Do you want to fix the Dumbo ride, or do you want to make it fall apart?
At E3 2010, I got a basic overview of Epic Mickey's gameplay mechanics and levels. Recently, at a press event in New York City, I got to check out a bit more, starting off with the intro video.
The video shows how Yensid (the magician from The Sorcerer's Apprentice. Also, Disney backwards) designed this world of forgotten Disney characters, and then Mickey came in and screwed it all up, accidentally creating the Phantom Blot. Years later, the Blot drags Mickey into the world. The Blot is ruling over the world with an iron fist with the Mad Doctor and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit off in the shadows. After Mickey's dragged in, the Mad Doctor tries to destroy him with a giant machine. This is where you take over.
This opening area, a castle that appears to be the Mad Doctor's stronghold, introduces you to the basic controls of the game. You can run, jump, smack enemies and crates, and use paint and thinner. The paint and thinner will fend off enemies or reveal/hide 'toon' parts of the world, which opens up puzzle possibilities. After making handy work of the machine by activating switches that damage it, you're free to explore the area. There wasn't too much to do in the demo outside of bust open crates and solve some elementary paint/thinner puzzles, such as thinning out a floor so a boulder blocking your way will fall to the ground. You'll revisit the area later in the game, though.
The next section I saw was a version of Fantasyland that included several rides, namely Dumbo the Flying Elephant and Mad Tea Party. You have many options here. I helped restore the Dumbo ride, which led me to a bonus item (for more on those, check this out), and then I used thinner to make the teacups break completely apart, which lead me to another bonus, but restricted another one. Apparently there will be tons of decisions like this throughout the game that will alter what you have access to later in the game.
I also played two new 2D platforming sections based on other Mickey Mouse cartoons. Like the other ones shown, the two I saw were short and visually appealing, featuring knights and Clarabelle Cow. There are multiple paths in each one, with collectibles littering the harder paths.
I'm really looking forward to Epic Mickey. While I still feel a lot of the game is under wraps, I'm anxious to check out the finished product when it hits on November 30. Apparently, the game will clock in at 12-to-15 hours according to the developer, and feature a bit of replayability because of all the choices you can make.