|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Disney Interactive||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Disney Interactive||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug. 25, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1 (4 Online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Even though the online modes really redeem this title in terms of gameplay value, the same can't be said for production values. The game looks and sounds awful. The characters all have giant heads and tiny, featureless, stick-like bodies that just seem to float around. The environments are also very plain. Though they try to recreate the look of the show upon which the game is based, the environments feature little to no detail or movement, which results in a bland, almost desolate look to the world. The sound also suffers from being too basic. Repetitive sound effects and music clips play during each level, and they don't really change as you move from stage to stage.
Control here is also just plain bad. Since most of the gameplay revolves around selecting different objects and then drawing shapes, the decision to make the game's control entirely stylus-based seems logical. However, the game will occasionally refuse to recognize a command. During missions where you have to search nearby items, the stylus control also breaks down, as you have to hit a certain area of the item to search it, which can be hard to find.
Of all the things that disappointed me about this game, I was most dismayed by the difficulty level. Although Wizards of Waverly Place is certainly a show for children, the extremely low difficulty makes this game absurdly easy for anyone over the age of 5. Just clicking random objects and drawing up to five shapes to cast spells is boring, and I can't imagine children interested in this show (who I would imagine to be in the tween category, based on the show's focus on fashion and dating), to be very interested in the game's preschool level of difficulty.
Wizards of Waverly Place on the Nintendo DS can best be described as a missed opportunity. The Wizards of Waverly Place TV show has a lot of spunk, and its magical premise would have made a great adventure-style game. However, the title is nothing more than bland point and click fare, which kids and tweens probably won't find very enchanting.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor