Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two centers on intertwined themes of creation and destruction. Wielding a magical paintbrush, Disney's mascot runs through the crumbling Wasteland, conjuring pieces to make whole the fragmented land or erasing the few structures that still stand tall. Relationships are forged while others are shattered, and it's your choice whether you breathe life into Wasteland or let it sink further into disrepair. Lovable characters and iconic imagery urge you to take the high road, to create rather than destroy the elements that make up this magical kingdom, but it's impossible to escape the all-encompassing reach of destruction. All of your joy, and the effusive happiness the game exudes, is crushed under the avalanche of debilitating problems that tear Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two apart.
Before The Power of Two can undermine your hopes, it introduces a story that embodies everything this disappointing game does right. The Mad Doctor swears that he has learned his lesson after years of fiendish scheming, and promises to repair Wasteland after earthquakes have torn the town asunder. Mickey, Oswald, and a cast of lovable characters express cautious optimism that the Mad Doctor has turned over a new leaf, and seeing their hesitant acceptance encourages a forgive-and-forget attitude that encourages even the rottenest people to better themselves. It's a story built on trust, and the intrinsic joy in every aspect of these cutscenes bubbles forth in toe-tapping musical numbers that give this adventure a cheery, happy-go-lucky vibe.
Once unleashed in this world, you have a choice in how you go about fixing up Wasteland. Objectives may nudge you in certain directions, but a wealth of side quests easily distract you for hours on end. Denizens line the Mean Streets, eager for a helping hand, and you must scurry in every mouse hole and hideaway to find the precious collectibles these poor characters desire. Slowly roaming this evocative land as Mickey is where The Power of Two is at its best. Happening upon a quiet burg populated by Captain Hook's most loyal pirates, or meeting Daisy Duck as she investigates mysteries for her television station, shows how lovingly Disney's world was incorporated. The game tugs at your nostalgic desires, which gives more weight to your choice in building up or tearing down this iconic land.
Jealousy tainted the uneasy pairing of Mickey and Oswald in the original
Oswald has electricity at his fingertips instead of the magical paintbrush, and must use his kinetic powers to defeat enemies and trigger traps. Left to his own devices, he enters frays at his leisure, either conjuring an energy sphere to short-circuit a robotic foe or wandering helplessly nearby, shouting words of pain or confusion without bothering to help in your struggles. You may call him over to solve a puzzle only to have him obstinately disobey, or toss him inadvertently in the air when you just wanted him to zap a fuse box. Jump on a teeter-totter, and he's liable to follow you to the wrong side, thwarting your chance of reaching higher ground, and he has a nasty habit of standing between you and an enemy during combat, absorbing your paint attacks while complaining that you're hurting him. Oswald is a terrible companion, and his uneven implementation is symptomatic of the amateurish mechanics that infect this adventure.