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Wonderland Epic
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Wonderland Epic

Release Date:  October 2013
Publisher:  6waves
Developer:  6waves
Genre:  Puzzle
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Wonderland Epic joins Farm Epic, Treasure Epic, Jewel Epic, and Bubble Epic as 6waves’ latest entry in its collection of “Epic” puzzle games. All of the games in the collection draw from popular matching tile games, and the mechanics are very much inspired by the puzzle games in King’s “Saga” series. Farm Epic and Jewel Epic play just like Candy Crush Saga, Bubble Epic plays just like Bubble Witch Saga, and Treasure Epic and Wonderland Epic play just like Pet Rescue Saga.

Review:

Of course, King didn’t invent any of these puzzle types — there are tons of examples of each type dating back as early as the mid-80s. King did, however, modernize them into the social, colorful, and endlessly addictive free-to-play versions you can play on Facebook or mobile today. King makes a ton of money with its puzzle games and it’s only natural for others to want a piece of the pie.

Enter 6waves, this time with Wonderland Epic. Like Pet Rescue saga, the gameplay takes place across multiple levels displayed on a colorful map. The levels are composed of colored blocks stacked on top of each other. You can click on any group of two or more matching blocks to wipe them all out at once. Bigger matches yield more points. Blocks will fall down and shift to the left to fill in any gaps you leave behind. Your objective on each level varies, but it’s generally safe to assume you want to clear as many blocks as possible.

Wonderland Epic plays exactly like Treasure Epic, except you’re bringing the magic back to Wonderland instead of treasure hunting. Wonderland is a really fun theme that is host to vivid graphics and quirky characters. Your allies this time around are Red Queen, Jack Diamond, and Club Ace. You can bring one of them with you into each level at no cost. Each has a unique super power that you can charge up by breaking blocks. The Red Queen’s, for instance, destroys a 3×3 group of blocks of your choosing. There are six power-ups you can use, too, but these are limited in number and you must spend coins or gems to buy more.

Gameplay is just what you’d expect from this sort of game. There’s a little bit of strategy, but it is mostly mindless. Each level has a unique shape and its own set of goals. Sometimes it’s clearing 90% of the board and other times it’s getting three fairy charms to the bottom of the screen. Once the goal is completed, the level ends and you earn up to three stars depending on your final score.

Coins and gems are both used to buy power-ups. You get 100 coins for each star you earn, but otherwise you’ll need to spend money to get more coins and gems. The game also uses a lives system. You can have up to five at a time, and you lose one each time you fail a level. Your lives recover over time, but you can accelerate the process with gems or by getting some help from your Facebook friends.

There’s nothing that makes Wonderland Epic stand out from Treasure Epic or Pet Rescue Saga, but it’s not really worse, either. I did experience quite a bit of animation lag despite playing on a computer that I would expect to handle the game flawlessly. The animation lag can be pretty frustrating, because if you click on a set of tiles before they finish collapsing, you may break a set you didn’t intend to. Lag aside, one minor gameplay difference to call out is that while Pet Rescue Saga has power-ups like Wonderland Epic, it doesn’t have allies you can bring into a match for free. That said, Pet Rescue Saga has over 350 levels compared to Wonderland Epic’s 140. I’d suggest avoiding Wonderland Epic primarily because of it’s lagginess, but your experience may be different. I also personally find this particular puzzle mechanic to be much more boring than the bubble shooter or Bejeweled-style match-three games. Ultimately, the only reason you should dive into Wonderland Epic over any of its competitors is if its Wonderland setting is one that really grabs your interest.

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