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Alice in Wonderland review

Style over substance

Pros

  • Stylish and nicely animated visuals
  • Moody background music
  • Won't frustrate with difficulty

Cons

  • Unimaginative puzzles
  • Weak scriptwriting
  • Repetitive gameplay

Well, this isn’t what we expected. In some ways it’s similar to Taito’s Exit, with a dumb Alice following you around at all times, treading in your footsteps as far as she can. Your rabbit/cat/whatever is better than she is at climbing and leaping, so you have to hoist her up ledges and catch her when she jumps. She’ll just stand still and wait for assistance rather than commit suicide, but if you leave her behind then bad things will happen and you’ll have 30 seconds to return to her side before she’s sucked into a vortex.

Each playable character can interact with certain objects, instantly recognisable by their bright colours and a big exclamation mark that appears over the character’s head. If you see something purple, switch to McTwisp the rabbit and hold any button to pull out his pocketwatch, which allows you to speed up, reverse or pause time.

Green gravity fields can be reversed by the caterpillar character, allowing you to stick to the ceiling. Ghostly blue shapes can be conjured into solid objects by the cat. It should be the basis for some really intriguing puzzles, but there are few instances where the game ever gives you something you actually need to think about.

The time power is particularly disappointing. All you have to do is press one of three buttons until you find the one that activates the purple object – a plant will grow or shrink, a moving thing will stop, and so on. There’s only one solution, and it’s purely trial and error. Having a choice of three buttons, just one of which has any effect, serves only to use up more of your magic energy, which you can swiftly replenish anyway.

There’s also some fighting to be done, but it isn’t particularly great. Some tufts of grass are actually enemies, which will pop up and halt your progress when you approach. After a while we resorted to rolling past them to avoid the dull, easy, screen-tapping combat. And every time guards warped in (bigger than the grassy enemies but equally unchallenging) the prospect of having to fight five of them in a row didn’t exactly thrill us.

The game looks brilliant and the concept has loads of potential, but it’s lacking a certain spark. Almost everything it does well has been done better elsewhere, and its slow pace and sticky controls can make it a maddening experience.

Apr 14, 2010

More Info

DescriptionIt's hardly original but it’s enjoyable and occasionally surprising. At heart it’s well made but unremarkable – yet, like the Mad Hatter himself, it’s dressed up eccentrically and packed with enough quirks to keep things interesting.
PlatformWii, DS
US censor ratingEveryone 10+
UK censor rating12+
Release date2 March 2010 (US), 2 March 2010 (UK)