Wunderling deserves a lot of credit thanks to a creative presentation and providing a new perspective on what it takes to be a hero/villain. At its heart, it is a one-button auto runner but how it is presented to the player is what makes it unique and rather special.
Without giving away spoilers, the opening scene throws the player a curveball that is impossible to hit. Just when you think this is another typical video game, something happens that puts a humorous spin on the entire presentation. It is well done and easily one of the highlighting moments of the entire package. Again, I don’t want to spoil it here but I encourage interested players to jump in blind. The less you know the better.
The objective is to ultimately get to the goal of each 2D stage by avoiding hazards, making careful jumps, and collecting items along the way. What makes Wunderling different is how the playable character moves. Like other auto runners, a genre that has become popular on mobile environments, the character will always move forward but the player can active jumps by one touch. However, instead of just making it to the goal, the player needs to collect yellow flowers along the way, essentially acting like gasoline to a car. If you travel too far without touching one of these “gas” flowers, it will force a restart. Thankfully, each flower collected is one that is collected forever, even after restarts. This means players don’t need to perform a tedious perfect run if they want to collect everything in one attempt, respecting the player’s time and effort.
Each stage also features a secret item of some kind. Normally going out of your way to collect these optional materials yields little to no payoff in these types of games but each one here features some sort of bonus that is immediately accessible. Most are cosmetic, allowing players to give the playable character some additional personality, but there are unlockable extras that become available from the main menu. Since each one features something unique and special, it is worth going out of your way to collect them. The pixel art and soundtrack are also well done especially for a $14.99 downloadable title.
Wunderling is one of the better autorunners out there. Gameplay-wise, it doesn’t really feature anything that hasn’t been done before. However, the plot, premise, and presentation of the entire campaign is undoubtedly unique and features strong highlights. It is hard to write about this game without giving away what happens in the first moments of the game, but it sets up the entire experience in a way that sort of makes you feel like Mario has been a jerk along.
Also available on Steam.