A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Ease of Play
Three difficulty levels allow players to set their own challenge. The touch controls are straightforward and customizable, but may prove frustrating to players used to playing action games with controllers. Enemies are predictable, though it takes time to learn their patterns.
Violence & Scariness
The player's small cartoon character uses a sword to chop at fantastical enemies -- crabs, cyclops, bats, ninjas -- that flash for a second and then disappear once defeated.
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Products & Purchases
This is a remake of Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap, a Sega Master System game from 1989.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap is a cartoonish side-scrolling action game for iOS and Android devices. Players control Wonder Boy -- or, optionally, Wonder Girl -- a young knight who sets out to battle a dragon. During his journey, the hero uses a sword to attack bats, crabs, cyclops, and ninjas, all of which simply flash white and then disappear once defeated. The action is highly cartoonish, and there's no blood or gore. Little in the way of character background is provided; players are simply meant to understand that monsters and dragons are evil, and we control a courageous hero intent on defeating them. Though it's a very straightforward run-and-jump action game, the touch controls can be a bit finicky and may require some customization and fine-tuning in the options menu.
Is It Any Good?
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.