Reviews: Mickey Mania

Looks pretty, plays like garbage

British outfit Traveler's Tales, having since renamed themselves to TT Games and pumped out their Lego Adaptation Game series and found a formula they can repeat endlessly, has always been a hack studio, pumping out games that are based on good ideas, but which themselves range from awful to kind of decent. Lego City Undercover is the only good game they ever made, and that's probably because Nintendo was involved in its production and helped advise on its design.

Here, back in the mid-90s, we get a platformer that intends to pay tribute to Mickey Mouse from his distant past to his recent past. Each level is based on a different Mickey Mouse cartoon, from shorts, to full-length movies.

The idea is really neat, and the animation, done by Disney animators, has nice looking frames although it's not terribly fluid in terms of the actual number of those frames. Mickey also lets out some nice voice clips from time to time. Also, the way the first level starts out in grayscale and gradually has more and more color get added to the world, is a cool detail.

That's it as far as positives go. The actual gameplay is pure garbage. The hit detection is awful. Mickey can take damage when it's clear he didn't even touch the enemy. The jumping and overall movement mechanics feel floaty - as floaty as the actual animation itself looks, or even moreso!

A lot of the challenge comes from horrible hit detection meeting large enemies which in some cases can't be hurt, annoying enemy placement, being hit by projectiles flying from offscreen, and having to dodge lots of tiny projectiles in a sort of platformer Bullet Hell. For example, if you kill a skeleton in the "Mad Doctor" level, bones fly and bounce in every direction. So you have to move Mickey's proportionally large body out of the way by jumping or ducking, or hoping the bones leave enough of an opening for you to position yourself in between them.

The presentation is terrible. The boss fight against the Mad Doctor ends with him... just standing there as Mickey suddenly decides to walk right past him, signifying that he completed the level. What? Nothing flows well, and every segment feels disconnected from the previous.

This is just an awful game passing itself off by being attached to a cool idea, a perfect example of hackery.