The Fantastic Journey is a game based on the 1989 book of the same name. Finding Waldo can be a difficult feat in other media but this game holds your hand and helps you find him and his fashionable red and white stripes easily.
First off, the graphics and sound are great. There are clean looking cartoon characters, well done voice acting, and nice background music. A lot of characters that are mixed among the levels and showcased at the loading screens are quite funny and this sense of humour makes the game a lot more enjoyable. Unlike the book that this game is based on, there are some animations in each picture. The humour combined with the fact that the game looks and sounds great makes The Fantastic Journey an engaging experience.
There is very little story in this game. You are guided along with the help of Wizard Whitebeard, Wenda, Woof, and Waldo himself. They congratulate you for finding various people and objects in each level and get excited about adventuring with you. Each of the single player mode's 12 levels is a giant picture from the book populated with plenty of people and objects. After finding specific things, players point the Wii Remote at them and push A. Levels are completed by finding a sequence of things with the final object being a scroll. Sometimes, players are required to do more than find certain things such as spotting the differences between 2 images. This helps to add some variety to this otherwise simple game. Odlaw pops up sporadically and if you don't find him in time he'll inflict some mischief such as turning the picture upside down.
The camera is zoomed in making you scroll your way through each level. This is a pain because it forces the player to scroll constantly which gets frustrating. This also makes the game too easy since the people and objects that appear on screen are quite large. If the camera was zoomed out and each level took up the entire screen then this would be remedied (even if there was a zoom in feature) as it would make the game a lot more challenging.
Players can select easy or normal difficulties, but both are far too easy. Sometimes when you are looking for something, your scrollable area will be constricted to a small area that the object you are looking for is in. You will probably find the object in a matter of seconds because of this. Also, you can click on Woof to help you find things but you really wouldn't need to. Woof uses up bones every time you get him to help and he does so by acting like a hot and cold indicator. Because of these mechanics, the game ends up being much easier than you would expect and players end up wishing there was a hard mode.
Besides the inherent easiness of the game, the gameplay is tight and responsive. In each level, you are timed via a gold meter at the bottom of the screen. The meter goes up after you find each thing. At the end of each level, depending on how much of the meter is remaining, you can earn up to 5 gold stars. It is quite easy to get 5 stars on every level, but it is also a nice concept that adds a little to the overall challenge. The world map where players select levels is very easy to navigate.
There is a multiplayer mode for those who prefer not to play The Fantastic Journey by themselves. This mode is extremely simple with no setup menus or options which makes multiplayer easy to jump in and play. You and a buddy each have half of the screen to search for things. Each thing that you find makes some Waldo Watchers in the middle pull their tug-of-war closer to your side. Once one of these teams of Waldo Watchers wins the tug-of-war, the game is over. Each match can last one minute or what seems like forever, depending on how matched your skill level is with your opponent. This tug-of-war system is quite clever and multiplayer ends up being very fun as long as your opponent is not too much better than you.
This game is simple fun. Most adults would find the single player way too easy, but kids might enjoy themselves. The multiplayer is great and both kids and adults can easily enjoy the fun to be had with it. If you are looking for some simple fun for your kids or are a fan of Waldo and would like to play it multiplayer with some friends then this game is a great choice.
- + Single player can be fun for kids
- + Sharp graphics, nice animation, well done voice acting, and great music
- + Multiplayer is a good time for all ages
- - Adults will find single player way too easy
- - The camera is zoomed in too much making players scroll constantly