Turns out "Wreck-It Ralph" isn't the only Disney release this year to salute old video games.
"Epic Mickey: The Power of Illusion" pays tribute to the Sega Genesis classic "Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse" in the cleverest way. "The Power of Illusion" is the hand-held companion to "Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two," which pairs Mickey up with Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Disney's mascot before Mickey came along. Their quest? To once again save Wasteland, a junkyard of forgotten cartoons like Oswald.
We're used to seeing cartoon characters like Oswald in Wasteland, but "The Power of Illusion" marks the first time something from a video game has turned up in Wasteland -- specifically, Mickey's old haunt the Castle of Illusion, where Minnie is being held captive.
"The Power of Illusion" might have the best use of 3-D of any game in the 3DS library. The Castle, with its, ahem, power of illusion, shape-shifts into settings from classic Disney movies -- everywhere from the rooftops of London from "Peter Pan" to the undersea kingdom from "The Little Mermaid." The use of 3-D is classic Disney, with graphical elements in the foreground scrolling faster than elements where Mickey is, which scroll faster than those in the far distance. Looking at the screen is looking into a little diorama.
|'Epic Mickey: The Power of Illusion'|
|» System: 3DS|
|» Price: $39.99|
|» Rating: 3 out of 5 stars|
Fans of the sidescrolling action in "The Castle of Illusion" will quickly notice the biggest gameplay difference in "The Power of Illusion" -- that this game introduces some role-playing elements. Levels are sprinkled with characters making cameos from different Disney worlds, and if you find them, they'll give you missions. For instance, if you save Scrooge McDuck and visit him in the Castle's fortress, where the people you've saved hang out, he'll task you with finding the first dime he ever earned, hidden somewhere in a level, in exchange for a permanent health boost. This layer of role-playing adds some replay value to the main adventure, which is all too short, but, because the main game is too short, the backtracking gets stale quickly.
Kids might not mind this, but adults will yearn for a feast for the mind to match the one for their eyes.