Wonder World Amusement Park
Reviewed by Brandy Shaul
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2009-02-16 Nintendo DS Mini-games E10 (Everyone 10+) Majesco

Released in the summer of 2008, Wonder World Amusement Park on the Wii allowed gamers to take part in various midway activities, normally reserved for carnivals and school fairs, in the comfort of their own living rooms, without any of the annoying lines, wallet-busting fees, or the blatant and purposeful design issues that cause so many attempts to fail. For those who loved the setup, Wonder World has been downsized onto the Nintendo DS, to allow for the same sort of gameplay in a portable package.

Wonder World Amusement Park begins as you choose from one of six characters and enter the park proper. Divided into six themed areas, ranging from the traditional balloon and light bulb lined midway to a lost pirate getaway, each area contains five games, with some areas and games only being available after you win enough tickets (think Chuck-E-Cheese) to unlock them.

Minigames are varied and designed to fit the theme of each area. The traditional carnival area contains a basketball shooting game, a dart toss, and bumper cars, among others, while other areas tend to contain one or two new gameplay ideas (like the strength hammer test or "rolling ball" game where you roll a ball down a ramp to land in various point circles at the end), and then fill in the excess space with slight variations on other games you've already played in the game (for instance, not only is there a dart toss, but there's a ball toss and a knife toss, among others).

After each minigame, you are rewarded with a score specific amount of tickets, and make progress towards one of three unlockable items associated with each game. These items are "Fun Room" items, which can either be used to decorate the Fun Room itself, or come in the form of various clothing options for your character.

Considering that earning tickets is the whole shebang in Wonder World Amusement Park, it's unfortunate that the earning of said tickets turns out to be a pretty monotonous affair. Since each game puts out anywhere from 10-100 tickets, depending on your score, skill level, etc. and some areas cost upwards of 5,000 tickets to unlock, you are forced to repeatedly play the same minigames over and over again just to unlock even more games that must be played over and over again just to unlock... you get the idea. And so the cycle continues until you eventually unlock all 30 games, and every Fun Room addition available in the game (a task which would take the average gamer two hours or less).

Unfortunately, the technical sides of the game do little to help matters, as both the graphics and the sound department put up subpar showings when compared to many other DS titles. That's not to say the graphics are dull, far from it, as they are filled with bright colors, unique patterns and shapes straight out of a Dr. Suess novel, but no amount of color can completely distract you from the grainy textures.

Likewise, the sound department is lackluster at best, with music set on a very short loop and sound effects that play either a bit too early or a bit too soon for the action (like a balloon popping before the animal shows you that it did).

All in all, Wonder World Amusement Park is a decent offering when played in short bursts, but really only recommendable to folks who haven't played any of the dozens of mini-game compilations already on the market today, or for those who just can't get enough of the gameplay presented in the original on the Wii.

Special thanks to Audra McIver and Majesco for providing a copy of this title.