Zombie Panic in Wonderland (Hands-On) (Wii) Preview

By Adam Riley 30.09.2009

Review for Zombie Panic in Wonderland (Hands-On) on Wii

Hudson Soft brought Star Soldier R to WiiWare when the service was just learning to crawl, offering shoot 'em-up fans a timed-run full of enemy craft blasting craziness and the lure of an online leader-board to keep track of scores around the world. However, since then the genre has been pretty much left untouched on the Wii system's download service. Many thought Shin'en Multimedia's first effort would be something along the lines of Nanostray or Iridion, but even that turned out to be a family-oriented golf product. Who could possibly fill the much needed genre gap left by the likes of Treasure, who preferred to put the classic Ikaruga on Xbox L!ve Arcade? Spanish outfit Akaoni Studio, with Zombie Panic in Wonderland...

Zombie Panic in Wonderland takes on the form of a traditional vertically-scrolling shooter. However, what should be noted from the start is that Akaoni Studio actually deems the game a '3D Platform / Puzzle' title instead. One of the main goal's of the ten-person strong development studio is to create quality games with clear and attractive concepts for the public, rather than focusing on one small sector of the gaming community, so perhaps this explains its distinction in genre type. Whatever the case, the team that previously worked under Gammick Entertainment on games such as Animal Boxing for the DS has now crafted what seems like a very light-hearted action title on the outside, but is in fact a downright gruesome, tough-as-nails, über-hardcore shooter that is more than slightly similar to Treasure's Sin & Punishment from the Nintendo 64 (a game Jose Manuel Iniguez, Studio Director, actually states as one particular source of inspiration).

What is more interesting are the ties with Barcelona-based EnjoyUp!'s Little Red Riding Hood's Zombie BBQ on the DS. First of all there is the childhood story link, as in the game's names bearing a passing resemblance to Alice in Wonderland and Little Red Riding Hood. Then there is the more predominant fact that the two look almost exactly the same, just with better graphics on the WiiWare version and a slightly different camera angle due to Wii having far greater horsepower to handle more action on-screen at any one time. This is nothing to complain about, however, and is not meant in a negative way since Zombie BBQ is a truly fantastic little DS shooter that criminally has yet to be released in Europe so far (Rising Star, 505 Games, et al, hang your heads in shame - EnjoyUp! is having to put the game on DSiWare to let Europeans play it at long last). In fact, some of the people from Akaoni (the CEO and Lead Programmer), as mentioned earlier, worked with Gammick in the past, and guess what? Gammick was involved in the release of Little Red Riding Hood's Zombie BBQ...

Screenshot for Zombie Panic in Wonderland (Hands-On) on Wii

The game itself is centred round a young hero that finds himself involved in world cleansing, slaughtering as many zombies as possible and protecting his friends from the 'Amorous Zombies' spell they cast by using his machine gun to mow them down. On top of this carnage, he must also solve the mystery of the 'Scented Dwarves', little creatures that linger around stages from time-to-time. Players control the lead character using the Nunchuk, whilst aiming their weapon-fire using the Wii Remote pointer, which works almost exactly like the main control set-up for upcoming 2010 release, Sin & Punishment 2 (again, this is no bad thing). The completely 3D stages are littered with enemies to shoot down and players are actively encouraged to blast through absolutely everything in sight in order to rack up the highest score possible. Even a second player can jump in and join the fun (being able to choose from three characters)! With the Nunchuk movement, simple button presses to jump/dodge and the point-and-shoot mechanic, despite the game's general difficulty, the actual basic controls can be picked up by almost anyone with the greatest of ease.

There are set to be a minimum of nine levels included in the final release, with three end-of-game boss characters to tackle before seeing the end credits roll. Each stage changes significantly as more objects are destroyed (with high-scoring sweets awarded for demolishing whole buildings), although if you do have time to take your concentration from the on-coming monsters it will be very impressive. The levels are spread across three separate sections, with a devastating boss waiting at the end. To add incentive to proceedings, the team has put strong emphasis on the story development, which is handled in a manga-esque manner, thanks to the help of a professional Japanese mangaka. The imagery and design throughout are directly based on Japanese manga and anime in general, whilst the soundtrack was focused on as well to add an element of humour (for example, there is a level that features an oriental feel, with a Japanese opera singer providing vocals and choirs in the background!).

Screenshot for Zombie Panic in Wonderland (Hands-On) on Wii

Final Thoughts

Originally planned for December, Zombie Panic in Wonderland is now ahead of schedule and looking to launch sometime in November on WiiWare (a PC version was planned, but nothing was said of it at the recent event). With so much detail, care and attention, plus a whole heap of challenge being included, it looks like shooter fans will finally be getting the full-scale game they hoped Star Soldier R would be. Now will Shin'en decide to follow in Akaoni's footsteps and do Nanostray on WiiWare?


Akaoni SL


Akaoni SL





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

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European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


I love zombie-related games, especially Left 4 Dead and Plants vs. Zombies, and I really look forward for this game - Nice preview!

In my opinion, there isn't so many good WiiWare-games, but with all the coming games like this, my opinion may change. Smilie That's good.

English isn't my main-language, so I will possibly make some grammatical failures sometimes. But shit happends.

The number of high quality WiiWare games is definitely increasing. Driift is a great little racer, LIT is coming to Europe soon (a cool horror-puzzler) and this shooter. There is plenty to look forward to.

I'm pleased Zombie BBQ is also coming to DSiWare, so players will have that on DSi and can grab this on WiiWare!

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Why on earth hasn't this game been given more attention? I never even heard of it until I saw the banner at the top of the page. I think this sounds awesome, much better than that Fairytale Fights game, there seems to be more attention to detail in this title. I sure hope it does well.

Matthrew Clay (guest) 18.10.2009#4

Woah it does sound better I was reluctant to read it but i might just look into this more! Thanks guys

Cool, glad we've managed to bring this to more people's attention. I was a little wary of playing it at first, but once I jumped in I just kept wanting to come back for more!

It really does play similar to Sin & Punishment 2 (played that at the Nintendo post-E3 event - great game, hitting Japan next week!), which is definitely a good thing Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses
Sam (guest) 18.02.2010#6

Thanks for this. I'm a big fan of Zombie BBQ, and have been scouring the net for more news of this. Unfortunately, I had my fingers crossed for the PC version. Oh well... They're still crossed.


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