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Where's Waldo? The Fantasic Journey

Where's Waldo? The Fantasic Journey



The Bottom Line
Not quite as much fun as the book, but it you want to play 2-player search-and-find games on the Wii, then it is a good choice.
In this video game, which is similar in play to the book version, kids scan crowded scenes to find Waldo, his friends, and hundreds of objects. Waldo is a lanky kid who always wears red and white striped sweaters and matching hats. His friend Wenda also follows his fashion trend.

In this search-and-find puzzle adventure game, you join Waldo on a quest to find 12 ancient scrolls in 12 fantastical lands. The adventure is hosted by Wizard Whitebeard, Waldo’s magical mentor. Each land has a different theme, and before you can find the scroll, you must locate the items that Wizard Whitebeard requests. The scenes include warring blue and red monks, flying carpets, giants, deep sea divers, vampires, and much more.
In addition to finding items, the game also throws in other puzzle challenges including find-the-differences where you are shown two pictures side-by-side. Other times, you may be asked to find a location in the vast scene that matches a small photo or catch falling stars.

This digital version of Where’s Waldo? The Fantastic Journey has some nice additions not found in the book version. The background music is fun and varies depending on which world you are visiting. The large scenes, while true to the artwork 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 is an Easy mode as well as a Normal mode, and both modes have help in the form of Woof the dog barking when you are getting close to a desired object.
But making something digital doesn’t necessarily make it better. And that is the case here. While the very detailed graphics found in this game are similar to those found in the book, having to scroll through the screens, seeing only small portions of the overall scene at once, takes away some of the fun of hunting for Waldo and his friends. Part of the challenge of these books is training your eyes to scroll over a massive display of cluttered images to find the one item you need. Also, this game is timed, so that you feel pressure to scan quickly instead of enjoying all the crazy details shown in the pictures.
These objections are somewhat offset in the Wii version, which offers a fun two-player mode. When playing against another, two Wii remotes are required. The screen splits into two, with each opponent focusing on their side to hunt for objects. The bottom of the screen displays a tug of rope with two teams of Waldo Watcher kids lined up on either side. Every time you find an object, your tug-of-war team pulls. The game ends when one player manages to find enough hidden objects that their tug-of-war team pulls the other team completely over to their side.

Within this two-player game, kids will earn funny power-ups including Thunder Clap (where you cast thunder into your opponents screen causing it to shake and thus making it difficult to search), and Frosty (where you can cause your opponent’s screen to freeze so that they cannot move around within the scene).
Ultimately the decision of whether to buy this game versus the source book may come down to how you plan to use the game. The game costs $30 on the Wii and DS and $20 on the computer, making it more expensive than just buying the “Where’s Waldo? The Fantastic Journey” book for $8. But, if you are traveling with a Nintendo DS, then the game fits nicely into a backpack, whereas the book version is big. If you are looking for visual puzzles for two players on the Wii, then this is a good choice. But if you just like seek-and-find puzzles, your cheaper option would be to go with the book.

All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.

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Where's Waldo? The Fantasic Journey
Company: Ubisoft
Price: 20.00
Platforms: Mac