Developer: Alchemy Games
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
Device Reviewed On: iPod touch 4

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★½☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

A Wonderland Story, published by Forest Moon Games, is a rare piece of media that doesn’t focus on Alice from the Alice in Wonderland story; no, this tells the story of the White Rabbit. He’s late, he’s late, for a very important date. However, Alice is trying to chase him down. So, he must run away, but upon two forks in the road, he took the path less traveled, and it was less traveled because it’s all shifty, what with different columns of earth being moved vertically to block his path. Thankfully, it’s possible for the player to move these columns at will to free up a path for the hapless rabbit to escape, though enemies must also be avoided. Thankfully, by causing them to collide with each other, they can be eliminated.

The game is a great idea for a touchscreen platformer: with no direct control over the White Rabbit, and easy swipe controls for each column, it’s always easy, from a mechanical standpoint, to navigate the levels. The ceiling and floor warp between each other, so there’s no death, just the fear of getting scrolled off screen to the left. There’s 3 levels broken up into 10 checkpoints each, and an endless mode for replay value.

There is a problem with A Wonderland Story, though: the ingenious gameplay idea is a one-trick pony. It feels like the most interesting thing that the game has to do and say is just its core gameplay mechanic. After this realization hits, the game just starts to drone on. The levels feel like a bit of a neverending slog, where death is welcome as a respite. Having the levels be one after another concurrently feels like a bad idea because it makes it all feel overly long; breaking them up individually may work better for actually enjoying the game, and feeling like it’s something that can be put down, instead of continuted through. There’s just not enough variety in the different levels, even later in the game when new enemy types are introduced, to keep things interesting.

So, we have a platformer with an interesting idea, but one that feels like it’s still in that phase before it’s fun. I encourage the developers to return to this idea; there’s something here, it works well on touch screens, but refining it to make and keep it interesting is what is necessary to make it a star.

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