It is no secret that the PlayStation Vita currently has a chronic lack of top titles. The number of AAA exclusives can be counted on one hand and the fact that the highest-rated exclusive title is a port of a PlayStation 2 game says it all. Still, things seem to be improving. Sony is well on its way to profiling the Vita as an “indie handheld” with toppers like Limbo and Guacamelee! and later this year, blockbuster titles like Killzone: Mercenary and Tearaway should satisfy our hunger for epic experiences. Does Epic Mickey 2 kick off the better times? I dusted off my Vita and went to investigate.

Old and famous

Epic Mickey 2 was released last year and was not received positively everywhere. The game was praised for its good atmosphere and entertaining co-op, but at the same time there was also a lot of criticism. For example, it was often unclear what exactly you had to do and the AI ​​of your partner often left something to be desired.

Let me start with one thing: Epic Mickey 2 on the Vita is exactly the same as its big brothers on the consoles. That is of course good news on the one hand, because Vita owners are presented with a console-worthy experience and can also enjoy this atmospheric game, but the logical consequence is that the negatives from the original are also present here. So prepare yourself for a lot of messing around with the camera and a happy flurry of frustrating controls.

finger painting

I often try to summarize the essence of the game in my reviews. Sometimes that’s hard, but not in the case of Epic Mickey 2. In fact, I can sum up the essence in two words: spraying paint. You don’t really do much else. During the platform sections, the aim is to spray paint, for example to reveal an important part of the road. When you fight, you can defeat your enemies by spraying them with thinner. The brush almost always comes into play in the parts where you have to puzzle. Finally, the game gives you a moment of peace and gives you the chance to explore an open area to your heart’s content, even then you are encouraged to spray paint or thinner to discover secret collectables. It makes Epic Mickey 2 a bit of a “one trick pony” and because one of the few gameplay features that really comes out well (pun intended) is so exploited, even painting loses its charm over time.

However, the Vita version of Epic Mickey 2 succeeds well in making use of the exclusive features of the device. The touchscreen, the touchpad and the motion sensors are all used. Still, I caught myself barely using it. The game is clearly made to be controlled with a controller and that also works much better. Spraying paint by tapping the screen sounds like fun, but in practice you discover that it doesn’t work at all. Your finger is in front of the screen, so you miss part of the action and especially when you also have to walk with the left stick in the meantime, your fingers are short. You will therefore choose the traditional controls much more often and that is actually the whole problem with Epic Mickey 2: the game gets stuck in good intentions. All the features of the game sound fantastic on paper, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired in most cases.

Conclusion

I have mixed feelings about Epic Mickey 2. On the one hand, I appreciate the fact that developers are showing initiative to bring their titles to the Vita and I have to admit that I’ve had a good time with the game at times, but unfortunately such “fun moments” almost always followed by pieces where you do little else than spray paint, spray paint and spray paint some more. Moreover, it is often unclear what exactly is expected of you and that means that you will turn off this game more than once in frustration. Still, I expect I’ll still be playing Epic Mickey 2 after writing this review, but that’s more due to the lack of Vita games that are really worth checking out. Whether that is a plus or a minus is up to you…

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