A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Where’s Waldo? The Fantastic Journey is based on the book of the same name. This is a search-and-find puzzle adventure game. Consistent with the book on which it is based, the game’s scenes depict vampires drinking red liquid (blood), warring monks, red dwarves wielding swords, giants, and other fantastical beings. Many of the scenes depict violence although you are never participating in it, and most injuries are shown with stars floating above a character’s head. Because of this scenery, we have set the age appropriateness at age 8.
What's it about?
In WHERE'S WALDO? THE FANTASTIC JOURNEY, kids join Waldo as he travels across 12 fantastical lands looking for ancient scrolls. In each land, kids must search through crowded scenes to find hidden objects which range from finding Waldo, his friend Wenda, his mentor Wizard Whitebeard, and hundreds of other objects. In addition to the hunt-and-find mechanic, the game also introduces other puzzle elements including find the differences between two similar scenes and find a small photo set inside a larger scene. The game can be played on two levels of difficulty, but both are timed. The Wii version offers a two-person, head-to-head split-screen option.
Is it any good?
Where's Waldo? The Fantastic Journey is true to its book source material, and in some ways enhances the otherwise fun hidden picture puzzle book experience. The background music adds atmosphere and varies depending on which world you are visiting. The large scenes, while true to the artwork found in the book, contain little animations to pique your interest. For younger players, most of the search requests are shown or spoken out loud; and when you find a hidden object, you’ll hear praise. Plus, there are two modes, which enables younger children to find the requested objects in a landscape that is smaller. The addition of help in the form of Woof the Dog barking when you are getting close to a desired object is also a plus.
But, some of the changes don't work as well as playing inside of the book. In the Normal mode, you can’t see the whole scene in one glance and you must scroll through multiple screens to see the whole picture. This manner of play takes away from the fun of training your eyes to find specific objects in a cluttered picture. Also, the game has long load times. And for many kids, the time pressure of having to search quickly doesn't allow them the joy of looking at all the details in the scene.
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