Become the Underland’s newest champion
Disney’s 2010 live-action adaptation of Alice in Wonderland is a pretty divisive film. Okay, maybe “divisive” isn’t the right word; it seems like the entire world detests it and would love to club Johnny Depp over the head with a brass teapot for his performance as the Mad Hatter. But surely someone liked the movie, because Disney has put together Alice in Wonderland: A New Champion for iOS.
The game is already out on the Canadian App Store, where we gave it a try. You play through Alice in Wonderland: A New Champion as a young boy named “Lewis”, or a girl named “Carol” (get it?). You’re allowed to bestow a nickname on your avatar, and then you’re thrust down the rabbit hole. How deep does it go? To the “Underland,” as it turns out, which is Wonderland’s official name.
The characters, visuals, and events that drive Alice in Wonderland: A New Champion are all influenced by the 2010 Tim Burton movie. The characters and environments are all rounded and crazily-colored, and everything is decidedly more “wacky” looking than in, say, the animated Alice in Wonderland movie that Disney produced in the ’50s.
But while your surroundings are on the weird side, Alice in Wonderland: A New Champion‘s gameplay is relatively familiar. The game is divided into several worlds, and you move through each one by solving puzzles and completing tasks. For example, early in the game, the perpetually unprepared Mad Hatter and March Hare want to host yet another tea party, but they’re lacking in supplies (like, y’know, tea). You help get them back on track by finding ingredients for the tea (which are scattered around the courtyard), brewing it, and serving it. You also need to find a chair for yourself. Hey, this is a tea party hosted by a man who’s gone insane from mercury poisoning.
Most of the areas you explore are ringed with mist, which marks the border of the “tulgey wood,” as described by Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky. The woods bear the mark of the Red Queen, who’s looking to return from her exile and is up to no good in the meantime. You need potions to clear away the mist, dive deeper into the woods, and retrieve the items and people that are often hidden in there. Potions can be brewed once you’ve collected a certain amount of special ingredients.
The gameplay in Alice in Wonderland: A New Champion feels “loose,” for lack of a better descriptor. Whereas the gameplay in Snow White: The Queen’s Return is tightly structured around the small patches of land that you free from the darkness and subsequently develop with structures and friendly plants, each area you explore in Alice in Wonderland: A New Champion is airy and wide, which makes travelling from one point to another quite slow, to be honest.
Younger players should be particularly happy to latch onto Alice in Wonderland: A New Champion when it receives its worldwide App Store release. Most of the tasks and puzzles are easy enough to solve without much adult intervention, and the character designs and monsters are pleasing to look at without being too scary.