Tech News on G4
'Alice', a gaming 'Wonderland'
Mar 15, 2010
By John Powell - G4 Canada
Falling down the rabbit hole isn't nearly as fun as it looks for gamers, depending which console or system you are talking about. While the DS/DSi version of the 'Alice in Wonderland' game by Disney Interactive Studios mirrors Tim Burton's movie when it comes to its originality and distinctive attitude, the Wii game is about as appealing as the prospect of flossing the Jabberwocky's teeth.
Both titles follow the adventures of Alice as she, the White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter and a host of other misbegotten creatures lead an uprising against the heartless Red Queen and her cohorts. Although she is the main character, you never control Alice herself in either game. She is just along for the ride, paying you compliments as you progress or playing the role of victim who must be rescued.
As you might have surmised, each Underland inhabitant has their own distinct powers and they are used to solve different delimmas. The White Rabbit's watch can be used as a bolo-like weapon or to stop, pause or advance time. The March Hare's telekinetic power comes in handy especially when wrangling Bandersnatches. Everyone plays the hero at one time or another.
The Wii 'Alice' is more of a platform/action game while DS/DSi 'Alice' is a puzzler with a bit of brawling. Comparing the two is as straightforward as contrasting the White Queen with the Red. The variations are striking.
Alice' for the Wii loses its way quick. Things begin promisingly enough with the events of the movie playing out quite nicely as you wander through a garden, battling some creatures, solving a few minor puzzles and even a boss battle against the dreaded Bandersnatch. Once you have done that and gotten through the first phase of the game, things begin to look awfully familiar and start to really drag. Everything looks really wonderful, there is just little to do but march forward from one minor quest to another. There isn't enough variety or enough challenges. You can spruce things up by playing co-op mode. That is, if you want to share the tedium with a friend or would that be an enemy? Hmmm.
'Alice' for the DS/Dsi is, as John Cleese is so fond of saying, something completely different. Inspired by Tim Burton's own exceptionally quirky art work, the striking sketch style animation is what will first draw you into the game. Wonderland be damned. 'Alice' feels more like 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' than anything else with its spiralling hills and twisted trees.
The smaller format inspired some superior thinking from developer Etranges Libellule. 'Alice' is filled with great little sequences. Using the White Rabbit's time control power to speed up a worm as he munches down on a mushroom so you can get by is clever. Using the same power to reconstruct or deconstruct bridges is crafty too. The setting plays an important role as you walk on ceilings, climb those twisted trees and follow misty paths, passages.
Big things do come in small packages and the 'Alice' games from Disney Interactive Studios proves that beyond a shadow of a doubt. While the DS/Dsi version is a one of a kind title for Nintendo's dual screen handheld, the Wii's 'Alice' has its momentum disappear quicker than the Cheshire Cat.
'Alice In Wonderland'
Rating: Wii: 4 / 10, DS/Dsi: 8 / 10
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