The town-building time and resource management genre is back with Wonderburg. It plays very similar to the established games in this genre such as the Build-a-Lot games, but with a new take on it, set in a magical land of wizards, dragons and castles.
You take on the role of Alisa the witch and Rudy the dwarf builder in this town-building adventure. The game starts with our heroes discovering that the villages in their land are being destroyed or taken over by mysterious magical forces. They decide to work together and try to rebuild these vilages, as well as defeating the invaders and finding out the reasons for the invasions.
Their quest takes you through many regions of the land, from peaceful villages and rolling hills, to haunted coasts, to snow-swept mountains and many other areas you'd expect in a fantasy world. And in each area, you will match wits with monsters such as trolls, pirates, ghosts, wizards and dragons.
The game play in Wonderburg is very similar to that in games like Build-a-Lot. The main part of the game is the building of homes and supplementary buildings in a village / town in order to generate income. The amount of stuff you can build is limited by the amount of cash and raw material you have, and the number of builders working for you. You get to build and upgrade houses of increasing value and income, as well as supplementary buildings that have their own function, such as making raw materials cost less or scaring away the monsters.
Unlike other town-building games, Wonderburg has mechanics and gameplay that goes very well with the fantasy fairy-tale theme. You have dwarven builders doing the construction, repairs and upgrades for you. And your buildings can sometimes be cursed, requiring your witch to come riding on her flying broom to weave her magic and decurse the house.
The animation in the game screen is pretty decent. In addition to the witch and dwarf builders, you see the villagers walking around going about their daily lives. You also see the monsters / invaders running around creating chaos in the village. Wonderburg utilizes this concept quite nicely by adding a mini-game where you need to use your magic wand to zap away at the monsters as they run around.
The game can be played in either a relaxed untimed mode, or a competitive timed mode depending on your preference. In the timed mode, you must complete each scenario within preset time limits in order to win bronze, silver or gold medals. The better you do, the better the medal you earn. And these medals are not just for show. If you earn gold medals in all the scenarios of a region, you unlock a secret level for that particular region. This adds good replay value as you try to improve your efficiency and skill.
The atmosphere of the game is also reliably decent. Unfortunately, there are not any movie clips or other dynamic animation in between scenarios. Instead, you see comic book-style shots of the heroes interacting with the other denizens of this magical world. The quality of the art is cartoony and funny in a Disney kind of way. However, be prepared for some really corny jokes and bad puns!
More experienced gamers might find that Wonderburg will get slowly boring after a while because even with its many fantasy-related features and tweaks, it still plays very much like the typical town-building game. But for those of you who want a change of scenery and want to rub shoulders with witches and dwarves and battle trolls and wizards, then this game will be a nice refreshing change.
Rating: 3.5 / 5.0