[Review] Where’s Waldo (iOS/PC/Nintendo DS): The Fantastic Journey For a Myopic Gamer

I wear glasses, and have since a was a teenager. Gaming never used to be a big issue for my sight because most of what I played was on a 19 inch TV screen. But when I got my iPod Touch for Christmas in 2010 and wanted to play games on it, my eyesight did become a bit of a concern.

Enter theWhere’s Waldo:The Fantastic Journeygame for the iPhone. A fun little game that is indeed a challenge for the visually impaired. Thankfully, this game is available on the Nintendo DS and PC so I was able to try the game on different gaming platforms to see what I was doing, and have a better gaming experience.


Waldo and his entourage

The premise of the Where’s Waldo game is simple: You are introduced to Waldo and his entourage early on. You have Waldo, a wandering traveler who wears a red and white striped sweater and tuque, his friend Wenda, his mentor Wizard Whitebeard, and Woof the dog. The game sends you to different worlds full of crowds of people and interesting places. In the game, the places are animated – trees and rivers move, people are fighting and running, and magic carpets are flying. You are tasked with finding Waldo and his people within these busy worlds, along with other objects within the scenes. Every once in a while, Waldo’s bizarro arch-enemy-with-porn ‘stach Odlaw (catch that? “Waldo” spelled backwards…) comes by to wreck havoc and challenge you. The search sequences on the game are timed, so as you search, you need to keep your eyes on the clock. Woof the dog hides little bones in the scene for you to stumble upon which are meant to be used as hint tokens; for every bone you use, Woof gives you a hint of where a particular item or person would be.

Each gaming platform Where’s Waldo: The Fantastic Journey is available on provides the player with a different way to experience the game. The Waldo story is similar for each gaming platform, but each platform in itself provides a different feel in terms of gameplay. The iPod Touch’s controls with this game were weird – I had to rely solely on a touch screen. And not that my fingers are fat, but often the iTouch wouldn’t zoom into the area I wanted to search, and when it did, the image was blurry. At times it didn’t sense I was touching a particular found product which was particularly frustrating. Frankly, the problems I had might have had a lot to do with my 3rd gen iPod Touch, and less to do with the actual game. But one thing is for sure – you need to see with this game. There is a lot happening in your search area – some objects that you need to find are complex and tiny, so having the ability to see is very important. I managed to finish the game on the iPod Touch and even moved on to the game’s sequel, Where’s Waldo in Hollywoodalthough eyesight problems still persisted, and I often had to stop playing because I would get a headache.

Shortly after finishing the iPod Touch version, I played the PC and Nintendo DS versions, and they wound up being much better alternatives for my eyesight. The Nintendo DS version for example, utilized both screens – the top screen would be the zoomed-out area that you had to search, and the bottom screen was an extreme closeup of the zoomed out area, which was great! I could see the details, which really helped with my enjoyment of the game! On top of which, I had a Nintendo DS XL, which is bigger in screen size than the regular DS. The PC version was also helpful visually, as you were only limited to the size of your monitor.  After trying them both, I have to say I preferred to play Waldo on the Nintendo DS XL for its large screen and portability. If you like complex “find me” games, I highly recommend Where’s Waldo: The Fantastic Journey on the Nintendo DS.

Where’s Waldo: The Fantastic Journey
Developer: Ludia / Publisher: Ubisoft
Released: September 2009

Photo credit: Wikipedia / Youtube whereswaldo


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