Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is often referred to as a literary classic, one told countless times in various forms of media since its original 1865 publication, and especially since it entered public domain in 1907 whereby it was no longer subject to copyright. Taking advantage of the situation on the Wii U is Brave Rock Games with Alice in Wonderland.
Now firstly, let’s get this clear: Alice in Wonderland on the Wii U is not a game. It is a visual and audio telling of the original novel. You will find very little interaction here. This software is for those who want to experience the novel in a more relaxed way or from a different perspective.
The entire novel is laid out before you and is presented with visual accompaniments of static images. While most of the characters are nicely hand drawn and fit well with the stereotypical Alice in Wonderland’s style already imbedded in us, there’s a rather shocking disparity between them and the backgrounds. Some of which are stock photos or images that do not blend well together at all. Some are downright poor in fact and make the software appear more amateurish than it should do, especially the Photoshop efforts on some of the images. The presentation as a whole is completely non-cohesive with three of its components just not melding together very well at all.
Pleasingly, the story is completely voice acted. Every character has their own unique voice actor, with special commendation to the narrator and Alice who are really rather good, a blessing considering you’ll be hearing these two the most. The rest of the cast are hit and miss, although none of them are stand-out bad, only the varying quality of their audio production is a little jarring. Some characters have high quality recordings while others can be slightly muffled and distorted.
An issue I rarely came across was when the audio quality overall suddenly dropped, everything began sounding like it was far away and muffled. At first I thought it was my own audio connections, but I’m leaning towards the audio files not loading properly upon entering the chapter. Replying the same chapter again without encountering it showed that it wasn’t a common occurrence.
One interesting design implementation from Brave Rock Games is the chance to skip ahead of certain scenes within chapters, usually tangents or anecdotes of characters. Does it add anything? Not really. Sure, it does give you the ability bypass the more superfluous parts of the story, but if you’re skipping ahead, what’s the point in you reading the story at all?
It may sound like I’m beating on this software, but aside from the nice voice acting and the undeniable classic nature of the story, the overall production and presentation leaves something to be desired. There are some really strange design omissions that, if implemented, could have made Alice in Wonderland a better experience.
The strangest is the lack of autoplay. You have to tap the touchscreen every time you want to move on to the next line, not ideal if you want to sit back and relax to the story, or leave it to play in front of your children. Then there’s the problem of not being able to exit the chapter you are on without completely exiting the game. The last problem I had was that once you finished a chapter, you can’t go straight into the next one. You can either replay the current one or go back to the main menu. A little bit of play testing would have immediately brought these three bizarre problems up.
Overall, it’s a little difficult to recommend Alice in Wonderland. While it does have nice voice acting, the presentation and production value let it down. Visually it’s lacking with poorly edited images and it has a few glaring features missing, but if you enjoy the classic story, or want to experience it for the first time, it’s not a terrible option. Just one I can’t fully recommend.
- Voice acting can be rather nice
- It’s Alice in Wonderland
- Non-cohesive style
- Missing a few obvious features
- Comes across cheap and amateurish
Game provided by Brave Rock Games