Alice Through The Looking Glass, the sequel to 2010’s billion dollar blockbuster Alice In Wonderland, is hitting theaters to close out the month of May. And while early reviews on Rotten Tomatoes aren’t particularly encouraging, the film will still likely stand one of the bigger cinematic events of 2016 given its A-list cast and popular source material.
Reviews and box office numbers aside, one of the most interesting things about this release is that it’s been accompanied by a new mobile game, seemingly designed to coincide with the new film. It was designed by mobile developer Tapstar Games with some sort of licensing agreement regarding the Alice In Wonderland properties. And the end result, Alice in Wonderland Puzzle Golf Adventures, is a self-described “eclectic and eccentric” puzzle game.
Making use of a familiar slingshot/putting control system that you may have encountered before in other golf apps, it’s less about sinking shots and more about navigating puzzles. There are over 70 of them in the game, each one cleverer and more challenging than the last, and in some cases they’re almost as much brainteasers as golf holes. Basically you’re shooting and rolling the ball through various Wonderland landscapes, in between obstacles and alongside familiar literary characters to get to the end.
Part of the appeal of the game is that by keeping the gameplay relatively generic, the developers were able to bring out the Alice material by simply making it setting and theme material. This is similar to what Gala Casino’s jackpots section accomplished with its Alice-themed jackpot game. Not only that, but it was as arguably the most prominent Alice In Wonderland video game before the app. With gameplay typical of online slot machines, the game embraced many different characters from the literature to the point that they seem to be popping out of all corners of the screen during gameplay.
This is the same style the new app adopts in bringing Alice In Wonderland tales to life, and it’s safe to say it’s more effective than the style we’ve seen in some larger, more ambitious Alice games. For instance, two console games (Alice In Wonderland, a 2010 title based directly on the film, and Alice: Madness Returns, a 2011 horror game) seemed a little bit more like independent adventures clothed conveniently in Alice imagery. The former was actually fairly well received, but it still felt a little detached from the literature.
In addition to simple, familiar gameplay and a satisfying manner of bringing its subject matter to life, Alice In Wonderland Puzzle Golf Adventure is also refreshing simply due to its premium format. That means you pay a fee to download the app ($2.99 in the iOS app store), but there are no in-app purchases within the game. A lot of people still prefer this to the freemium model (in which the download is free but there’s ample opportunity to spend more money throughout the game). It makes the whole experience feel more genuine, and less like a simple moneymaking opportunity for the developer.
With all these factors under consideration, this is a pretty satisfying new mobile game, particularly in light of this month’s film release. For gamers in general, it’s a satisfying puzzle adventure. And for fans of the Alice stories, it’s elevated even higher.
You can buy the game on iTunes.