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Review: Where's Waldo? The Fantastic Journey (Wii, DS, PC, Mac)


Image courtesy Ubisoft

Today's guest review is by Laura Miller.

In this game, jump into twelve different magical worlds to find not only Waldo and his companions but also hundreds of objects cloaked in fantastic camouflage. If you grew up reading the books, you will really appreciate all of the different worlds provided in this game. The scenes are very clever and funny, especially to an adult playing this game. It is really neat to see how the books that some of us grew up with are now put into a video game format. As far as making the book an interactive experience, Ubisoft gives us a seamless performance. The object of the game is just like the book: find Waldo.

The major problem with this game is the intended audience. Ubisoft should have been less concerned with finding the striped world-traveler Waldo and more concerned with who will be playing this game. Very few kids know who Waldo is, let alone care to go looking for him. And even on the hardest setting, adults who grew up with Waldo will not find this game challenging. Some games, e.g. Ubisoft's Turtles in Time re-release, work because of the nostalgia attached to them. There just is not enough nostalgia attached to Waldo to make it a game that many people are going to want to play.

However, if you did grow up with the Waldo books, and especially if you have a younger child to play with, the game can be pretty enjoyable. There are two modes to this game: single-player and multi-player. Of these two modes, multi-player is the one that really shines. As you progress in this mode, you get several power-ups; sparkly and frosty are power-ups that enable you to find objects with more ease. Sparkly brings a glittery effect to an item you are trying to locate. Frosty freezes the screen, giving you more time to find the object. Wacky Paint and Thunder Clap are two power-ups you can use to hurt your opponents. Wacky Paint allows you to spray paint your opponent’s screen, hence obscuring his view. Thunder Clap makes your opponent’s screen shake, making it harder for them to find objects.

The main controls in this game are pointing and clicking. This makes it very easy for a young child to master. It is fun, especially under the pressure of time, to desperately try to locate items that have, for the most part, been very cleverly hidden. There are two main games in the single-player mode. The first is to locate items in different worlds. The second is to compare two pictures and determine which items are missing from either of the photos. It can be fun.
This game is not a game that you can sit down and play for hours. First of all, it will not really last you hours—the game play is simply not very long. It can also get very redundant. But perhaps the main issue with this game is how small the images are. Even though I played the game on a 42 inch television, have the correct eyeglass prescription and sat about three feet from the front of the screen, I still had an issue seeing the different objects and had to take numerous breaks. I suppose this added to the difficulty of finding the objects but mainly it just gave me a headache.
Where's Waldo? warrants five dates with Wenda out of ten.