Wonderland Game
THE MIDNIGHT POST * December 2010
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Game Reviews and Retro Spotlight
Nintendo DS Game Recommendations

In the past we’ve highlighted other PC downloadable games in the Midnight Post. This time around, we’ll go for something slightly different. We want to have a look at a few games on the popular Nintendo DS hardware. With 135 million units sold worldwide (and counting), we’re sure many of our readers are aware of this gaming platform.

Our goal is to highlight just a few games that we think players of our own games will enjoy. We also chose to focus on games that are not too recent, so that cheaper used copies would be more easily available. If you’re looking for a holiday gift for a fellow Wonderland fan, one of these might just fit the bill.

Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass

Some players have compared the Wonderland Adventures games to the Legend of Zelda series, and we never quite saw the similarity until we picked up this title. The Phantom Hourglass is a light-hearted role-playing game that is incredibly fun to play. It never gets bogged down in some of the more tedious aspects of “serious” role-playing games and keeps the focus firmly on exploration, character interaction, puzzle solving, and monster encounters.

The style of the puzzles, the interaction with other characters, and even some of the controls will feel familiar to players of Wonderland Adventures. For example, throwing a boomerang to activate a switch beyond a chasm provides a similar puzzle to the “Pop” magic puzzles of our games. The game is also quite forgiving (it doesn’t have any truly difficult puzzles, although some make ingenious use of the DS hardware) and as a result never becomes too frustrating. If you cannot wait until the arrival of Planet of the Z-Bots, this might well be worth checking out.

Professor Layton and the Curious Village

On the other hand, if you are a fan of Peegue’s Puzzle Page, then this excellent game series should be on your radar. The Professor Layton games are really just collections of puzzles and brain-teasers wrapped into an adventure/mystery story.

The puzzles tend to focus on familiar chestnuts and include mazes, block-pushing, visual puzzles, and - yes - even some light math. If you are a regular consumer of puzzles (via books, magazines, or websites) you will definitely get a sense of Deja Vu while playing this game. The story is told in a loveley European style animation that immediately sets apart the game’s visuals from other contenders. But the story is also just an excuse to pop up new puzzles, a fact that the game doesn’t even attempt to hide. A typical quote from a character is “Sure, I can help you with that, but first you must solve this puzzle for me”.

The game is never stressful, you have unlimited attempts to solve puzzles and hints are aplenty. Even if some puzzles are a little too familiar, this game (and its sequels) comes highly recommended.

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