Had enough of hidden object games? Had your fill of match-3 puzzlers? Need a break from time management simulations? Casual gamers in search of a different kind of head-scratcher might opt for Midnight Synergy’s Wonderland Adventures: Mysteries of Fire Island.
While not a flawless frolic, this cartoon adventure offers a fresh dose of puzzles compared to what’s available today.
In case you’re not familiar with the previous Wonderland Adventures games — Wonderland, Return To Wonderland and Secret Worlds — you play as a short and round character who likes to wobble around a vast world from an angled top-down ("isometric") perspective, solve environmental puzzles, collect items and interact with amusing characters.
This time around you find yourself shipwrecked on the mysterious Fire Island, surrounded by mischievous creatures known as Stinkers. Not sure why, exactly, but the world is in trouble once again — evident by falling fireballs — and you must save it, naturally, which begins with you attempting to find a way off this isle.
Much of the game has you clicking around the varied environments — ranging from bustling towns and tree-laden pastures to mines and caverns to bridges across waterways and deadly lava pits — and bypassing obstacles such as locked gates, blocked bridges and deep chasms. This is achieved by studying the level and seeing what’s required, such as pulling levers, stepping on the correct plates in a particular order, angling springboards to shoot you in a given direction or using magic to activate a switch from afar. Some arcade-like elements come into play, too, but most challenges don’t require fast reflexes.
More than 100 quests are peppered throughout this lengthy game, some requiring only a couple of minutes of play and others that take more planning to pull off — such as using items in your inventory to open a new part of the island, find a critter who needs to give you an item, and so forth. Gamers are also encouraged to collect stars and colored gems and find secret areas to explore.
While this game is quite different than what’s out there today, it’s not for everyone. Not only is the dialogue (and silly voices) for younger players, it seems, but the graphics are quite outdated, too — even when we selected the top resolution choice of 1,280 x 360 pixels. In fact, they don’t seem to be any better than the first Wonderland game released many moons ago. The orchestrated music, however, helps improve the production quality.
A few other beefs: only one game mode; no gamepad support (mouse or keyboard only); when you enter a new area you’re facing backward (which is confusing); you can’t zoom out to get a better look at the environment; and even if you save your progress it’s possible to get stuck and have to restart from a previous save point.
Wonderland Adventures: Mysteries of Fire Island will likely appeal to puzzle lovers in search of something unique, but it’s far from an extraordinary interactive entertainment experience.