Wunderling Review: The Life of a Goon Is Tough but Fun

by David Sanchez March 10, 2020 @ 7:13 am

Reviewed on PC

Do you ever wonder what it’s like to be a Goomba in Super Mario? Or a Waddle Dee in Kirby? Those guys are the lowest of the low — the most expendable fodder for our platformer heroes. You see them, and you don’t even sweat it. The threat these enemies pose is minimal, laughable almost. Wunderling, developed by Retroid, puts you in the big, round shoes of such a lowly henchman. You play as that expendable minion that poses the most minuscule threat, and it’s actually quite entertaining.

Go Get That Pesky Hero

There’s nothing glamorous about being a goon. In Wunderling, you control a small enemy minion whose sole purpose in life is to be a nuisance to a walking, talking carrot-man. Your character walks automatically along the levels, and all you’re able to do initially is make him jump. You’ll jump over obstacles and slowly guide the character to the exit. Also, you’re highly destructible, so you have to be careful, especially because you’re not as equipped as a hero to breeze through levels.

Later levels are more complex, throwing more tricks and traps at you. Eventually you gain new abilities like a wall jump that allows you to climb higher platforms, and a dash that gives you enough momentum to leap over large death pits. These abilities are trickled into the gameplay, and they keep things from ever getting stale.

Though Wunderling starts out simple enough, it gets much more complex later on. Soon the levels begin to feel more like elaborate puzzles. It’s these moments when the game really challenges you that it’s most enjoyable. It can also get frustrating, though, and if you’re not paying attention to your surroundings, you may have a difficult time clearing a stage.

Some levels are better designed than others, and you’ll notice that a few of them aren’t all that engaging, especially early on. There’s a bit of inconsistency later in the game, too, as most stages are really awesome while a few are just okay. Thankfully, the majority of the game’s stages are sure to delight thanks to some really great obstacle placement.

A Breezy Villain Platformer

There’s a lot to enjoy about Wunderling aside from the solid puzzle-platforming gameplay. Graphically, the game is cheery and bright, with cutesy and colorful level designs. Some of the art in the levels can border on generic at times, but it’s mostly good. I got some real Super Mario Bros. 2 vibes from a handful of levels, which is great as I’ve always felt that game had an excellent art style that deserved to be revisited or referenced by newer games.

Wunderling features catchy themes in each of its stages. Interestingly, the music can be pretty calming at times, which is funny considering the fact that you’re playing as a stock enemy who was created to be but a mere distraction for a platformer hero.

The mileage you get out of Wunderling depends on how much you dig the experience. Reaching the end should take you a few hours, but there are plenty of collectibles and unlockable outfits to keep you busy for quite a long time.

I greatly enjoyed my time with Wunderling. It started out a little slow, but it quickly picked up and introduced some wonderful, challenging stages and cool new abilities to remain fresh throughout. Some of the levels aren’t as fun as others, but the majority of what’s there makes for a really good time. Plus, we finally know what it’s like to be a Goomba, and I gotta tell you, the life of a goon is hard, man.

Score: 7.5 out of 10

Follow this author on .