Welt der Wunder -
Eine Insel in Gefahr
(World of Wonder - An Island in Danger)
Game language: German
For children 10 years and up
A review by Gabi 05th April 2002
A cold autumn evening a video cassette is sent to the young Special Agent Benjy of the "World-of-Wonders"-centre. It's about a mission for Benjy to look around on a small island, because at present nature goes berserk there: strange weather phenomena can be observed and from the forests terrifying noises can be heard. Most inhabitants have hastily left the island. Of course Benjy accepts and soon he is dropped off on the island, equipped with his pocket computer. Benjy begins to rebuild the power supply and the dam and explores the island. So he forces his way further to the interior of the island and finally comes to the house of the evil professor, the rogue of this game, where it really becomes dangerous for our young hero.
It's an an imaginative game with a convincing story. However exciting it only becomes towards the end, the first two thirds of the game were not much motivating in my eyes. One cannot die in the game, it's also not necessary to load an earlier savegame or to restart.
I would classify the puzzles as medium easy to easy. For children between 8 and 11 years just right, but for young people starting from 13 years it's probably a bit too simple. The puzzles are usually interlocking and not to be solved at only one location. One has to run around a lot to procure new items.
But the puzzles are by no means monotonous or boring. They range from baking bread over panning gold up to searching information on the internet. But there is also a nerving weak point in some puzzles: If one should have solved a puzzle, for example entered a correct door code, one must often still wait some seconds until something happens, here: until the door slides open. That sometimes leads to problems, since you often believe that it's not quite correct and leave too early. Thus you are often stuck, without knowing that you'd already solved the puzzle.
On the whole the game is full of many funny and varied puzzles. Much must be explored, repaired or found out. In other words, you grope from one puzzle into the next. If you're really stuck, you can also click the question mark at the top of the screen, which emerges many times, in particular during puzzles. There are often helpful tips to get ahead. Sometimes you may find out, what you probably already know like "Here is something important missing", but in principle the help system is a good feature to prevent from looking too often into a walkthrough.
Controls and inventory
The controls are very easy to understand. You only need the left mouse button. If you drive the arrow cursor over something, which can be looked at or taken or over a possible scene exit, it transforms into a hand. In most places you can turn around or to the side. The hand-cursor emerges here also. However sometimes one must move repeatedly back and forth, in order to come to the intended way.There is no panorama view, you can always see only one section at once. During nearly the whole game you play from Benjy's view (1st-person), except the intro and outro, where you can see Benjy.
The inventory is at the bottom of the screen. It is represented by Benjy's backpack. If you click on it, all objects appear in the order, in which you collected them. Your pocket computer is always on top. If you want to use an inventory object, you must drag it to the screen. That is somewhat annoying, since you sometimes must do it again and again very often, until you find the correct spot.
The graphics are beautifully detailed. However, except the video sequences, the picture becomes somewhat blurred, if anything is moving. Especially the light/shade effects were pleasing, which one can particularly see on leaves or pipes. Everything is rather bright and colorful. The water too, which of course surrounds the whole island and which one must also cross during the game, is throughout animated. The transitions are different. When walking straight another transition is used than when turning left or right, etc..
Music is unfortunately very rare in this game. Only during the intro a short melody plays. But the many sounds, which one can hear on the island, create a great atmosphere. Everywhere you hear birds chirping or leaves rustling. Also during operating a button or a switch there are different noises. Or when you open your pocket computer or a door, while sailing. So you really feel like on an island in the sea.
The small pocket computer, which Benjy always carries with him, is a very helpful item, which shows an overview of the whole island. You can see on this map, where you've already been, where houses stand or which location you've perhaps overlooked. It shows, in which direction the wind blows and whether there is high or low tide. You need these things in two or three puzzles.
Next there is the "World-of-Wonders"-archive, which Benjy downloaded at the beginning. It informs about koalas, sailing boats, volcanos, and so on. Very interesting topics, sometimes there is also game relevant information. Also a small video is available, which contains the most important about each topic.
One can even try out - among other things -, to make energy with the help of the sun or how a dam works. There are also some kind of website pages to browse. If your computer should have internet connection, it's possible to enter the www from within the game and look for information in the "normal" web. But this is by no means necessary for the puzzles.
In the course of the game you'll get altogether 11 emails. They contain on the one hand important information for puzzle solution, on the other hand they are a welcome change, since one gets also emails from worrying parents and funny sister Mary. Unfortunately Benjy cannot answer the emails, since his sister asks him also for a few photos of him and the island. If you receive an email, you hear a brief sound, which however often can slightly be overheard.
Great, detailed graphics
Many different sounds
The pocket computer with a lot of interesting information
Only towards the end of the game there is suspense
Puzzles somewhat too easy
A good game with magnificent graphics and varied noises, relatively easy likewise very varied puzzles, which are a bit to short.
My rating: 79 %
- 80% - 100% excellent game, very recommendable
- 70% - 79% good game, recommendable
- 60% - 69% satisfactory, restricted recommendable
- 50% - 59% sufficient (not very recommendable)
- 40% - 49% rather deficient (not to be recommended - for Hardcore-Adventure-Freaks and collectors only)
- 0% - 39% worst (don't put your fingers on it)
Click on the pictures to magnify
System requirements tested on PC Apple Macintosh PC Windows 95/98/Me System 8.1 or higher Windows 98 Pentium 200 Mhz Power Mac 200 MHz AMD Athlon (tm) Processor 32 MB RAM (64 MB recommended) 32 MB RAM (64 MB recommended) 256 MB RAM 12x CD ROM drive 12x CD ROM drive LITEON CD-ROM LTN362 Graphic card: Resolution 800 x 600 Pixel, Highcolor Graphic card: Resolution 800 x 600 Pixel, Highcolor present 50 MB hard disk space 50 MB hard disk space present Windows compatible sound card CMI8738/C3DX PCI Audio Device