Wonderbook: Diggs Nightcrawler
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Wonderbook: Diggs Nightcrawler is a simple augmented-reality game that requires a PlayStation Eye camera, Sony's cardboard Wonderbook peripheral, and a PlayStation Move controller. Its mock-serious gumshoe story starring recognizable fairy tale characters revolves around a murder. However, it's the murder of an egg -- Humpty Dumpty -- rather than a person, and pretty much every scene is filled with kid-friendly humor. There's also a comedic monkey fistfight and a short, non-lethal shootout over which the player has no control.
What's it about?
WONDERBOOK: DIGGS NIGHTCRAWLER is the story of a gumshoe inchworm living in a land filled with classic fairy tale creatures. He's trying to get to the bottom of the murder of his friend, Humpty Dumpty, whose shell was shattered after a fall from his office window. It makes use of Sony's cardboard Wonderbook peripheral as well as the PlayStation Eye camera and PlayStation Move motion controller to deliver an augmented-reality experience in which the player can see him- or herself on TV interacting with a book out of which animated worlds and characters seem to emanate. Turning a page, for example, flips open a new 3-D CGI (computer-generated-interface) environment, almost like a pop-up book. The game is played by listening to audio directions that explain how to manipulate the book, perhaps tilting it left and right to steer a raft or partially lifting a page to redirect a lamp's light onto an important object. The action plays out over only a few short chapters, but players are encouraged to revisit completed stages and undertake photo assignments that involve taking pictures of in-game objects with the Move controller.
Is it any good?
Wonderbook: Diggs Nightcrawler satisfies more often than not, if barely. The cartoonish graphics fit the game's fairy tale setting, and the large cast of fully voiced characters is cute and funny. The story, though unexpectedly short (a few hours at most), should keep most kids' interest. The action, on the other hand, is a mixed bag. Some of the augmented reality activities -- tilting the book to make the cover of a crypt slide off its base, twisting the book to examine different walls of a room -- are clever, intuitive, and satisfying. Others -- such as tilting the book to steer a motorbike, or spinning it to direct Diggs to walk in a specific direction -- are clumsy and grow old fast.
It's not very long, and some of the activities get repetitive pretty quickly, but kids who enjoyed the Harry Potter-themed Wonderbook: Book of Spells and have been aching for something new to do with Sony's augmented-reality platform should enjoy themselves. You just might want to wait until the price comes down a bit.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about detective stories. What makes them so interesting? The mystery? The characters? The suspense? Does this cartoonish story have these ingredients?
Families also can discuss augmented reality. Do you feel like you're interacting with the virtual world more in this game than in other, more traditional games? Does augmented reality make games more fun?