So I finished playing Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion. It's charming, it's beautiful, and it's absolutely worth your time - especially if you're a fan of Disney in general, but also if you're a fan of great art- and sprite-work being put into video games. If there's one major complaint I have about this game, it's that it was way too short.
Power of Illusion takes place after the events of Epic Mickey, but can be enjoyed independently of it. You've got the familiar paint/thinner mechanics, plus sketches; but besides that the game is more of an ode to Castle of Illusion and old 2D platformers, with a soundtrack that's reminiscent of, again, Epic Mickey.
After sucking all of the game play I possibly could out of Power of Illusion, I finally beat it and got to the end credits yesterday. I tried to artificially extend my game time by doing all of the side quests, rescuing all of the characters around the castle, and exploring all of the levels as many times as those quests called for it. But really, I feel like the game could have benefit so much by adding at least two more worlds. There were only three worlds with just a few stages each, so the game could be beat in an obscenely short amount of time quite easily.
The game mechanics were solid, albeit slightly repetitive. It made spectacular use of the dual screen, but the painting and thinning ended up being repetitive, having to paint and thin the same objects (using the stylus to outline said objects) in and out of existence over and over again, and there were very few opportunities to really make full use of the sketches. The pacing and everything was fantastic, and I loved how dynamic things became when the underwater world was introduced. I expected there to be another world behind it with even more wacky stages, but that ended up being the last one.
Another thing that was kind of weird is, though all of the princesses who appeared in the castle were still at the beginning of their respective storylines (Aurora was still with her aunts, Cinderella hadn't been to the ball, Tiana was still a frog, Rapunzel was still in her tower, etc.), some of them were wearing their iconic dresses. Ariel, Rapunzel, Snow White, Jasmine, and Mulan escaped this treatment, but Cinderella was in her ball gown, Aurora was in her pink gown from the end of the movie, and Tiana was in her frog-style wedding dress. I chalked it up to it just being another aspect of the illusory castle - that the princesses were whisked away and locked in while wearing some kind of dream outfit - but the weird continuity issues with that design decision still kind of stuck out. No, it isn't really a make-or-break problem with the game, nor does it hinder your game play whatsoever. It's just something I was thinking about.
After beating the final boss, the end credits were actually pretty satisfying. There's a great parade of the various characters you rescued coming in and having some final chit chat with Mickey before they went back to their own worlds. Some of them, like Ariel, were talking about the problems they were having at that point in their storylines, and even asked Mickey and Jiminy Cricket for advice or otherwise accepted some encouragement from them. Others were just ready to get home and keep on with their mission, like Rapunzel, who was getting ready to leave her tower, and Mulan, who needed to get to the Imperial City and save China. This was a little extra thing that I appreciated as a fan, since I was able to see where those characters came from.
I recommend the game, even though it felt like it was too short. Pool some money with your friends and just buy a copy to pass around if you don't think it's worth its retail value based on hours of enjoyment, or borrow it from someone you know! Again, it's absolutely worth your time, and you'll find it extra charming if you're also attached to the characters and properties referenced in the story.