Having recently purchased a NEW 3DS Xl, I decided I needed a few more digital games on the system to entertain me during my downtime between writing and programming, so jumped onto the Nintendo store to find what was on offer. Lo and behold, quite a lot actually, with Zombie Panic in Wonderland DX actually peeking my interest the most, I proceeded to download it ASAP and set about completing it.
Let me start by saying: Zombie Panic in Wonderland DX is not a simple game. The controls are simple, but my god is the game difficult. It’s a arcade shooting affair where your character stands at the back of the stage and shoots wherever you put your stylus on the bottom screen. Whilst it starts off easy, it soon becomes nigh on impossible when every enemy is shooting projectiles whilst being so far away that you can’t accurately hit them. To add to the challenge, you also only get 1 hit point per continue, with extra health coming randomly through destroying the scenery around the zombies themselves in the background. There’s also no save games, and after 5 continues, that’s it, you need to start the game from scratch. I’m surprised I finished the game to be honest, with a quick Google telling me that this is a remake that originally come out for the Wii, it doesn’t surprise me that they upped the difficulty to keep veterans entertained.
Don’t let the difficulty put you off the game though, with interesting themes and a multitude of different levels, I was kept entertained for a long while, and enjoyed the diversity of scenes on display. For a standard shooting zombie game, it’s strange to see such a variety of different levels and enemies to take on; from caterpillars in the world of Alice in wonderland, to the fantastic skeleton archers in the medieval period (where snow white is introduced), every enemy and asset looks lovingly created, despite only being on the screen for a few moments before you blow it up. This also goes for all of the characters you meet during the campaigns limited story-telling: each cutscene is cute and has it’s own take on familiar fairy tales that’s sure to delight, and left me smiling during some of the latter scenes in the game.
The enemies are easy to kill, but varied, and in such a large number that there are many times during the campaign that you may feel overwhelmed with how much is coming towards you. I died and had to start from scratch multiple times, a nuisance, but one that speaks volumes about the difficulty of the game. The vast majority of them will simply walk towards you, with a few shots to their head killing them on the spot, with others taking their place before long.
One nice addition which soon upped the ante and made the game more enjoyable once every few levels were the bosses, who were hugely details and had nice attack patterns that had to be learnt quickly (for fear of seeing the Game Over screen far too soon). Each boss took on the perspective look/visuals of the levels they proceeded, with my favourite easily being the queen of cards from Alice in Wonderland; her first attack patterns were easy, but before long she became something of a dominatrix, and proceeded to dance in her underwear whilst attacking me. It was hugely enjoyable, and certainly unexpected; a nice surprise at a time I died multiple times.
Along with the campaign mode there is a normal arcade mode, where no story happens, but you’re able to choose whichever character you unlocked during the main campaign. I found this mode enjoyable, but altogether not as entertaining as the main campaign where the characters and enemies really shine in their environments. Also, scores don’t really mean much when you can’t compare your scores on the games you play with your friends! (Nintendo really are behind in this regard – the sooner I can play games and compare my score against my friends within the game itself the better).
For the couple of quid I paid for the game in the Nintendo Store, Zombie Panic in Wonderland DX has certainly earned it’s money and time I’ve invested and then some. It may not be to everyones liking (nothing ever is), but the simple controls paired with the horribly difficult gameplay, and lush environments had me enjoying every minute I put into the game. There’s a few niggles in the games transition from a TV to a small screen (enemies in the distance are seriously impossible to hit), but overall these niggles don’t detract too much from how much pleasure I got from the rest of the game. Should you find Zombie Panic in Wonderland DX for sale again anytime soon, I’d hugely recommend getting it, you shouldn’t be disappointed.