to finish side quests. In fact, I didn’t even finish the demo because I played it right before bed thinking it would be short (like most demos) and had to turn it off because I was getting sleepy! So perhaps there are more levels covered in the demo, I just didn’t get to them. The one thing that stood out the most about Power of Illusion was how Dream Rift used the 3D of the 3DS. There were layers with a background and a foreground (where the action took place). The background was incredibly detailed and was just lovely to look at. The second level seems to be based on Captain Hook’s ship (you rescue characters from Peter Pan in this level too), which I thought was a nice touch as well.

Second level in the demo.

The actual gameplay has your standard jumping and platforming with a double jump (pressing B twice) being required to hurt enemies. But in addition, it has the paint and thinner mechanic from the Epic Mickey games. At certain points in the game, there will be objects you can interact with on the bottom screen. You will be able to form (by painting) an object, like a box to reach higher ground, or you can erase an object that is hindering you. You do this by painting the outline or erasing the object after tapping on it on the bottom screen. Once you enter paint/erase mode, the action on the top screen pauses. It was neat, but it could get a bit weary after the first few times. Still I personally had no problem with this repetitive aspect in the demo. You can also press A to shot paint or thinner at enemies. Later on, you also gain access to additional powers (like a floaty jump from Tinker Bell) through side quests (given to you by the characters you rescue). Some side quests are very easy to complete, others take a bit more effort.

All in all, the game wasn’t very difficult, but these are probably early levels. Also, if you want to do all the side quests, you do need to think a little about what powers to use and when since some characters and items are located in harder to reach places. It’s a very solid game if the demo is anything to go by and I think it will be a great platformer. It’s not as unique as I thought it would be (since the drawing mechanic has already been done in Drawn to Life), but regardless, I enjoyed it and will definitely be keeping an eye on the retail release. Being somewhat of a Disney fan as well, the Disney locations and characters were also a big plus in my books. It looks like I can finally pick up a licensed game again without worrying that it will be horrible. =)

Anyone else tried the demo? What did you think of it? Has anyone tried the first Epic Mickey game? How was it?