Wunderling (PS4, Switch, Xbox One, PC)

Lowly minions in 2-D platformers don’t get much love, as they get stomped on constantly by overalled plumbers and other adventurers.  But what if you got to PLAY as one of these downtrodden foes?  Well that’s exactly what happens in Wunderling.  The ‘heroic’ Carrot Man is on a quest to save Princess Pea in the Vegetable Kingdom.  He’s stolen a magic stick that can make portals appear, and one of the first things he does is stomp a walking squash enemy flat.  An evil witch comes along and brings the squashed squash underling back to life, but he really can’t do much since he can only walk back and forth.  So the witch gives him the power to jump!  Now you get to control the minion, who not only constantly walks forward until he hits a wall and changes direction, but can also jump over obstacles!  It’s kind of like an endless runner except it has actual gameplay, and for such a challenging title, it’s pretty fun!  Wunderling is available on nearly all current consoles and PC, but reviewed on PS4 here.

You can’t control the minion’s direction, but you will change from walking left to right when you hit a wall.  You can only jump, so it kind of reminds me of Super Mario Run on mobile.  Your goal is to reach the portal at the end of each level by jumping over obstacles.  Some levels are like puzzles in that you must figure out which ways to jump and change direction, or collect keys and hit switches in the right order.  Sometimes you can find power-ups like dash arrows or wings that let you fly.  After certain levels, the witch will give you a new power, like the ability to dash, wall jump, or charge in midair.  Your goal is to reach the portal in each level.  There are some hidden secret portals and side quests, like collecting all the flowers in each stage, or finding hidden treasures that give you clothes and accessories to dress up your minion with.  Speaking of the flowers you collect, you don’t HAVE to get them all in each level, but it is important to collect them because if you don’t, after a while you’ll lose energy and explode if you don’t grab any.

The game is super challenging, but the solid play control kept me interested, and I usually get frustrated at these kinds of games and lose interest quickly.  But I was able to beat this one!  I was really impressed with how much control you have over your jumps, which you’ll need to bypass all the tricky obstacles.  Now, will I be able to go back and find all the secrets to get the good ending?  Heck no, that’s impossible.  Which is a little annoying.  Other minor problems include a bit of unbalanced difficulty in that I would get stuck on a level for a long time, only to pass it and tackle the next area on my first try!  Some levels do have checkpoints, but I do wish there were more so I wouldn’t have to do the same obstacles over and over again.  But even with the problems, I was still impressed with the controls, and even though the game was challenging, I was still able to push through.  I also really liked the 16-bit style pixel graphics, and the humor and references to other classic platformers, especially Mario ones, was great.  I kept playing just to see what silly things would happen next!  So yeah, Wunderling was a pleasant surprise for the most part.

Kid Factor:

Wunderling is rated E for Everyone with an ESRB descriptor of Mild Fantasy Violence.  You get stomped flat by a carrot a few times, and if you hit spikes or other obstacles you’ll explode into pixels.  But that’s about as violent as it gets.  Near the end of the game one of the characters did say a curse word, too.  Reading skill is needed and younger gamers may find it too difficult.

One Response to “Wunderling (PS4, Switch, Xbox One, PC)”

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