Parents' Guide to

Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap

By Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Classic 2D action game has monsters and mild violence.

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Players may need some experience with, or an appreciation of, retro side-scrolling games to get the most out of this remake. Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap is undeniably pretty, with a colorful cartoon presentation that breathes new life into the original's static world. Switching between the new and old graphics shows just how much of a difference this makes. The new environments pop with vibrancy and once-pixelated characters have whole new personalities. The updated music and sound effects are similarly impressive, though the tinny 8-bit score of the original is still pretty catchy. And the thoughtfully inclusive decision to allow players to choose to be Wonder Girl rather than Wonder Boy should give this edition a broader audience than the original. It's exactly the same game, just with a female hero in place of a male one.

But the potential downside of maintaining such reverence for a 30-plus year old game is that the action feels a bit dated. Enemy movements and patterns sometimes seem overly stiff, and rigid, and the square-ish geometry of obstacles within the environment is at odds with the flowing, natural looking backgrounds. Perhaps most problematic is that our hero sometimes moves and attacks in awkward, imprecise fashion -- at least by today's standards. Once you get a ways into the game, these issues will likely begin to fade as you grow used to the enemies, the world, and the controls, but it could prove a stumbling block for some -- especially those who may not have experienced any older games. Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap is bound to prove an absolute delight for fans of retro side-scrollers -- particularly those who played the decades-old original -- but younger players may find its unabashed passion for the past just a tad off-putting.

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