Developer: Retroid Interactive
Publisher: Retroid Interactive
Genre: Platformer, Puzzler, Adventure
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 3
Release Date: 05/03/2020
Price: £13.99 – Rapid Reviews was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
The story in Wunderling is about a magical kingdom with talking, walking vegetables, lead by a unique hero called Carrot Man who is on a quest to save Princess Pea from an evil witch and her talking cow. What first appears to be a typical platformer is soon turned on its head as the lead character bounds off the screen, and you soon realise he’s not the main focus here. Instead, the Evil Witch wants her own hero to thwart Carrot Man’s reign. So after one of her minions is head stomped Mario style into the ground, she decides to take steps to stop Carrot Man’s advance and creates her own hero from the fallen goon… she names him Wunderling!
An adventure with a difference…
Instead of being a character that you can freely move around, your yellow fruit Wunderling has a very limited move-set from the out-set… you can jump and walk to the right, but that’s it for a while anyhow. It doesn’t half remind me of Lemmings from my childhood as you don’t really have full control over him as he marches forward regardless of the danger in front of him, and he only turns when hitting a solid object or wall. It’s here that Wunderling turns from a typical platformer into a beautiful and creative puzzle platformer, where you try and move throughout the level collecting flowers or buds to keep your character moving and alive.
Ah, I’ve missed a key mechanic…if you stop collecting magical flowers or buds, a small heart will appear and slowly deplete, and once it is empty, you’ll die.
This is what I consider to be one of the puzzle elements in Wunderling, as you need to collect all flowers or buds to make it to the exit. But there’s an extra incentive to backtrack and find the hidden special treasures chests that are hidden throughout each level. The only way you can obtain these unlockable extras is finding an alternative path that is hidden from view. However, these paths can be pretty long, and without your life-giving flowers, you won’t make it there and back alive. So here is where you need to be creative and try to skip or jump over certain collectables so when you do have to backtrack, you have something to collect on your way back to the exit. It’s this mechanic that makes Wunderling quite challenging and rewarding, as collecting hidden chests rewards you with some cool extras and costumes.
Only gets harder
As you progress in Wunderling you also soon realise that the story takes a back seat and you’re thrown into some devious levels that require some platforming skill. These levels become progressively more difficult as you unlock new worlds. But there are incentives to revisit levels to unlock the extra chests and collect all the hidden secrets within them.
Unlocking your true power!
Also, as you progress through the game, you will encounter moments where you’ll meet the hero Carrot Man and will have to confront him. When this happens, the witch will transform you into a boss allowing you to get one up on the heroic hero. My first chance to take down the carrot had me turning into a dragon, which sounds pretty cool but there wasn’t much interaction apart from me pressing a button rapidly for a few seconds for a charge attack. However, once sections like this are over, you are granted a new power that may help you in later levels such as the ability to dash and use unique power-ups like the ability to fly, creating new opportunities and new gameplay experiences.
Wunderling keeps gameplay refreshing and engaging. There’s also a tonne of new mechanics introduced like dash pads, locked doors that require different coloured keys, bubbles that take back to previous sections of the level and big mouths that eat you and spit you out across gaps. Each of these contraptions adds to the creative level design making each level feel unique, challenging and fun to play.
In Wunderling, there are 28 million combinations to create and customise your character with, which allows you personalise your hero (once unlocked) from different colours to completely new outfits. Being able to unlock costumes, tapes, and other extras add to the replayability immensely.
Visuals and Sound
Personally, I think Wunderling looks lovely on the Nintendo Switch. It has a retro appeal and a sharp art direction with a well-crafted colour palette, making the game stand out from other games like it. It also runs at a solid pace, making the platform action feel smooth and responsive. The sound is also your typical cheerful mix of tunes and sounds effects that complement it.
Wunderling is a fun, unique and challenging platformer that will test your skills in the later areas and reward you for keeping an eye out for hidden areas, unlocking a wealth of customizable gear for your little hero. It is challenging, though, and some may find it frustrating that you don’t have complete control over your hero, making for some annoying sections. However, for the rest of use, Wunderling hits the high notes and is an experience worth playing on the Nintendo Switch.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Wunderling for the Nintendo Switch at the following link: Nintendo eShop
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.