You can make Mickey commit some fairly outrageous and humiliating acts, as well as gestures of heart-warming kindness in Epic Mickey. It's a dark world in which the moral compass spins a full 360 degrees.
Set in a wasteland of forgotten, resentful Disney characters plagued by Blot, a demonic ink stain of Mickey's own accidental creation, you use paint to restore objects and chunks of scenery back into existence, and thinner to do just the opposite.
So you point and spray the two opposing fluids from your magical brush to complete bridges and walkways, fight enemies, remove obstacles, fix machinery and solve puzzles and quests. It creates a wonderful visual effect as the world is drawn to life around you.
At their most unsubtle, the moral crossroads arrive in the form of machines that can be filled with either paint or thinner, usually accompanied by your stern gremlin friend warning you of the bad things that will happen should you fill the machine with the wrong stuff. It's weirdly amusing to defy them.
Crime And Punishment
Ignore a request from a character and it's likely that there will be repercussions - for example, the vendetta between Small Pete and the gremlins can be settled if you bother to root around Asia Town long enough to find his ship's manifesto. If you're more concerned with reaching the end of the level, however, he'll be annoyed enough to trap you in a room and hurl enemies at you until he gets bored and wanders off. Both paths offer rewards and collectibles.
Crucially, you won't be able to get everything in a single playthrough as you are effectively choosing to play as a thinner or a painter, and you're actively rewarded for choosing one style over the other.
The problem is, as a platformer, Epic Mickey feels rather average. Location design aims for 'desolate beauty', but the game often simply looks desolate, a mush of browns and greys even Mickey's colour-splurge can't fix.
Jumping feels oddly mechanical at times, especially during the between-level side-scrolling sections, as if Mickey is disconnected from the floors and walls around him. The camera can be a tricksy begger too, often refusing to centre itself, or randomly pointing at bits of scenery.
Combat - you thin enemies to death or smother them in paint to turn them friendly, but faster-moving enemies - highlights just how inaccurate the paintbrush can be. And with the Remote acting as an imprecise onscreen cursor, you're unable to attack enemies once they're no longer in sight.
You'll readily forgive many of its faults though, as its failings as a platformer are only evident during the parts of the game in which paintable scenery is scarce. Its setting and plot are to be praised too. An unexpectedly mature, and at times touching, story: Oswald the Lucky Rabbit is an infinitely more charming character than the sickeningly twee and charisma-free Mickey Mouse.
At times, it's one of the best-looking games on Wii - it swims in its own painterly style, and the Disney-grade animation lends every motion some real punch. If you look past its shortcomings as an admittedly un-epic platformer, you'll see that Epic Mickey is a deep game with explicit replay value and immense character.
This is an edited version of a review that will appear in the Christmas issue of Official Nintendo Magazine. For more in-depth analysis, screenshots and boxouts, buy the magazine here.