Wonder Cruise staves off boredom with a competent management sim

If time and money have prevented you from taking off on your dream vacation, Nexon has a consolation prize in the form of Wonder Cruise. Do the creators of MapleStory successfully provide a carnival at sea, or does this ship sink like the Titanic?

You play as the newly appointed captain of a luxury cruise liner. It’s up to you to transform your ship into the envy of the high seas, addressing passenger needs and desires along the way. Though you’re the head of this amusement park on water, Wonder Cruise is a task master that has you constantly running errands.

Wonder Cruise

That, however, isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and the formula here – though far from innovative – is smart and fun. You’ll take off for exotic ports of call, all the while tending to the whims of your guests. When passengers grow hungry, simply click on them to throw them a bite; if they’re in the mood for a swim, show them to the pool. Assisting passengers yields cash and other rewards, which can be spent on shops, sports activities and party attractions.

At the outset, the ship’s cabin boy will walk you through the basics of gameplay, and though he’s efficient, the banter – obviously meant to be tongue-in-cheek – is less than endearing. The game’s dialogue doesn’t derail the adventure by any means, but the poorly written one-liners tend to be a bit off-putting at times.

Like most games of its ilk, play in Wonder Cruise relies upon goods, energy, and coin. Each time you level up, your energy and stock will be replenished. Additional goods await you at each new harbor, and quests help to keep the game afloat. The selection of tasks is typical fare – “build one of these,” “collect three of those,” and “invite a friend.”

Wonder Cruise

In spite of a solid system of gameplay, Wonder Cruise feels a bit long in the tooth when it comes to these types of Facebook management sims. It doesn’t help that sprites often get lost in the crowd, making it difficult to click on passengers in need. The game also has its share of bugs, one of which saw my entire ship disappear off screen, forcing me to reload the page.

Visually, Wonder Cruise is cute, polished, but also fairly generic and uninspired. The framerate occasionally drags, and in at least a handful of instances, the game locked up while attempting to load. The music is relaxing, and the sound effects are extremely playful and well-implemented.

After yet another strategic-management adventure? Wonder Cruise will certainly scratch that itch. In spite of some technical issues, the game has a fun formula that pushes most of the right buttons. However, the dialogue is comprised of cheesy puns and one-liners, and the lack of originality will likely turn some folks off before they ever set foot offshore.