Zombie Panic In Wonderland (WiiWare) Review
Developer: Akaoni Studo
Previously: Animal Boxing (DS)
Control: Wii Remote & Wii Nunchuk
Cost: 1000 Wii Points
Blocks Used: 126
Having recently enjoyed a wealth of Wii Points arriving in my inbox that would work with my Wii console (yes, I did buy them), I thought it would be good to check out something else that caught my attention recently. Having played previous games similar to Sin & Punishment on the DS, I noticed that Zombie Panic In Wonderland! was sporting a similar vibe. So, within minutes I had put down 1000 Wii Points and had the game within minutes. Sometimes I just LOVE digital distribution!
Developed by relative newcomer Akaoni Studio, Zombie Panic In Wonderland! follows the story of Momotaro, a young hero who gets caught up in a random rave of zombies and other mythical creatures within his homeworld of Wonderland. Wonderland is kind of like a weird amalgamation of other fairy tales you’ve heard of before. There’s a yellow brick road, lots of dwarves and several characters from classic tales that feature in the game, albeit slightly tweaked to fit into the mould of a zombie apocalyptic shooter. As you do. Essentially, Momotaro comes across a plot by an unknown enemy to capture all the “scented dwarves” in Wonderland, whom are all being carted off to a mysterious castle to the north. Thankfully, Momotaro has a slew of weapons to get through the waves of zombies, and commences his journey to save Wonderland.
Graphically speaking, Zombie Panic is an interesting mould of real-life inspired locations with phantasmagorical artistic direction. Character models are presented in a rather deformed cutesy kind of manner, and are smooth and well animated. Zombies in particular are the stand out. The environments within the game are all fully destructible, so if you wanted to destroy, for example a windmill, shooting it makes it fall down in a rather comic way. The fact that everything is destructible in the game makes it rather enjoyable to just see what you can and can’t destroy while ignoring the impending dangers. The game’s story is told by anime-style still frames that, although pretty, aren’t all that interesting. Still, they do a good job of moving the story along.
In terms of the actual gameplay, Zombie Panic is quite simplistic. The game itself is split into three parts with each part consisting of two standard levels and a boss battle. Players take control of one of approximately four characters (we didn’t have time or patience to unlock them all) who have three weapons – machine gun, weird shotgun-like weapon and a flamethrower. Movement is completely two-dimensional from left to right, and enemies pour towards the player from the top of the screen to the bottom. It’s a kind of stationary version of Sin & Punishment. Destroying the environment yields ammo for the two special weapons, while defeating the enemies increases a “clean-up” percentage that completes the level when it reaches 100%. Movement is performed with the Nunchuk’s control stick and dodging, which is really only useful during boss battles, is done with the Z-button. The Wii Remote itself is used for aiming and shooting, with the trigger being mapped to the standard weapons while the A-button is used for grenades during more hectic situations.
While the game’s mechanics are well put together and the game itself mildly enjoyable, the repetitiveness of the gameplay really bogs down the game and makes it rather hard to find the motivation to play on. Each level takes much longer than it should and it really does feel like “filler” content that’s put there for the sake of being there. While this would normally not be a problem in other games, the crux of Zombie Panic’s gameplay is these filler sections, and it hurts the fun value quite a bit. There are boss battles which are quite nicely varied and very challenging, but these utilise the same “percentage” mechanic and take quite a long time to defeat.
The soundtrack offerings in Zombie Panic are interesting pieces that you wouldn’t really expect to be in a video game. They are all typically pretty melancholic tunes that will really get you into the mood of the game, but overall aren’t anything overly special.
In terms of longevity, Zombie Panic will probably take most people no more than five hours to complete on the standard mode, with more time being required if the difficulty is set to higher. There are several extra modes, including a survival mode and unlockable characters, but unfortunately these are pretty dull, with the extra characters just being straight swaps with no real uniqueness. Fortunately, the game does support two-player local play which is refreshing for a game in this genre – it definitely is a feature that should be included.
Overall, despite its very nice graphics and solid gameplay mechanics, the overall package of Zombie Panic in Wonderland is disappointing. It just feels like too much filler content that would fail to keep anyone’s attention in the long run. That being said, if you’re into these arcade-style shooter games, this will probably really appeal to you, despite some of its shortcomings. I guess what I’m trying to say is: if you’re a fan of the genre, you’ll probably enjoy it more so than the average gamer but still recognise its shortcomings. If you’re not, there’s probably no chance this will turn you over.
This game is currently not available in the Australian WiiWare store, youll have to switch your region to the UK to get it. Be warned youll lose all your Wii Points if you do.