So, chances are you’re very familiar with Super Mario Bros. We know Mario is trying to save the princess, so he goes around stomping on the adorable heads of anything and everything that gets in his way. Some people may call that admirable, whereas others may call it terrible, horrible murder.
Now, replace Mario with Carrot Man and prepare yourself for Wunderling, a game that features a Princess-obsessed “hero” stomping on anything in his path, an exasperated and overworked sorceress-baddie and her propaganda cow, and cute potatoes instead of Goombas. However, instead of following a traditional narrative, Wunderling flips the script and tells the story from the perspective of the aforementioned potato-Goomba
Wunderling is an adorable puzzle platformer set in the world of sentient vegetables. As a low-level potato-berry-looking goon, Wunderling spent the majority of his days happily pacing back and forth innocently. That is, of course, until Carrot Man embarked on a princess-saving rampage! After being thoughtlessly stomped by this “heroic” menace, you are revived with dark magic and told to put a stop to Carrot Man’s outrageous behaviour.
This dark-magic life you now lead comes with a nifty bonus: you can jump! Wunderling must make his way through the game’s numerous levels via non-stop walking and a bit of jumping. Akin to a Goomba, you cannot stop walking, and if you bump into a wall, you will simply change directions and keep on truckin’. To make the adventure even more interesting, your life also has a price: you must constantly collect the flower seeds scattered throughout each level to fuel the dark magic. If you go too long without getting a seed, you will gradually run out of life until you’re dead and have to start over.
Wunderling has excellent level design, and you have to scour every inch of every level to find all of the secrets. Each level has collectibles, and while you could simply run through each level chasing Carrot Man, you can also try to discover all the secrets and nab all the goodies.
Every level in Wunderling has a secret chest, and the chest always contains some kind of cute clothing item that our hero can wear. He can wear fedoras, hold Switch controllers, and sport striped pants. These items don’t affect the gameplay at all; they’re simply aesthetic changes that are cute and fun, nothing more.
The game’s visual design is lovely and colourful, and I especially loved watching the pixelated propaganda camera-cow talk and strike poses. Additionally, the writing is clever and fun, and the game pokes fun at the whole “save-the-princess” platformer genre.
The levels have a nice pace to them: light and breezy at first, though they gradually become more challenging. The jump mechanic is quite technical in that the height and distance Wunderling jumps is based directly on how long you press A. Some levels have small and finicky little platforms (usually to reach the secrets) that require precision jumps.
Once I got the hang of the jump mechanic, I felt like my hands had essentially levelled up when I was able to get past particularly difficult areas; it made grabbing that prize feel that much sweeter.
Wunderling is good, solid platforming fun that’s wrapped in cute graphics and topped with an amusing story. It’s also very reasonably priced, so if you’re a fan of the genre, I would definitely say it’s a worthy addition to your collection.
Wunderling is a charming and clever little puzzle-platformer with delightfully colourful graphics, a cast of cute characters, and excellent level design. If you’re a fan of the genre, don’t let this one pass you by.