|System: Wii, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Coyote||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Majesco||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: July 8, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
It's getting to the point where there are so many mini-game collections available for the Wii, developers are going to have to really start stepping it up to get players - even the most naive of casual players - to take notice anymore. The novelty has long worn off, and it's hard to find more than a few good titles scattered among the garbage littering the sub-genre. Even worse, the majority of the mini-game collections still being released on the Wii seem uninspired and lazily slapped together. Wonder World Amusement Park is not the diamond in the rough you've been waiting for.
Thematically, this latest batch of amusement park oriented mini-games initially evokes sour feelings of déjà vu. Didn't we see something almost exactly like this pop up last summer? Sadly, yes. The concept is essentially a repeat of 2007's Carnival Games: a relatively successful yet underwhelming collection of - you guessed it - amusement park oriented mini-games. Wonder World does a few things differently, but it's hardly an improvement.
Creating your own custom character isn't as entertaining or flexible a process as it could be, but the options to choose from are decent. Initially, it was difficult to create a non-feminine looking male character (the first few attempts simply resulted in what appeared to be a theme-park enthusiast masquerading in drag). With a little time and messing around, it's possible to come up with some interesting variations. Once you get this task out of the way, it's time to get down to business; yes, that's exactly what playing Wonder World feels like.
The five fantasy-themed areas in this unusual amusement park- Carnival, Spookyville, Fairytale, Pirate, and Space - each offer a creatively decked out batch of mini-games and an unlockable ride (basically a slightly more elaborate mini-game). Only the first tier of games is open at the start, so gaining access to each area is a matter of accruing enough tickets (by playing mini-games) to purchase a pass to move onward to a new section of the park. In many other games, this unlocking-to-progress mechanic feels fun and rewarding, but here it's downright tedium incarnate.
Very few of the mini-games themselves are actually enjoyable; it's a significant problem, given the game's scope. The variety seems good at first; there's whack-a-mole, ball toss, shooting gallery, frog fishing, and numerous other carnival style games, and each offers a wacky twist on the theme for the particular area. As you unlock other areas of the park, you'll soon realize many of the "new" games are only slight variations on games you've already played earlier in the collection. There are some exceptions, but even the best nuggets are only good because they're the least offensive to play.
Unfortunately, you'll need a certain amount of tickets just to play all but one of the games in a particular area. This needlessly creates two added layers of challenge. In most cases, you'll be spending hard-earned tickets to gain only a slightly greater number of hard-earned tickets, and there's no guarantee you'll succeed. Some activities are more expensive than others, but it's awful to fail at a game and lose a large chunk of your accumulated paper booty in the process - especially given the painstaking grind you'll have to face to regain it.