Wizards of Waverly Place
Studios attempts to recreate the popular TV show, Wizards of Waverly
Place on the Nintendo DS that merges the innovative control system of
the console with an adventure game that is littered with mini-games. The
story is quite reminiscent of an American Harry Potter which revolves
around a family of wizards, the Russo family. The family is comprised of
father Jerry, mother Theresa and three children who include Alex, Justin
and Max. Unfortunately for the three children, they are not allowed to
use magic without an adult present and of course, all get involved in a
variety of anecdotes which is mirrored in the game.
The game uses locales from the original TV series so fans of Disney's
Wizards of Waverly Place will immediately know the places they visit
such as the Wizard School and the family home of the Russo's. In the
game, players control Alex as they interact with the gaming environment
with "magic" and as a bonus, coins can be collected while exploring.
These coins can then be used to unlock certain bonuses in the game such
as new outfits for Alex (perfect for girls) or other accessories.
Like most Nintendo DS adventure games, users must engage on a variety of
quests throughout the game and meet quite a few characters along the
way. Of course, the game requires players to use magic which is the
mainstay of the game, however the unfortunate aspect of Wizards of
Waverly Palace is that the gameplay unfortunately becomes quite stagnant
and my niece did get stuck in quite a few places.
Even though the gameplay
is rather straight forward, the title does contain a tutorial mode to
assist in navigating and using spells which is the key to the title.
There are a number of spells available to the gamer which needs to be
chosen via the touch screen in order to complete your current task. For
example, by choosing levitate from the spells menu, all you need to do
is use the stylus and "presto", you have cast the spell levitate.
As the game is aimed at a younger market, the title does contain a
plethora of mini-games to help give them a break from the main game and
thankfully these games are not just an afterthought and actually make
sense. Some games are fun, whereas other games involve memory game
activities and is a good little break. As mentioned, the main gameplay
does become too repetitive and there seems to be something missing.
Graphically, the title is apt at replicating the TV series, however it
does seem a little dated to more modern DS titles which is a shame. Even
the characters in the game such as Alex or Justin look like their TV
counterparts and the world of Disney's Wizards of Waverly Place is quite
a colourful and cheery place. The soundtrack of the title suits the
genre perfect with its MIDI tunes and there are some sound effects to
liven up the gameplay. It would have been nice to have some sound bites
from the TV show, alias this is not to be.
In conclusion, Disney's Wizards of Waverly Place is definitely aimed at
the younger market, especially girls, however the game unfortunately
drops the ball when it comes to engaging gameplay. Just because a game
is aimed at a younger market, doesn't mean that this target group does
not want something more meaningful and at the end of the day, this game
appears to be just another third party adventure game with a TV license.
Some fans of the TV show may enjoy the game but when you have other high
caliber games available, this would definitely become second or third