Based on the Tim Burton adaptation of the 2010 film, Alice In Wonderland, the game, follows the path of Alice as she is guided by the White Rabbit through the world of Underland. Though Alice In Wonderland on the DS does vary from the movie, it still keeps the same characters that fans have come to know and love, while keeping the underlying story of the motion picture intact.
In the game, Alice is brought to Underland by a white rabbit who goes by the name of McTwisp. She is brought to keep the land together and defeat an evil monster which apparently only she can do. Although the game does feature Alice as the main character, she is never directly controlled. Instead, the player controls the actions of several different lead characters as Alice follows along with them. Each character is given their own special abilities, which are unlocked as the game progresses, and the overall goal is to collect pieces of the world's map and put everything back to its original order. One of the great things about the game is that the gameplay mechanics tie together with the story in a very interesting way that makes the game move along very smoothly.
Alice In Wonderland plays out as a puzzle-platform game that involves traversing segments of a map that can be altered using special abilities like altering time or warping to different locations. As a title for kids, it does a very good job of introducing new techniques without becoming too complicated. Jumping between characters and controls are also made easier by limiting the game to a purely touch screen control, with the exception of pressing any button to activate powers. The only big downside to the gameplay is that sometimes Alice can be a pain and get lost or fall off of paths, and this can become quite frustrating.
The one system that works surprisingly well is the combat mechanics. Swiping and tapping on the screen works well for attacking enemies and having various defence and dodge moves all combine very well to keep battle from getting too boring. It's also designed so that it isn't too complex and confusing for anyone to get into. The downside to the combat is that it is made to be too easy. If a character runs out of health, they have a death animation and pop back up to minimum health. There is no losing and coming back from an earlier checkpoint. It's not that this is really a bad thing for kids, but why bother having a health bar at all if it means nothing?
Aside from a few of the smaller issues, the game is well presented on the DS. Instead of trying to push the same aesthetic style of the feature film, Alice In Wonderland on the DS uses a cel-shaded 3D rendering of small, more cartoon-like characters, that presents the game in an interesting way while still keeping a similar feel of the movie. Not to mention the level design is on the whole quite pleasing - there are a few issues where sometimes things feel like the lack of depth. There is also a great orchestral score that plays along with the game that is really well written and really adds to the overall atmosphere. The music varies from more upbeat and melodic pieces to eerie and dark songs for the more creepy characters of the game.
The story in Alice in Wonderland is actually quite lengthy, lasting about eight hours. However, upon completion there is no multiplayer or anything else to entice players. It means there isn't a whole lot of replayability. There is a D-Gamer link up for those who have the online Disney community to get outfits and achievements, but that's about it. Having said that, the single player game is worth going through once or twice.
Alice In Wonderland is actually a surprisingly good movie tie-in game. However, it's not without some issues. There's no real penalty for failing, and there are some AI and control issues. All in all, it's actually surprising good title and for kids, this game will definitely hold some value.