Wondershot PS4 Review
Publisher: Leikir Studio Developer: Leikir Studio Genre: Party, Action Players: 1-4
Age Rating: 7+ Other console/handheld formats: Xbox One
It’s sad that local multiplayer is often ignored by developers these days, who oddly think that people don’t like playing games together in the same room any more. Fortunately, there are people like French developer Leikir Studio, who want to recapture their offline multiplayer memories and keep same-room competitive and cooperative gaming alive.
The developer has come up with Wondershot, a game that forgets online multiplayer altogether and focuses on local play for up to four players. The studio have mentioned a fondness for their local multiplayer memories, and set out to recreate this with the pick-up-and-play game that is Wondershot, which has been described as a multiplayer festival.
Yes, Wondershot is powered by a very simple idea of one hit for a win or loss, and it’s very easy to get into. The basic controls don’t take much getting to grips with, but the helpful tutorial does reveal to you that the game does have a little depth for you to explore as well. There’s a lot to like here, and the game does have a distinct charm.
Played from a top-down perspective, Wondershot has various modes to its name, which includes the multiplayer-only battle mode, and the adventure mode. The adventure mode is comprised of 45 single player challenges as well as an endless mode, which can be played alone or with up to three others.
With only three modes, there’s not an awful lot of variation in the battle mode, and, disappointingly, the modes are rather similar to one another, with some of the differences between two of the modes only being obvious if you play with more than two players, although, whether you decide to have every man for him/herself rules or team up against others, there’s still huge amounts of simple fun to be had. Battle modes include Last Nipper (which is basically Last Man Standing), Nippernator (you earn a point for every player that you hit), and Diabolik Duel in which the arena quickly starts shrinking. If you want to alter the rules, you can also set up your own custom games as well, and there are quite a number of options to tinker with. You can adjust options so that everyone uses the same weapons, you can alter the time it takes before sudden death, change the score limit, turn the roll move off or make it quicker, and even choose which power-ups will appear, or turn them off entirely if you’d prefer to go without. If you are feeling really confident in your abilities, you can even switch on an option that has you being eliminated as soon as you miss a shot. Good luck with that one.
As the game only allows one hit before a player is eliminated, rounds are often over in no time at all, which makes for a party game that can be successfully played in short bursts, and if you are a particular type of person, rounds can also be ultra competitive. I definitely had a feeling of tension as I duked it out in the rather small arenas, which get even smaller during sudden death and in the Diabolik Duel mode. There’s also much satisfaction to be had by winning a round and then viewing a quick replay that shows off how things came to a sudden end.
As for the adventure mode, the endless mode can be found here, and is best enjoyed with others beside you. Taking on waves of AI enemies to see how far you can get is one of the best ways to play the game. The AI monsters are also pleasingly varied in their attacks, with some charging towards you, others jumping on you, some avoiding your attacks, others releasing projectiles, and some even protecting others, or pulling you towards them with a chain. The adventure mode also features a single player challenge mode, which has you killing a certain amount of enemies, defeating enemies within a specific time limit, or just surviving for a given time limit, all of which are spread across 45 different challenges. Even though the focus was on the multiplayer, Wondershot has also turned out to be a very enjoyable single player game, and because of the difficulty of some of them, the challenges should keep you going for a good while.
Wondershot features four characters, although other than their design, they offer nothing unique to set each of them apart from one another. There are four different weapons, the bow and arrow, the boomerang, the slingshot and the hammer, although whichever character you choose will be able to use each of these weapons as well as any of the various power-ups that appear in the arenas, which includes everything from ammo that can be fired through walls to super speed and slow motion. I’m thinking that the developer was aiming for perfect balance with the game, although it’s still a shame that the characters don’t have anything to make them distinct from one another in the way that they play.
Fortunately, the four weapons are very distinct and offer added depth though. The bow and arrow allows for quick homing shots or can be fired in exactly the direction that you want the arrows to go, the boomerang obviously comes back to you, although it’s satisfying in the way that you can launch it in one part of the arena, move somewhere else, and take enemies out on its return flight back to you. As for the final two weapons, slingshot ammo can be bounced off walls, and it’s possible to thrust yourself forward through objects with the hammer. If you miss with a weapon, you’ll have to retrieve it, although if you hit an opponent you automatically receive it back. Making use of portals in certain arenas is also satisfying with the weapons, particularly if you manage to, say, fire an arrow through one portal and it passes through another, killing an enemy in the process. The game also features a very helpful roll manoeuvre, which will save you many times, and it’s also possible to strafe, which is helpful for lining up shots during certain situations.
Wondershot certainly doesn’t push current generation hardware, but it still has a very likeable and cute art-style. The game also has tons of personality, with everything from the look to the sound proving that a game doesn’t have to be soulless just because it was made on a tight budget.
Wondershot is a very likeable game then, and if Leikir Studio’s intention was to make a spirited party game that is rather addictive, offers competition, partnering-up, laughs, charm, simplicity and a little added depth in terms of the weaponry, then they have certainly succeeded in what they set out to achieve. The battle mode could have had a little more variation and the characters could have been more distinct, but what we have here is still a highly recommended local multiplayer party game that is deserving of plenty of attention.