Playing through WiWi’s Adventures II is akin to playing through a less polished history of 80’s platformers. From Alex Kidd and Super Mario Land to hints of Rainbow Island and even Son Son II, WiWi’s Adventures II wears its inspirations on its sleeve. In doing so, the game is imbued with a sense of pleasing familiarity, but at the same time, leaves itself open to immediate comparison with its illustrious peers. Unsurprisingly, WiWi isn’t quite in the same league as Mario. Heck, he’s not even in the same league as Alex Kidd, but in fairness to the mop haired hero, he does have a few tricks up his sleeve and is certainly worth a run out at just 80MS Points.
With an immediate visual style that screams Alex Kidd (the hair is a dead giveaway), WiWi’s Adventures II is a colourful platformer that essentially replaces flag poles with scrolls. Each stage has you chasing down said scroll while defeating enemies with your trusty sword and collecting the numerous orbs littered around.
The level design does have a few foibles and would have certainly benefited from a little more polish, but the relatively large stages do offer up the opportunity for exploration with the added bonus of the end of level scrolls not always attained by a simple run from left to right. While you can get through most stages relatively quickly via a quick dash and some carefully timed sword swipes, WiWi’s Adventures II encourages a more measured approach via the collectables that are listed in the menu screen between levels. With the amount of spheres collected, the amount of boxes broken and the number of enemies defeated all listed here along with an overall score for the stage, going back to pick up those last few items is certainly encouraged and gives the game additional longevity.
Despite its solid enough premise, numerous collectibles and multi-tiered stages though, WiWi’s Adventures II is certainly home to its fair share of problems. The enemies for one are often too small and hard to spot amidst the busy scenery making it very easy to accidentally fall on top of them. The ability to take three hits before death does make these moments easier to bear, but landing on an enemy that has been obscured by some dodgy piece of scenery still occurs far too often for my tastes.
It’s also worth noting that, while it wasn’t a problem for me, my girlfriend and a buddy of mine both found watching the game very difficult when WiWi is running along at pace. There is a strange (and clearly unintentional) blur effect when turbo running which they said gave them a mild sense of motion sickness. It obviously won’t affect everyone, but it’s certainly worth bearing in mind if you have suffered in the past.
Then there is the matter of the power-ups. With flame shots and flying wings amongst the additional abilities available, these really should have added an extra layer to the core gameplay but instead feel poorly implemented and largely unnecessary. Smashing blocks can also be a strangely infuriating affair – to progress through certain areas, you’ll have to smash a number of blocks standing in your way. Sadly, many are placed in a position that requires you to jump and attack at the same time. While simple enough in principle, getting the timing right can be infuriatingly difficult and can leave you at least momentarily stuck in an area that really shouldn’t be causing you any trouble at all.
Personally, I found it quite easy to forgive the game’s multitude of minor issues thanks to its underlying charm and 80’s visual style…..oh, and it’s extremely cheap price of course. I do wish that the developers had gone all out for a more pixelated visual style rather than the cleaner lines found here, but with stages that hark back to many of the platforming classics of the 80’s, it’s hard to get too upset about it.
WiWi’s Adventures II has its faults and certainly can’t compete with the classics that it is so eager to imitate, but as a budget platformer and fun throwback to a simpler time, WiWi is a game that is very easy to enjoy.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox 360 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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