"I love the nostalgic, myself. I hope we never lose some of the things of the past."
Epic Mickey is a Disney game for the Wii developed by Junction Point, spearheaded by Warren Spector of Deus Ex and System Shock fame. In an ambitious effort to help Disney restore Mickey Mouse's iconic status, it brings back the happy memories of Disney's classic short subjects and feature length films from their Golden Age, Silent Age, Dark Age and Renaissance Age as well as attractions from the Disney Theme Parks of old...
The story begins with Walt Disney's original cartoon star Oswald the Lucky Rabbit after finally getting Walt some success and recognition, being taken from him over a budget dispute, fading into obscurity, and being replaced by his younger half-brother Mickey Mouse. Fortunately, he becomes the first resident of a world created by the wizard Yen Sid for forgotten and rejected Disney creations and ideas. This world, called Wasteland (based on the Disney Theme Parks), exists as a small model on a table within Yen Sid's tower. Oswald takes this world as his own, presenting himself as a king there. Soon after, Oswald teams up with The Mad Doctor, another early resident of Wasteland—together, they create the robotic Beetleworx, which serve as construction tools for Wasteland, as well as relocators for new residents of the world, and together they try to make Wasteland a comfortable home for the other lost Disney characters who later join them... but Oswald grows resentful of his younger brother over time due to his increasing popularity. In a vain effort to emulate the life he never had, he makes a very large family with his feline girlfriend Ortensia, and has The Mad Doctor build robotic copies of Donald Duck and Goofy to help him recreate the adventures Mickey went on... but even this fails to fill the void.
Later on, Mickey himself stumbles into Yen Sid's tower, after being lured in by the wizard's mischevious (or malicious) magic mirror. Shortly after arriving, he sees Yen Sid put the finishing touches on Wasteland. Content with his progress, Yen Sid goes off to sleep, while Mickey decides to put his own touch on Wasteland: he spots the magic paintbrush Yen Sid was using and begins to fiddle with it, but accidentally creates a monster called the Shadow Blot and spills paint and paint thinner all over the model. Hearing Yen Sid approaching, Mickey tries to erase the Blot and quickly clean up... and ends up spilling even more thinner on the model, creating a gaping hole in it, and then flees back to his bedroom via the mirror before the wizard returns. Despite Mickey's attempt to hide his transgression, the not-so-dead Blot persists and enters Wasteland via the hole: there, it takes over Wasteland, twisting it into a sinister and dangerous version of the original, and drives Oswald and any resistance into hiding during the conflict, henceforth called "The Blot Wars". The Doctor promptly stabs Oswald in the back (as he had always wanted to) and sides with the Blot, if just to further his own agenda.
Decades later, having long forgotten the incident, Mickey is suddenly pulled into Wasteland from his home via the Blot. Mickey manages to grab the magic paintbrush before he is pulled in, so he can create and erase things with paint and thinner. After narrowly escaping from Dark Beauty Castle and the Doctor and Blot's attempt to remove his heart, as well as having a brief encounter with Oswald, Mickey's initial goal is to simply return home, but his discovery of the miserable state of Wasteland and its inhabitants, including old friends like Horace Horsecollar, cause him to change his plans.
Now the mouse must regain the trust of his resentful older half-brother Oswald, foil the Mad Doctor, and stop the Shadow Blot to save and restore Wasteland, all while trying to keep his heart, the symbol of those who remember and love him, which is all the Blot needs to escape into the real world.
So, if you haven't guessed already, this is the other series that turns our hero into a complete Badass. It's also being adapted into a couple of kids' books and a prequel Web Comic and graphic novel written by Peter David.
A sequel Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two (selected from a batch of subtitles that also included Return of the Mad Doctor and Mystery on Mean Street) was released on multiple consoles in 2012 and features co-op play, with a second player controlling Oswald, who flies like a helicopter and attacks with electricity. The game is also a musical, with Mickey's moral choices affecting the tunes, and among the new areas open in Wasteland is Frontierland. Marv Wolfman (Teen Titans) co-wrote the script.
There is also a companion game for the Nintendo 3DS subtitled Power of Illusion, developed by DreamRift, the folks behind Henry Hatsworth and Monster Tale. Officially a followup to the Castle of Illusion series as well, the story has Mizrabel and the castle itself trapped in Wasteland. Seeking a way out, she tries draining the paint and cartoon essence out of famous toon residents of Mickey's world. Mickey must save his fellow toons and confront Mizrabel, repairing the damage with paint along the way.
Take note: it seems how much one will enjoy this game is extremely reliant on taste. Its pacing and design is heavily akin to Nintendo 64 platformers like Banjo-Kazooie, except modernized. Some will find the whole game brilliant, others will find it sub-par. The only real consensus is that the camera can be rather wonky (and perhaps a bit "Goofy"), but even then, some will find it less of a bother than others.
- Action Bomb: Spladooshes will sleep happily, but if they wake up...
- All There in the Manual: A currently-available free iOS app has stories of the Wasteland before Mickey messes it up.
- Ambiguously Gay: Pete Pan. He's a good fighter, but dear GOD, his body language...
- Amusement Park of Doom: Wasteland is, essentially, The Unhappiest Place On Earth/The Real Tragic Kingdom. After the incident, anyway. Before, it is clearly a tranquil retirement community for Disney's forgotten characters and rejected ideas.
- And I Must Scream: Ortensia's fate, as well as Clock Tower's if you Thinner it.
- Anti-Hero: If you play towards the dark side of the Karma Meter, Mickey can turn into one of these.
- Anti-Villain: Oswald the Lucky Rabbit toward the start of the game, up until you manage to meet him in Mickeyjunk Mountain: he actively sets obstacles in Mickey's way in order to get rid of him, but his reasons for this are sympathetic and understandable. And he secretly still could be considered an Anti-Villain after this until way later (see You Have Outlived Your Usefulness below). A definite Type II.
- Anti Frustration Feature: Mickey's reserves of Paint or Thinner will slowly return to one-third capacity if they ever fall below that amount.
- Apathetic Citizens: The citizens of OsTown and Mean Street doesn't seem to mind that their cities are literally the only places that The Mad Doctor and the Shadow Blot haven't conquered yet. Heck, they won't even react when Mickey goes Grand Theft Auto on them. Thankfully averted with the Gremlins, who seems to be the only people around who at least try to help you.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The Mad Doctor's Swiss-Army-torture-device has four settings: a large pair of shears, a massive corkscrew, a chainsaw, and at its highest setting (labelled with a skull and crossbones), a... toilet plunger? Even Mickey is surprised. And then he learns it's used for... unorthodox heart surgery...
- Art Attacker: Mickey uses a brush and paint thinner to Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
- Art Shift: Gameplay segments use a relatively orthodox graphical style reminiscent of Super Mario Galaxy. Cutscenes, however, are 2D and in a style influenced by the late Mary Blair, who did concept art for several Disney movies and the art for "It's A Small World".
- Ascended Fanboy: Warren Spector is a pretty big Disney fan.
- Ascended Glitch: Instead of deciding whether or not to get the treasure or save the gremlin, it is actually possible to save both. Thank the playtesters for this.
- The Atoner: Both Oswald and Mickey.
- Attention Deficit Ooh Shiny: Several of your foes can get easily distracted whenever a TV is placed in front of them. Including Oswald.
- Attract Mode: The opening prologue movie is even called "Attract Mode".
- Author Appeal: The reason why you're collecting pins is simply because Warren Spector himself collects Disney pins.
- Badass Adorable:
- Mickey, obviously, and probably Oswald too.
- The Bunny Kids: they're adorable and eat blotlings. Wait, what?
- Being Good Sucks: Not sucks, exactly, but concerning many of the Good/Bad choices you can make in the game, be it using Paint or Thinner or doing a Fetch Quest with two possible item choices; usually, the good choice is the harder to accomplish by far (three words: "Save the Sprite"), while doing the bad thing can take about two seconds.
- Big Bad Duumvirate: The Shadow Blot (now an Eldritch Abomination made of paint and thinner) and The Mad Doctor, described by Spector as being the "brawn and the brains" of the pairing, respectively.
- Big Boo's Haunt:
- Naturally, Lonesome Manor, based on The Haunted Mansion.
- The Lonesome Ghosts travel map as well, plus the aptly named The Haunted House.
- Big Damn Heroes: Attempted, but unfortunately subverted when Mickey and his friends try to use the Rocket to defeat the Shadow Blot.
- Black Magic: The thinner. You actually need it on occasion, but if you're doing a "good" playthrough, you won't be using it a lot.
- Blob Monster: The Shadow Blot.
- Body Horror:
- Quite a bit of this in the early concept art, and there's still some of this in the finished game. See the Dumbo Ride in Gremlin Village? They have no eyes.
- In the final game, Mickey absorbed some of the Blot when dragged into the Wasteland, resulting in him appearing to ooze drops of ink. If you favor using thinner, lots of ink will float off of him as a result.
- There was also a notion with Mickey's paint abilities to make it look as if he was channeling HIS OWN PAINT through the brush, but it looked too Narm-ish in testing by making Mickey look like he was getting male pattern baldness.
- Or even earlier when he was channeling thinner/paint with his HANDS, which then creates... this.
- And don't even get started on Oswald when he was the main villain... Phantom Blot Oswald anyone?
- Brain In a Jar: Animatronic Donald, Daisy and Goofy.
- Breaking the Bonds: How Mickey escapes the Mad Doctor in their first scene.
- Bridge Logic: An option for getting through the European section of Gremlin Village.
- Bubblegloop Swamp: Bog Easy, based on New Orleans Square from the parks. Of course the "Gloop" happens to be paint thinner...
- But Thou Must!: You can do things either by disregarding others, destroying things, and being a Jerkass, or by helping people out and giving your all to improve everyone's lives, but the story and all but two cutscenes are the same no matter what. The creators were disappointed by this, and are trying to make moral choices have more of an impact in the sequel.
- Camera Centering
- Camera Screw: One of the most common complaints so far. Word of God is that developing a camera for a 3D environment where walls and floors can appear and disappear at any time was a rather difficult challenge.
- With Nintendo handling publishing duties for the Japanese version, they're also looking to fix the camera issues for the new release.
- Captain Ersatz: Even though they predate them in initial designs, the game's portrayal of Gremlin Gus and the Gremlins will remind you a lot of Papa Smurf and The Smurfs.
- Chainsaw Good: The Mad Doctor's machine in the opening.
- Chair Reveal: Oswald does this in a cutscene.
- Chaste Toons: Averted with Oswald, who's had a lot of kids in the years he's been in the Wasteland: he's a rabbit, after all. And much to their father's chagrin, they adore "Uncle Mickey". His girlfriend Ortensia is a cat. Female cats are known to be VERY promiscuous.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder/The Starscream: The Mad Doctor betrayed Oswald when he lost the Blot Wars, and then he allied with the Blot: he plans to eventually betray the Blot as well, once Mickey's heart has been taken.
- Clockwork Creature:
- The Beetleworx enemies are robots constructed from random parts that have the faces of various Disney characters painted on them. Defeating them requires erasing the painted parts.
- The Small World Clocktower Boss as well.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The blue fluid is paint, and the green fluid is thinner.
- Comic Book Limbo: This is essentially the setting.
- Conspicuously Light Patch: The main way of identifying what you can use Paint or Thinner on. Surfaces with bright, vibrant colors are composed of Paint, while thinned objects leave ghostly silhouettes behind. Additionally, anything you can spin move to activate or smash for shineys flashes iridescent.
- Continuity Reboot: The fact that Oswald continued his career in animation and comics with Universal after Disney lost him, and even eventually looked like an actual rabbit, is completely ignored.
- Not necessarily ignored. Since Yen Sid himself didn't even exist (and thus could not have created the Wasteland) until 1940, and Oswald's last real appearance was about 1943, it's more likely the implication is that he continued to struggle as an "actor" for quite a few years before finally fading away completely into Mickey's shadow.
- Covered in Kisses: Oswald in the ending.
- Crapsack World: And it's Mickey's fault. However, the game's plot is about saving it. So it's more of A World Half Full.
- Mickey can use thinner to make it worse.
- Creative Closing Credits: Available right from the start in the Extras menu, featuring Blotlings doing various antics with the Brush.
- Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: What happened to Captain Hook and the members of his crew that were turned into Beetleworx. The latter can get better by turning back, the former without.
- Darker and Edgier: A loveable cartoon rabbit is portrayed as Mickey's jealous and semi-insane half-brother, living in a twisted nightmarish copy of Disneyland threatened by a mad scientist and a demonic monster, and the player has the option of turning Mickey back into the scrappy Anti-Hero he was back in the 30s.
- Deadly Rotary Fan: There are a series of these in the "World of Gremlins" dungeon (which imitates the "It's a Small World" ride). They spin too quickly for Mickey to easily get through unharmed, but he can use paint thinner to erase some of the blades long enough to pass by unscathed.
- Deadpan Snarker:
"I'd say good luck, but "heroes" don't need luck, right?"
- Defeat Means Friendship: For the purposes of quests that require combat, using Paint to befriend Blotlings counts the same as defeating them. This even applies to some of the bosses.
- Detectives Follow Footprints: A series of quests, given to you by the detective, involves you following footprints to the same guy every time, where you have to buy back stolen objects. If you paint all the footprints, the thief will give you the object for free.
- The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: A requirement, as there's not too much of a way to figure out what you're going to add/remove. One example is the Skull Island Machine, where you can a) do nothing, b) destroy the machine with thinner, or c) make it turn out cartoon characters with paint.
- Disney Death: Ortensia. Subverted (not in a good way) in that she had a Fate Worse Than Death, but all the same, she gets better.
- Double Jump
- Down in the Dumps: Mickeyjunk Mountain.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Warren Spector heavily emphasizes the concept "Playstyle Matters". If you defeat a boss with thinner or fail a series of quests, it's going to affect the game's ending, and it will turn out worse than if you had redeemed the boss with paint or completed that important questline.
- Egopolis: OsTown, named after the former king of Wasteland, Oswald. Complete with images of Oswald absolutely everywhere. Not to mention, according to the comics, apparently all of his children are named after him. All 420.
- Eldritch Abomination: Shadow Blot and the Beetleworx.
- Era Specific Personality: The original Karma Meter would have been based on this: would you play Mickey like the scrappy fighter he was in the early '30s, or like The Hero he was later in his career? You could've also opted to play on the middle of the road, and acted more like the straight man he was in the late '30s, and for a while after.
- Eternal Engine:
- Evil Is Easy: Frequently applies to the player. Many times, doing whatever it takes to get the "good" result in a quest requires more work then just blasting your obstacles with thinner. This frequently requires more creativity too: sometimes it's easy to fall into accepting the "bad" ending simply because you can't figure out how to resolve the problem with paint.
- Evil Laughter: Both The Mad Doctor and The Blot are fans of it. Lampshaded by Gus in a cutscene:
- Evil Makes You Ugly: Averted: while they did design an evil-looking "Scrapper" Mickey during development, they removed it from the final product, instead making it look like drops of ink are oozing off of him, just like the Shadow Blot. If you use more Thinner than paint, then more ink will ooze off as a result.
- Evil Overlooker: The Shadow Blot looks down on Mickey in this piece of art.
- Evil Tower of Ominousness: The first level Dark Beauty Castle, which is distantly visible from the game's main hub Mean Street.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: It's Mickey Mouse embarking on a truly epic adventure to salvage a lost world that he himself brought to ruin, all while dealing with the inhabitants, the twisted, nightmarish terrain, The Mad Doctor and his Beetleworx, his vengeful, long forgotten half-brother who he didn't even know about until he arrived in this world, and the ever-looming menace of the Shadow Blot Mickey unleashed onto the Wasteland. Epic Mickey, indeed.
- Exploding Calendar: Used to show Mickey's sudden rise to fame in the intro.
- Fairy Companion:
- Mickey can attract up to three "Guardian Spirits" depending on his use of Paint and Thinner, which can be launched at Blotlings to defeat them in a single shot.
- Not to mention (for a given definition of "Fairy") Gus, who fits a more conventional version of this role. He hovers about explaining things, introduces the new levels, asks if you want to enter/exit every building ever...
- Fat Bastard: The Spladooshes. Big Bad Pete, and the other versions of Pete (except Pete Pan) could also apply.
- Fighting a Shadow: Mickey's duel with the Shadow Blot on top of Mickeyjunk Mountain.
- Floating Continent: Wasteland appears to be made up of this.
- Follow the White Rabbit: A good part of the opening act is Mickey pursuing Oswald.
- Freelook Button
- Free Rotating Camera
- Gambit Pileup: The Mad Doctor is playing the Blot, Oswald is playing Mickey, the REAL Blot is behind everything...
- Gang Plank Galleon:
- Ventureland/Pirates of the Wasteland.
- The Travel Map Shanghaied as well. Fitting, considering it links Pirate Voyage to Skull Island.
- Genre Busting: Well, it is Mickey Mouse meets Deus Ex and System Shock. Plus, Warren Spector loves to drive Marketers Crazy with this trope.
- George Lucas Throwback: The entire game is one big love letter to Classic Disney in general, let alone The Golden Age of Animation. Warren Spector even commented that the game is supposed to draw a lot of influence from Fantasia.
- Giant Hands of Doom: The Small World clock boss.
- Good Is Not Nice: Mickey Mouse, depending on how you play.
- The Goomba: Spatter Blotlings.
- Grimy Water: It's paint thinner, actually, and looks/acts an awful lot like the Dip.
- Guide Dang It:
- Seriously. If you value your sanity at all, don't try to collect everything in this game without a source of help.
- Using lock-on targeting in combat (you have to place your cursor over the enemy you wish to target, then hold down the C button for about half a second). It isn't mentioned in the manual, and it's so downright counterintuitive at first that most reviewers didn't even know the feature existed.
- There's also the fact that you're supposed to point to where you want the anvils and TVs to go, which the game doesn't mention. It's entirely possible that you'll end up wasting several as you try to figure out why the TVs keep spawning 30 feet away above a bottomless pit.
- Figuring out how to beat the Small World Clock Tower by using paint can stump some people who don't know that you have to keep painting both of its arms until they're both fully blue and hopping on the one that lowers its palms in order to reach the face and then use paint on its face until it's redeemed.
- Haunted House: Lonesome Manor.
- Heart Container: Defeating a boss will reward you with an increased capacity for Paint or Thinner, depending on what you defeated him with. The player can also acquire (or purchase) upgrades to Mickey's HP.
- Heel Face Turn: Every villain except The Mad Doctor and the true Shadow Blot, assuming you defeated them with Paint (since Hook can't be defeated with paint, this involves freeing the Sprite so Pete Pan can fight Hook again).
- Heroic Sacrifice:
- Heroic Sociopath: Scrapper Mickey.
- Hive Mind: The Blotings function just like the Flood and the Necromorphs do, with one leading mind, in this case Shadow Blot, controlling the other, smaller creatures.
- Hopeless War: Before Mickey came to the Wastelands, Shadow Blot and the Mad Doctor had pretty much won the Blot War: they have conquered Oswald's castle and petrified his wife Ortensia, an act which sends him into a deep depression and causes him to lose his will to fight, leaving the fighting to small, weak bands of resistance groups. One of them, the crew of Captain Hook, has most of the members dead or turned into Beetleworx and the rest scattered leaderless in the jungle. Another group, the Gremlins, has been more successful in fighting off Blot's forces, but the sheer force of Blot's forces causes most of the Gremlins to be taken as prisoners, and their own village was under siege before Mickey helped in turning the tide.
- Hostage for Macguffin:
- Near the game's climax, the true Shadow Blot takes Oswald and Gus hostage and demands Mickey's heart in exchange for their safety.
- Meta-example: Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, even after 80 years, was still owned by NBC/Universal, not Disney. To get him back into their intellectual property, Disney gave Universal one of their sportscasters, Al Michaels. Interestingly, Walt himself was happy that Walter Lantz had been using Oswald and had been taken from Charles Mintz.
- Hub Level: As far as accessing the other levels, Mean Street serves as this, especially considering that its Disney Theme Parks counterpart, Main Street USA, is probably the best real-life example of the Trope.
- In a World: Played completely straight in this trailer made for Tokyo Game Show 2010. And it is awesome.
- In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: The game's initial concept was created by Matthew Stringer, Chris Takami and the eight college interns from Buena Vista Games in 2004, before Disney Interactive Studios brought in Warren Spector. More about this here.
- Insistent Terminology: At least on Video Game shows on, say, G4, they're very persistent in referring to it as 'Disney Epic Mickey'. As if we'd ever forget who Mickey's affiliated with.
- Interspecies Romance:
- When Mickey gets one of Hook's pirates to admit his love for Henrietta the Cow.
Gus: "Personally, I give them a few months, tops."
- Ironic Nursery Tune:
- A non-reversed but creepy "Small World" plays during the Clock Tower boss fight.
- A somber rendition of the tune of "Once Upon a Dream is incorporated into the music of Dark Beauty Castle.
- Jerkass: Scrapper Mickey.
- Jungle Japes:
- Well, there's this area in Venture Land called The Jungle...
- The travel map based on the 1929 short Jungle Rhythm looks to fit the Trope too.
- Karma Meter: More along the lawful/chaotic axis than good/evil: it's a choice between the Jerkass Mickey began as, The Hero he became, or something in between. Both sides have their own abilities via the Guardians, and some level areas are only accessible to certain alignment choices.
- La Résistance: The Gremlins. They're one of the few groups still actively fighting the Shadow Blot.
- Leitmotif: Mickey and Oswald have their own distinctive themes.
- Limelight Series
- Lost Forever: Every single action stage. According to this article, once you clear an action stage, you can't go back. Oh, and the game autosaves after important decisions. According to the dev team, this is so that players can't go back on their choices.
- Fortunately, there's a New Game+ option that allows you to go back to old levels.
- Macross Missile Massacre: A fireworks version is used to defeat the real Shadow Blot.
- Manipulative Bastard: The Mad Doctor is manipulating the Blot for his own means. Oswald is manipulating Mickey to build the rocket for him.
- Market-Based Title:
- For some reason, the words of the title were swapped in the German version, so it's called "Mickey Epic".
- The Japanese version just added to the title so it's called "Disney Epic Mickey: Mickey Mouse and the Magic Brush".
- Mercy Invincibility: Cruelly averted... fall into a pool of thinner without a nearby platform (or end up underneath one), and you're almost guaranteed to quickly lose all of your health pips. And the Camera Screw the game often offers doesn't help at all.
- The Messiah: Hero Mickey.
- Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: Mickey.
- Minecart Madness:
- Shown in a concept pic at the London press conference.
- In game, a variation of this Trope appears in the Travel Map Trolley Troubles. You don't have to stay atop the trolley, but it is necessary to keep it with you and to open gates for it to complete the map. May cross over with a strange type of Escort Mission.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: Sort of. The Beetleworx appear to be made up of Disney characters. For instance, this little fella has parts of Benny the cab from Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, as well as the head of Hades and twin guns from a Lilo and Stitch spaceship.
- Was, rather. The Hades Beetleworx, as well as the Jiminy Cricket Beetleworx, are nowhere to be seen in game, whereas the type the latter would be is also not seen in the game at all. Hades has been replaced with a mix of a Lightcycle and one of the dinosaur-like guards from Lilo and Stitch, and Lady Grimhilde. You know, the lady that tried to poison Snow White. The Body to this Beetleworx is also the Poison Apple.
- Not to be confused with the animatronic Donald, Goofy and Daisy seen around the park. These guys used to repair the Wasteland, and assign the forgotten characters to where they would live. After the Thinner Disaster, everybody just kind of did their own thing.
- Mook Maker: The Beetleworx creators which will spit out another Beetleworx as soon as you've destroyed one. The real Shadow Blot is one of these too, since all the Blotlings and the small Shadow Blot are just pieces that escaped out of the bottle.
- Morally-Ambiguous Doctorate: The Mad Doctor, natch. Emphasis on "ambiguous": while he has helped Oswald by building the robot versions of Mickey's friends and the maintenance Beetleworx, he switched to the Blot's side when he started winning and is now his partner in the Big Bad Duumvirate.
- Motor Mouth: Oswald. Just try to keep up with what he's saying when you first meet him.
- Multiple Endings: Depending on how you fought the bosses. Although it seems that only what happens to certain characters changes in the various endings.
- New Game+: Film reels and pins carry over between playthroughs.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: What started the whole mess. Later, the entire mess could have been finished, except Oswald's What the Hell, Hero? starts it over again.
- No Fourth Wall: Seriously, the plot focuses on cartoon characters who are jealous and/or depressed because they're not popular with audiences anymore! Heck, the only fourth wall the characters don't break is their relation to the actual player.
- Nostalgia Level: The 2D side-scrolling "travel zones", which take their inspiration from Classic Disney Shorts, including:
- "Clock Cleaners".
- "Thru The Mirror".
- "Steamboat Willie" (seems heavily inspired by the one in the Genesis/SNES game Mickey Mania).
- Three Oswald cartoons, including "Oh, What A Knight".
- "The Mad Doctor".
- Sleeping Beauty
- Fantasia, based on "The Sorcerer's Apprentice", with butterflies from "The Nutcracker Suite".
- And one non-2D section, Mickeyjunk Mountain, seems to be designed with this in mind. It's a level made out of old merchandise. A lot of it seems to be ancient, sure, but it also includes Super Nintendo and NES cartridges starring Mickey.
- Not-So-Innocent Whistle: Oswald the Lucky Rabbit will shoot faces at Mickey when his back is turned. Turn around to face him again, and he'll start whistling innocently. If you turn around while in first person view, however, he doesn't stop teasing you.
- Notice This: "Toon" objects (surfaces affected by Paint or Thinner) are lighter and more vibrantly colored than objects surrounding them: even when thinned, they leave a ghostly silhouette behind so the player can recognize that something's supposed to go there. This is similar to the Conspicuously Light Patch of traditional cel animations, where foreground objects were lighter tone than background objects due to being placed on a separate layer.
- Not So Different: Oswald and Mickey. According to Word of God, Oswald and Shadow Blot count as this too. They both want to be famous in Real Life and use Mickey's heart in order to become that, and they're both willing to use less than morally right ways to get that heart: Oswald through deception and Shadow Blot through brute force.
- Not the Fall That Kills You: Between Mickey's Double Jump, his spin attack, and his brush techniques, there are many ways to soften his momentum before actually impacting the ground.
- Oh Crap:
- Mickey's face when he looks up and finds himself strapped down on a operation table in a dungeon.
- And Oswald: when he finds out that Mickey caused the thinner disaster, he literally dances with rage, challenging Mickey to a fight. He only remembers that he is dancing on the cork sealing the real Shadow Blot just as it cracks. His face and body language are priceless.
- Older Than They Look: Pretty much everyone. The game basically has No Fourth Wall and acknowledges time passed in Real Life. As cartoon characters, no one is really affected by aging. For example, Oswald and Mickey are 83 and 82, respectively, when this game takes place.
- One-Winged Angel: As if things weren't bad enough, one of the concept arts (shown in Nintendo Power) shows a painted picture of Shadow Blot, ten times larger than before and having horns a lá Chernabog.
- One Hundred Percent Completion: Requires multiple playthroughs, as several pins are mutually exclusive rewards of defeating or befriending each boss.
- One Steve Limit:
- Averted: there are two extras named Ian. No attention is brought to this, though the game distinguishes them by referring to the pirate as "One Eyed Ian" and the ghost simply as "Ian".
- Then there's Constance, the one who was the original owner of the Lonesome Manor who was suspected to have killed all her husbands with the hatchet that you have to find for Horace, and there's the NPC Constance you can randomly talk to in Ventureland if you rescue the pirates.
- Percussive Maintenance: The gremlins can fix anything by whacking it with a wrench. Also how Oswald gets the rocket to work.
- Playing Tennis With the Boss: Petetronic.
- Plucky Comic Relief: Mickey's sidekick Gus, a gremlin veteran from a scrapped World War II Disney cartoon.
- Powered Armor: Petetronic has this in the form of augmentations to his outfit.
- Port Town: Pirate Voyage and Tortooga qualify. They are based on the village from Pirates of the Caribbean, after all. Pirate Voyage even has little boats you can ride on.
- Puzzle Boss: Captain Hook: paint has no effect on him, and Thinner merely dissolves his armor. You can either free the captured Sprite from the top of the rigging (with Hook dogging your steps), or use the various tracks scattered about the arena to extend the plank and send Hook down to the animatronic Crocodile waiting for him in the waters.
- Or you can simply continue to send Hook careening into the ship's walls, masts and deck boards until he breaks apart from all the repeated impacts.
- Redemption in the Rain: Justified. It "rains" paint during the ending, restoring the Wasteland to its original state.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning:
- Remilitarized Zone: The travel map based on the Oswald cartoon "Great Guns".
- The Mouse himself, with a design and personality hearkening back to the twenties and thirties (true to form, his mouse ears shift position to retain the characteristic "Mickey Mouse" shape).
- Special mention, however, must go to the "Scrapper Mickey" design, which goes all the way back to "Plane Crazy" for inspiration.. or, at least it did, before getting dropped.
- Rise to the Challenge: One of the 2.5D Fantasia stages late in the game has a rising flood of paint thinner.
- Robot Buddy: Oswald tries to keep his sanity with the help of his robot friends. They [dead link] aren't all that well put together though.
- Rule of Three: Hero, Wastelander and Scrapper.
- Save Scumming: Averted. The game auto-saves after just about every karma-related decision you make, forcing you to live with whatever consequences result from it, and there is no other way to save the game.
- Scenery Porn: The Wasteland is beautiful in its own way.
- Sequel Hook: After the ending credits, Mickey is sealed away from the Wasteland... but his finger starts dripping ink, which means that some of the Shadow Blot's ink is still in him. Could Mickey potentially become the next Blot? Nah, it just means Mickey would still have the ability to go into the Wasteland.
- Sequence Breaking: The developers actually encouraged playtesters to sequence break, and then put it into the finished product and called it a feature. If anything, this can only continue now that it's released... Here's an example. In Tomorrow City, try dropping a TV on the first platform last. This platform is the only one that electrifies the tracks, so you won't have to dodge them to get to the other platforms to power those up. However, unless you had some gremlin aid, the electricity is a much better thing to dodge than the thing it replaces when all three are powered. If you don't sequence break in the above way, you are much closer to the gate after dodging the electricity. Hence, this is actually a pretty equal trade-off.
- Shielded Core Boss: All Beetleworx have a layer of Paint armor that the player must dissolve via Thinner before they can inflict a damaging blow: the Beetleworx regenerate their armor after each hit.
- Shout-Out: Has its own page, again.
- Shown Their Work:
- Besides including some of the more obvious theme park icons, some sketches even feature early Disneyland icons like the Moonliner and Clock of the Future. Not to mention that the whole game is about obscure characters (such as an unused version of Smee from Peter Pan) coming back to the spotlight.
- The Gremlins are from an unmade World War 2 film, though were still used in some military unit insignia and comics.
- In at least one interview, Warren Spector mentioned that even such seemingly insignificant elements as individual barrels were taken from Disney history. THAT'S showing your work.
- You remember the basketball court inside the Matterhorn? Yeah, guess what, it's actually IN the game in a hidden room on Mickeyjunk Mountain.
- You can also unlock access to Walt Disney's firehouse apartment on Mean Street.
- Shows Damage: All enemies (including bosses) gradually turn blue or green when struck by Paint or Thinner. Beetleworx in particular must have their armor dissolved away to reveal their weak points.
- Skippable Boss: Certain boss battles can be avoided if you made the right decisions.
- Starfish Robots: The Beetleworx, especially the Spinners and Tankers. Spinners have tick-like bodies and a wheel at the bottom: if Mickey gets too close, they use the wheel to travel as the legs become spinning blades. Tankers are mobile gatling gun turrets, some of which have paint jobs based on the Queen from Snow White.
- Not quite as heavily present as the concept art led many to believe, but elements of the style are still there: most notably in the Clock Cleaners level and the animatronic designs for Donald, Daisy and Goofy.
- Some of Mickeyjunk Mountain looks a little bit similar to the old Steampunk concept art, only toned down a whole lot more. Try comparing it to the concept art with the toppled over water tower to some of the places you see in Mickey Junk Mountain.
- Stepford Smiler: Isn't it weird on how cheerful and optimistic the peoples of OsTown and Mean Street are when their entire world is nothing but Godforsaken and dead wastelands, ruled by a Eldritch Abomination made by paint and dissolving Thinner and his traitorous right hand of a Mad Scientist and occupied by Skynet's death-machines and The Heartless?
- Storming the Castle: For the Endgame, of course.
- Strong Family Resemblance: Mickey and Oswald. Justified by the fact that the former was originally created to be a Captain Ersatz for the latter.
- Super Drowning Skills: If you even touch a DROP of water or any other liquid thats not thinner in the projector screen 2D levels, you will loose a health pip and can melt and/or drown.
- Sure Why Not: At a panel, Warren Spector mentioned that he limited the references to other Disney films up to The Jungle Book in order to prevent himself from going overboard. Peter David, on the same panel, mentioned that The Jungle Book was, incidentally, the last film Walt Disney had a direct hand in making, so Warren Spector said that was the official reason from now on.
- Take a Third Option: Unlike the other bosses, there are three ways to defeat Captain Hook. You can make him walk the plank, force him to smash into walls until he breaks, or have Pete Pan fight him instead.
- Taken for Granite: Ortensia the cat. She's restored to normal in the ending.
- This Is Sparta: From the "Clocktower Cleaners" digicomic, Oswald has:
"Don't... bring... up... MICE!"
- The Three Trials: Mickey has to go through three 2D action stages in Mickeyjunk Mountain based on old Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoons in order to meet with said rabbit.
- Tomorrowland: Tomorrow City, the Wasteland's equivalent of the real-life Trope Namer. It even has a Tron look, complete with Tron Lines.
- Took a Level in Badass: The
PhantomShadow Blot, according to Warren Spector, who says he was a lame villain, and they decided to make him a bit more powerful.
- Toon: Most of the main characters. The Beetleworx, weirdly enough, combine elements of this and Eldritch Abomination.
- Toon Town:
- Trailers Always Spoil: The commercials for the game spoil the Shadow Blot's defeat by fireworks.
- Trauma Conga Line: Oswald the "Lucky" Rabbit has been caught in one for 80 years.
- Tron Lines: Covering Wasteland's version of Tomorrowland, Tomorrow City.
- Underground Monkey: Spatter Blotlings and Beetleworx adopt different outfits and textures depending on which level you encounter them in.
- Video Game Caring Potential: Dost thou remain an ideally friendly mouse...
Gus: "It's true what they say about you, you can make friends with anybody."
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: ...or regress back to what thou once were?
- You can even melt NPCs with thinner!
- There's a part in the first level where you can choose to let an innocent gremlin get launched so you can get a few quick bucks. Seriously.
Gus: "Hey! Our land is barren enough without your help!"
- You can befriend baddies, then knock them off a ledge, knock them into a space with an unpainted object, then paint in the object, and lots of other cruel methods that won't necessarily influence your Karma Meter.
- Visual Pun: If you decide to be a good little Mickey and change back the animatronic pirates in Tortooga, one of the many symbols that the reversed machine will show is a screw and a baseball. Yeah.
- Voice Grunting: Yen Sid is the only one who gives any audio narration; everyone else simply grunts, with the actual dialogue in subtitles. Averted in the sequel. It's been confirmed that everyone will have voiced dialogue.
- Walk the Plank: One of the ways of dealing with Animatronic Hook is to push him along the tracks on his ship to the plank... and right into the maw of Animatronic Tick Tock the Croc...
- Wartime Cartoon: The Gremlins were originally from an unmade one of these... based on an idea by Roald Dahl, no less.
- What Could Have Been: The setting is an In-Universe example, with some characters lamenting things turned out differently. Oswald is especially like this. In real life, many gamers who followed the development of the game from the beginning, feel that the final product was significantly lacking in the kind of surreal, eldritch horror that much of the concept art was promising. One wonders what game we might have gotten if the developers had simply seen how much they could get away with...
- What the Hell, Hero?:
- Most characters, including all of the extras, will call Mickey out on some level if he tends to use and abuse thinner. Negative major choices will also change how major characters view you. Interestingly enough, some characters will call you out for not being as edgy as they would have liked you to be if you use paint.
- And Gremlin Gus's basic reaction if and when Mickey chooses a treasure chest full of E-tickets over the safety of Gremlin Calvin and sends him flying via catapault.
- When Mickey finally admits that he caused the Thinner Disaster, Oswald becomes livid. Unfortunately, this becomes Oswald's time to do a Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.
- After completing one of Pete's "Bunny Kid Round-Up" quests on Mean Street, Oswald will complain if you talk to him. Of course, if you don't complete them, then Pete will be pissed and won't become a nicer person in the end of the game.
- Untrue, you simply need to do all of the Pete-related missions, helping Small, Peteronic, Pete Pan, and getting Colonel Pete's films.
- Where It All Began: Dark Beauty Castle is both the tutorial level and The Very Definitely Final Dungeon where Mickey and Oswald make their stand against the Shadow Blot.
- Window Love: Mickey and Oswald in the mirror at the end of the game.
- Womb Level: The final level takes place inside the Shadow Blot.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The smaller Shadow Blot. His motives are just like Oswald's: he wants to be famous and loved by the people in Real Life. If you used paint, after Mickey's climactic battle with it, he gives Mickey a big hug, leading Gus to marvel: "Huh? He's actually kind of... sweet."
- World-Wrecking Wave: The Thinner Disaster.
- X Meets Y: While Kingdom Hearts was essentially Disney meets Final Fantasy, Epic Mickey is, in a sense, American McGee meets Disney... OR Deus Ex meets Mickey Mouse, with just a hint of Mother 3.
- You All Look Familiar: Justified! Mickey lampshades the similar appearances of many characters on his first walk through Mean Street. Gus describes them as "rough drafts", "extras" and concepts of characters "left and forgotten on the drawing board".
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: It is implied that Oswald planned to steal Mickey's heart and escape Wasteland once he got all the pieces needed to build the Moonliner Rocket. Fortunately, he has a change of heart when Mickey defeats both the Mad Doctor and the Blot.
- Zombie Gait: The lost cartoon souls inside the Shadow Blot.