t's a strange day in Wasteland, even by Wasteland standards. A landscape created by an abandoned, animated rabbit called Oswald and built from the lost legacy of the Walt Disney corporation is always going to be a bit weird, but today there's been an earthquake.
What's more, there's a mad scientist doing a song and dance routine down Mean Street. Someone had better page Mickey Mouse immediately...
Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two is the multi-platform sequel to developers Junction Point's brave Wii original. Its most important achievement is that they've fixed that infuriating camera, but enamoured mouseketeers will also relish the drop-in drop-out co-op platforming of Mickey and his one-time nemesis Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. As before in the last outing, it's a mix of side-on leaping and three dimensional adventure through a warped Disneyland, although there's now a definite feeling of LittleBigPlanet and Rayman Origins that's been thrown into the mix - with the animated step-brothers slapping and spraying each other silly when their attention wavers.
Mickey is tooled up as he was before - armed with both paint that restores objects to their vibrant glory and a paint-thinner that'll remove them from his path. Os' powers, meanwhile, are through zaps of electricity - with his red-buttoned remote he can electrify enemies to turn them to his side, provide battery power for moving platforms or simply throw it around like a shock-giving boomerang. His whirligig ears, meanwhile, also let him fly - so there's a little taste of Sonic and Tails to be enjoyed when he carries Mickey around the scenery.
he game begins with Mickey on his own, navigating the wizard Yen Sid's Fantasia workshop. Here Mickey gets to grips with his magic paint - first breaking out of an oil painting house, and then thinning the base of a giant telescope so it crashes down to let him navigate the wooden platforms and floating globes above. Soon, however, he's reunited with Oswald to paint OsTown red, green and whatever other colours Mickey's magic pump can provide...
The town has been ravaged by the quake and filled with toxic green goo, so the locals (well, Mecha-Goofy mainly) are rather concerned. As such Mickey takes to the streets and rooftops to find pumps to install, while Os tails around behind him to perform electrician duties once they've been installed. Nearby, meanwhile, Mickey can paint the OsTown train station back to life - a decision that will, as with much of Junction Point head Warren Spector's work, have lasting implications for events that will happen later on in your game.
The gameplay itself remains rather basic, that much is undeniable, yet it's coloured in a beautiful Disney sheen that's hard to resist. In fact the music, the mecha-animals and bizarre world of Wasteland comfortably make Epic Mickey 2 the most off-kilter big game release this year. We're used to getting excited about games that feature men with guns, so it's quite refreshing to feel all hyped up for a mouse with a brush.