- Alternative Character Interpretation: In SPADES.
- Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, former mascot of Disney with a similar personality to Mickey, is now a bitter and distrusting fellow.
- Also, in the comics and cartoons, the Phantom Blot was just a thief dressed in all black (or the Doctor Doom of Disney in his early appearances and European comics): here, he's been upgraded into a monstrosity made out of ink.
- Mickey himself has been reverted back from smiling The Everyman back into the courageous, mischievous, semi-hero who doesn't know when to quit messing with things he was to begin with.
- Anti-Climax Boss: The final boss. You shine some lights in his face, then go inside him and perform surgery. It's challenging, but not really the fight you'd expect, especially after the epic build-up in Dark Beauty Castle just before it.
- Awesome Music:
- Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The UFO challenge. Gremlin Roger tells you to go to the UFO and "face your destiny". Once you do, spatters seem to teleport in, at which point Gus will say this isn't part of the ride and he thinks the UFO came from space. Once you beat the spatters you get a pin from a chest with a slightly different design than the rest, which also seemed to be teleported onto the platform, then you leave with no explanation.
- Character Rerailment: The game aims to bring the character back to the "mischievous mouse" from The Golden Age of Animation.
- Crazy Awesome: Disney. Yes, the company. Think about how the first meetings for this game must have gone: "Hey, you know Mickey Mouse? The extremely marketable character you last used in an educational show for children? We want to make an extremely dark video game about him." "Okay." "On the Wii." "Okay." "We're bringing in the guy who made Deus Ex to direct it." "Sure." "You'll have to buy back the rights to characters no one has cared about in nearly a century." "On it." "Here's the concept art.◊" "Nice work." "Here's the opening sequence." "Cool." Seriously, what.
- Putting it on the Wii makes sense, at least — after all, Mickey Mouse is Disney's most mainstream character, and the Wii is unarguably the most mainstream-friendly console available at the time.
- Ensemble Dark Horse: Oswald has been Big in Japan for some time, but the game gives him ample time in the spotlight.
- This is especially true in North America. As Walt Disney World has TONS of Oswald merchandise, from stuffies, to t-shirts, mugs, pins, car antenna bobbers even Oswald ear hats to compliment the iconic Mickey ear ones. Despite most wouldn't know who he was unless they've played Epic Mickey or watched the original shorts.
- Gateway Series: If you haven't been following Oswald's history before, you sure will now. Many newer fans of the character and his franchise can trace their source of interest to this game.
- Growing the Beard: The whole game is pretty much this for video games made by Disney without outside help.
- Harsher in Hindsight:
- While the game world is based on Disneyland, the fact that the Disney World's Toontown is gone as of February 2011 means it has been consigned to the Wasteland.
- Tomorrow City, based on Tomorrowland, has elements of TRON within it. Sadly, in 2015, the film Tomorrowland destroyed the TRON franchise (apart from TRON Run/r, but at the cost of another franchise).
- Heartwarming in Hindsight: All Oswald wanted was to be remembered and beloved again. Thanks to this game, he is.
- Hilarious in Hindsight:
- In 2008, GameTrailers listed Warren Spector on a list of Top 10 Game Creators, noting that he (at the time) hadn't been heard of since his company was bought by Disney. The narrator facetiously added, "Here's hoping for a Mickey Mouse/Deadly Shadows crossover."
- Hype Backlash: Lots of people were disappointed that the finished game wasn't the Lovecraftian steampunk-like type of game, with its promising Cain and Abel and Jekyll & Hyde subplots, that it was hyped out to be when the first concept arts were released.
- I Am Not Shazam: The Mad Doctor is named after the original short he starred in, rather than his actual name, Dr. XXX. Given that XXX is commonly known to stand for porn these days, however, this is probably for the best.
- Memetic Mutation: During the time period it was thought Oswald was going to be the Big Bad, /co/ made him out to be either the Disney counterpart to Liquid Snake or an insanely creepy and jealous Eldritch Abomination constantly running with ink and blood. Also The Virus.
- KILL THE MOUSE, TAKE HIS HOUSE. KILL THE MOUSE TAKE HIS HOUSE, KILLTHEMOUSETAKEHISHOUSE.
- This right after hearing "It's a Small World" backwards.It'S A WoRLD oF PAiN....iT's A WoRLD oF TeARS....
iT's A WoRLD oF SiN AnD YoUR PriMAL FeARs.....
iT's A WoRLD MaDe oUt Of YoUr BrOkEn DrEaMs.....
iT's A SmAll...SmAll WoRLDnote
- A less scary one includes depicting Oswald with a wooden mallet. It seems to have spanned from a fan-artist referencing the "Little Bunny Foo Foo" nursery rhyme (what with the bunny picking up field mice and "bopping them on the head"). It often includes Oswald attempting to "bop" Mickey with his wooden mallet only for another character (usually Ortensia) to stop him. The mallet even shows up in Oswald fanarts where Mickey is nowhere to be seen.
- Nausea Fuel: In the latter half of the game, the Blot's Bloticles are destroyed by drenching their blisters with thinner, with an overall effect like pus.
- Also, the effects of using thinner on the Small World Clock Tower. Once you make it break its arms, the streams of green fluid that gush out of small pipes in its arm look almost exactly like uncontrolled arterial bleeding.
- Older Than They Think: First, this wasn't the Mad Doctor's first appearance in a Mickey Mouse video game or even as a boss in one. Second, the concept of Mickey being Trapped in Another World and needing to find a way to escape from it and return home has been used in World of Illusion. Third, this is the third Mickey game to feature the Lonesome Ghosts, the first two being The Magical Quest 2/Great Circus Mystery and Mickey Mania.
- Tainted by the Preview: Slowly crept in with the first screenshots, with the alterations from the initial preview not quite as Darker and Edgier as the concept art was, or that the in-game graphics didn't look as pretty as Super Mario Galaxy.
- That One Attack: His thinner hadouken is massive, and is practically impossible to dodge if you are close to him. And he loves to use it when you are.
- That One Boss: The fight with the Mad Doctor and his Beetleworx.
- Especially trying to figure out how to beat him the "nice" way.
- Robot Captain Hook, especially if you're trying to get the thinner upgrade.
- The Shadow Blot atop Mickeyjunk Mountain WILL kill you several times in your first playthrough, and when you think you know him. It doesn't help that you can fall off the arena while you're trying to dodge his attacks.
- That One Level: The Asia Boat Ride is unbelievably frustrating, mostly because there's practically nowhere safe to jump thanks to you being surrounded by an ocean of thinner.
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: The game has a tendency to use different versions (e.g. animatronics) of popular characters rather than using actual forgotten characters. Ones that are forgotten tend to be changed so they're more powerful rather than working with their original concepts.
- Unpopular Popular Character: Deliberately invoked by Warren Spector, who loved Oswald and wanted to make him more popular. Sure enough, the more the game showed that Oswald was forgotten, lonely and desperate for recognition, the more fans loved him and swore that he was as good as or better than Mickey.
- Win Back the Crowd: The whole "angle" of this game, and we don't mean "putting Mickey into a current trend" in this case.
- The Woobie: OSWALD. He could very well be the poster boy example of the Western Animation Woobie in this game. Life sucks when your half-brother usurped your popularity and became a major icon, while you became a footnote in history books, only known or cared about by the most dedicated animation fans.
- First, he was abandoned by his own father over a dispute with Charles Mintz, and when Walter Lantz took over the cartoons, Walt openly approved of Lantz using Ozzie — even though Lantz would eventually derail Oswald from his cartoony roots and turn him into a cutesy Funny Animal in an attempt to cash in on Disney (ironically). And it only got worse when his half-brother Mickey Mouse usurped Oswald's original popularity, which, coupled with Lantz's derailment of the character, as well as the gradual rise of Screwy Squirrel characters over cute funny animals in the early 40's (including Universal's own new character, Woody Woodpecker) sent Oswald to his grave in 1943, after limping by for the last several years. You would think that in the world for forgotten Disney characters he would have finally gotten the happy ending he deserved - but no, things got even WORSE for him. Said half-brother just happened to accidentally spill a jug of paint thinner onto Yen Sid's world, which wound up ruining the whole place by turning it into a savage wasteland, as well as unleashing the Shadow Blot upon the place, which would lead the entire world into even more mayhem and ruin, forcing Oswald and any remaining resistance underground. And by the time Mickey is dragged there by the Shadow Blot itself, Oswald has built robotic copies of Mickey's friends to accompany him just to keep himself from going completely insane. And on top of that, he becomes jealous and hateful of Mickey so as to be an active obstacle. So much for him being a "lucky rabbit."
- Seems like the game has its own meta Wastelanders of its own. Matthew Stringer and Chris Takami as well as the 8 other interns from Disney Interactive Studios were the initial core creative group that really started the idea of Epic Mickey. But they rarely, if at all, get any credit for their work.
- Also Ortensia. This apparently runs in the family, considering their bunny children that are looking at her picture inside her house and are crying over her portrait and waiting for their mom to come home.
- Interestingly, though, the comics and the game seem to take the view that Oswald really is quite lucky; he has a loving family, friends who admire him, and a land made in his own image. If he could only put his jealousy of Mickey behind him (as he seems to do by the end of the game), he'd be happy.
YMMV / Epic Mickey