Wonderbox: The Adventure Maker

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Wonderbox: The Adventure Maker Game Poster Image
Ambitious adventure title lets you create, share games.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

This game/toolbox celebrates adventure, creativity, sharing. The main campaign is mostly positive, as you're a young and intrepid explorer who's out to help townsfolk solve problems, although you do fight enemies across your adventures.

Positive Role Models & Representations

It has a main Campaign mode where you can create a playable character from scratch, choosing various physical attributes such as gender, skin color, eye and hair styles, outfits, and more. It's very diverse in its representation, though no option for creating an older character or a person with a disability (though there are seniors in the game). It's mostly positive, since you're fighting evil to save townsfolk, but you do use weapons, such as a sword and bow and arrow.

Ease of Play

This 3D game is mostly easy to control, but using the touchscreen controls could be a little tricky for younger or novice players, and you must spin around the world, which is like a 3D model, in order to see where your character is going (such as inside a cave, through a waterfall, up some stairs). It takes a little getting used to. But the game is forgiving, too -- e.g., you don't fall off a ledge or cliff when you're near the edge. A Tutorial mode is offered in the Create mode, where you can make your own games.

Violence & Scariness

It's not bloody or gory, but you do fight enemies with various weapons, like melee (swords, pickax) or ranged items (bow and arrows). If injured, the main character (or enemies) will flash red to imply damage, and then disappear once defeated. Combat is a part of the main Campaign mode.

Language
Consumerism

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Wonderbox: The Adventure Maker is an adventure game exclusively for Apple Arcade. The game features mild violence, since the cartoon-like protagonist can engage in combat with mostly inhuman characters -- goblins, bats, and giant slugs, to name a few -- during the Campaign (story) mode. Players can use swords, bow and arrow, and other weapons and items (like a pickax) to destroy enemies, which flash red when damaged and disappear when defeated. There isn't any other controversial content, but parents should also know that there's a multiplayer option, too, for playing the game with others, as well as the ability to create and share your own games.

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What's it about?

WONDERBOX: THE ADVENTURE MAKER fuses multiple genres -- arcade action, platforming, puzzle-solving, and role-playing -- all into four story-based campaigns. To start, there's "Dawn of Adventure" (mostly a four-part tutorial level), and then there's "The Hero's Journey," "A Vast World," and "Ivy Matters," with more coming soon. Playing from a third-person perspective, you'll control your character through 3D worlds, performing tasks like talking to townsfolk who want your help, solving some puzzles, and engaging in combat against enemies. As the name suggests, you can also make your own adventure in the Create mode, and share it with others around the world. Similarly, the Discover mode allows players to download and play other games made in Wonderbox: The Adventure Maker. Content is divided into Highlights, Top Picks, Categories (such as Treasure Hunt, Brain Tease, Journey), Latest Uploads, and Search (by keyword). There's also the option to play online against friends (private group), join a random party of players to venture out together, or host your own cooperative (co-op) multiplayer matches. The more you play, the more you unlock extra content for your playable avatar, such as new facial features and hair styles, bonus outfits, and even wacky characters like a frog or cat face. As an Apple Arcade title, Wonderbox: The Adventure Maker is playable on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Mac, and supports game controllers. All versions of the game look and play the same, and progress can be synchronized between the various Apple platforms.

Is it any good?

While there's a limited amount of content in the four story-based campaigns (so far), the Discover mode is packed with extraordinarily good games made by other players. Add in the fact that there are tools to make and share your own games, mostly family-friendly content, and solid multiplayer support (which works smoothly), and Wonderbox: The Adventure Maker is simply one of the best Apple Arcade titles. It also encourages all players to get their hands in there and try to make something new with the Create mode. It's not pushing the boundaries of the third-person action/adventure genre much, but there's variety of gameplay in the various campaigns, and you need to think in 3D to rotate the worlds to navigate around each level. The developers did a great job with pacing and layering in the different weapons and gadgets you need to finish the stages. Unlocking new avatar items keeps you glued during the campaigns, and it's fun to join others and set out on quests together. But again, the real meat here is the Discover section, featuring content made by others, with highlights like the atmospheric platformer Fair De Mars and Shifting Pyramid (both made by the same developer as this game), the towering Tree Castle (which includes hidden surprises) by Helyar, and the tougher puzzler The Enigma in the Leaves, by Cube Intuit.

You can review and rate each game and report any inappropriate content. Created with the Unreal Engine, the character models, environments, and objects are all in high resolution, while the classical music score is top-notch. Probably to keep the game international, characters talk in a kind of nondescript babble (like in The Sims), but words are presented in your device's chosen language. The developer deserves kudos for its work on the ambitious and versatile Wonderbox: The Adventure Maker, which will excite you to see the content others create using its in-game tools.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the phenomenon of games like Wonderbox: The Adventure Maker that blur the line between game player and game maker. Is it cool to get game-making tools included with this game, from a STEM perspective?

  • Should more games be like Wonderbox: The Adventure Maker, by letting you create the protagonist you want? Shouldn't playable game characters be more representative of the people who play them?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love adventures

Themes & Topics

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