The time has come to take back what’s yours, my little friend. No more will you have to endure the tyrannical hold that so-called hero has on your up until now pitiful existence. All hail mistress Kohlrabi and her incredible power that brought you back to life after you were so quickly defeated by that disgusting vegetable with legs Carrot Man! Yes! Now you can go on the offensive by jumping your way to defeating him!
Wunderling provides a hilarious premise for a retro-inspired platformer by putting you in the shoes of a hapless minion — not at all unlike a goomba! — who’s been brought back to life by an evil but downright hilariously cute witch who has it in for the hero of the domain, robber of her magical portal-creating staff. The catch is that you only control your character’s jumping while they walk and run forward on their own, in a Lemmings sorta way.
It all starts quite simple with straightforward platforming that has you picking up all the seeds and flowers in a screen before jumping into a portal to the next stage. Things get a little more involved when more pickups start getting placed in positions that require you to say, double back, or even take completely different routes before exiting the level. Then there are special treasure chests that hold cosmetic do-dads that dress up your minion in a bunch of adorable ways. The overall gameplay in this game is simple, but manages to prove a lot of replayability and fun as you’re suddenly forced to go back and really think about your approach for certain levels in order to 100% them.
Then there are the small twists and power-ups added in every now and then that help make Wunderling more than a mere auto runner, like speed belts, bubbles, and reverse pads that are bound to keep you on your toes and not merely pressing ‘jump’ without paying much attention to what’s going on on screen. These are clever bits of gameplay that help pace the game and keep you guessing.
Saying that Wunderling is just a mere throwback to 16-bit platforms of old is would be somewhat of an understatement considering just how many modern touches there are, including some of the funniest and cutest dialogue I have ever come across in a game. It really threw me for a loop how much I ended up liking Kohlrabi and her cow assistant as I played, especially with how this style of writing usually ends up getting overdone.
Alongside the terrific humor, there’s the wonderful visuals that make use of sprite pixel art that really pop on the Switch’s screen and on an HD display when playing in docked mode. Your minion friend animates incredibly well and is just plain adorable all throughout the game. The same can be said about other characters, even the detestable Carrot Man. Curse him and that permanent smirk of his!
Given the clutter that makes up the Switch eShop and Steam, it’s likely that Wunderling ends up buried under the likes of some random game that’s on sale for a penny, and that’s a crying shame, because it’s one of the best offerings when it comes to twitch and at the same time very approachable platforming games you’re likely to find on any of these services. If you haven’t had one of these to play in a while, I wholeheartedly recommend you pick up Wunderling. Hopefully you’ll be as surprised as I was.