Wonder World Amusement ParkESRB:
Platform: Nintendo Wii
***For those wondering why my “Tilt” is relatively higher then this review would reflect, it has to do with the time I spent playing the game with my four year old daughter and the enjoyment we had playing it together***
Nunchuk and Wii-Remote compatible
Amusement Parks have always intrigued me with their rides and their games. I have quite a few fond memories of walking through various amusement parks with friends or family eating corndogs and running around all the rides that were there. However in today’s age a trip to any amusement park is going to set you back quite a few dollars given how the price for everything has gone up in price. Well Majesco has recently released a game to help all of us get back to the amusement park with a minimal hit to our pocketbooks. Wonder World Amusement Park is a game for the Wii with 30 mini-games and five unlockable rides for you and your family to enjoy. So, does Majesco’s home version of an amusement park get the job done? Read on...
If there is one word that I can use to describe the graphics in Wonder World, it is simple. They definitely don’t take advantage of the Wii’s hardware in an effort to present a solid visual image on screen, and this is somewhat disappointing. I was hoping that given the source material that the game would look really good. However this is not the case. Each mini-game is very simple looking and just manages to do what it takes to get the job done. There is nothing that particularly jumps out in this area as the colors seem somewhat muted and not as bright and vibrant as we have become accustomed to on the Wii. I guess when I think of an amusement park setting I get the image of bright lights, lots of color, and lots of stuff going on. Here in Wonder World though this is not the case. Bottomline, the Wii is much more capable of what is on-screen for this game, and I can’t help but feel disappointed in the visuals for a game that I expected a whole lot more.
The audio in Wonderland is definitely a mixed affair. On one hand you have a solid effort in the music area. It is very appropriate and manages to sound like that which you would hear when perusing the midway or games area of an amusement park. It could get repetitive now and then, but it wasn’t anything grating. On the other hand though, there were times that some of the sound effects themselves just didn’t make sense. Sure, many of the effects were appropriate, but man some just were out in left field. Trust me; the first time you play the mini-game “Shut your trap” you will totally understand what I mean. In the end the sound in Wonder World is a mixed affair, and although there is some good in it, there is some bad as well which makes it not that rewarding in the end.
Being that this is a game full of mini-games in an amusement park, there is no particular story that one is has to follow. Sure, there is a story mode, but this is best akin to a career mode in a sports game or such where you go through the various levels and mini-games and try to open up all the game has to offer. You do have a custom character that you can make and the options in Wonder World to do allow for a pretty unique, but not overly complex, character. Wonder World is an amusement park that is broken up into five themed areas. Each of these areas offers six mini-games. So, if you do your math five times six equals 30 mini-games in all. Of course each area also has one specific ‘ride’ and that ride is, in itself, a mini-game as well.
The hodgepodge of mini-games found in Wonder World seem to rely on the point and shoot, and the famed whack-a-mole, approach. There are a lot of these types of games be it hitting various creatures with a hammer, shooting cups, plates or jugs off of counters, or hitting coconuts off of platforms with baseballs. There are also a few other types of games such as fishing games where you will actually have to reel in your catch, directing a honey covered stick to catch bugs and even one where you need to throw a stake in a vampire doll’s heart.
Not all the games are open from the get-go either. The whole purpose of playing the mini-games is to earn tickets which enables you to redeem them for prizes or passes that unlock other games and eventually other areas. Should you buy all the prizes that are available in one specific area you unlock that area’s ride, which again is basically another mini-game.
So everything seems hunky-dory right? Well, not exactly. As an adult gamer, I found that the mechanics of Wonder World got somewhat boring quite quickly, given that many of the mini-games available are just different variations of one specific type. For example, there are a lot of point and shoot games, just presented in a different form of clothing. And as for the really big pay off in each level, the rides, they are somewhat interesting but they just didn’t feel strong enough to really justify the time spent going through and collecting enough tickets to eventually open up the ride itself. Ok, so as an adult gamer I have some issues with the game, but what about the younger gamer? I have a four year old daughter who loves to have fun. Heck, she even has fun at the local elementary school’s ‘fun-night’ where they have simple games that the older kids put on for the younger ones. So I spent some time playing some of the games in Wonder World with her, and in the end she had a blast. She loved to fish or try to shoot anything on the screen. And as for whacking animals, name me a four year old who does not love a whack-a-mole game. It really made me happy to see her have fun, even when she didn’t do that well.
So this is where I have a though time writing this section of the review. There is no doubt that your more complex or advanced gamers out there may not enjoy this title, but for the casual gamer, and younger gamers alike, Wonder World’s gameplay may just strike a chord with them, even if just for a short time. That is not to insult any casual gamer, but given that the Wii seems to have an audience filled with those who don’t game that much, this game has a slight charm that should allow them somewhat enjoy what it has to offer.
Of course Wonder World offers a quickplay mode for you to enjoy the games that you have opened in the story mode. There is also a multiplayer mode for up to four players to compete against each other in the various mini-games available.
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