As Epic Mickey 2: The Power Of Two hits home consoles, the surprise news is that the 3DS will receive its own bespoke version. Epic Mickey: Power Of Illusion will be a dual sequel to Epic Mickey on Wii and spiritual grandchild to the 1990 Sega Mega Drive classic, Castle Of Illusion.
Until Sonic arrived a year later, the latter was the dominant platformer on the console, a 2D side-scroller in which Mickey battled through evil witch Mizrabel's titular castle, bouncing on heads and exploring varied levels.
Power Of Illusion returns to the illusory castle, which has now fallen into Epic Mickey's Wasteland along with its owner, the permanently narked villainess, Mizrabel. Wasteland, if you've not played Epic Mickey, is a scorched wilderness created for and populated by forgotten Disney characters, so it's only fitting that outdated videogame antagonist Mizrabel has finally taken up residence. Of course, she's not happy with her freshly relegated status and seeks to return to the overworld by capturing popular Disney characters within her castle and stealing their essence. This is cartoon science, just roll with it.
Paint It Cool
It's up to Mickey Mouse to rescue his toon buddies by platforming through Disney-themed levels within the castle. Power Of Illusion retains the classic 2D style of the original game with oodles of fancy parallax scrolling effects. The bottom screen, meanwhile, enables Mickey to use paint to overcome obstacles. Much like in The Power Of Two, the hero can paint objects into the world and use them to his advantage.
Outlines of potential objects appear on the bottom screen - a cannon, for example - and by tapping on these outlines you're given the chance to trace them and make them real. Trace the cannon well and the gun will harm only enemies, but doodle wonkily and you'll generate one that fires randomly, posing a threat to Mickey and friends.
Levels are loaded with paintable objects such as floating platforms and even whole characters, while Mickey's ability to delete parts of the world using thinner carries over from the console version. Every level is based on an animated Disney film from every era of the studio's acclaimed history, with the likes of Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan and Tangled all confirmed to appear.
Cast your eyes over the sprites and artwork and you'll spot nods to Beauty And The Beast, Alice In Wonderland, The Little Mermaid and (deep breath) DuckTales. We're also expecting appearances from Mickey's new mate, Oswald, as well as Minnie.
Mickey will have access to a hub area, in which every character he's rescued will appear. Presumably, you'll be able to have a natter with them, too, though we wonder if Warren Spector's devotion to voice acting in The Power of Two will filter down to this handheld version.
After all, while development is being overseen by Junction Point (currently busy working on the Wii version of Epic Mickey 2) it is DreamRift - best known for Henry Hatsworth - that is putting in most of the legwork. The home console version of the game is set to arrive in September of this year, but there's no word of a release date for the 3DS version yet. Hopefully, it won't be far behind.