The best iOS games, no matter what genre, should immerse you into a world in which hours seem like minutes. Playing some platform or endless runner title while waiting at Starbucks is great for killing time, but is there something that keeps you up at night, playing on your iPad until the wee hours of the morning? I've found a few along the way, and I'm glad A Wonderland Story, with its hand painted characters and gorgeous visual design, has made that cut.

A Wonderland Story is not a new adventure for Alice, but instead you play the time conscious White Rabbit, who must make an appointment with the Queen or else suffer the consequences. Alice has actually traveled down the rabbit hole to chase him down and hug him to death. Whether you're in story or endless mode, you don't want to be caught in Alice's loving grip, because that means you've missed your date and must begin again at your saved checkpoint. Faltering and having to start over is a bummer, but when you get to see such beautifully rendered drawings after a recent misstep, well let's just say life totally doesn't suck.

You start off the game in story mode, and by completing the first level, you are able to unlock different chapters of endless mode. The game play for both versions are almost identical, as you collect jewels, which in turn increases your currency total. Having deep pockets enables you to browse at the Hatter's Shop, where shields, a stop watch, and spring powers are all available for purchase. These power ups, which aid in your confrontation with different creatures along the way and also aid in your time management, are only available for use in endless mode. Gamers who love a finite, more structured Wonderland experience will probably stick to story mode. Gold coins are also available to pick up in the endless mode, and the idea of seeing a randomized environment that will only shut off after you quit playing is definitely appealing.

As you can see from the above photo, there is a ton of imagery filling the screen, with each piece its own little block. The columns move up and down, and you just use a finger to control each column as the rabbit moves forward. Timing is everything, as bumping into adversaries sans a power up will put the rabbit in a temporary daze, thus affecting his time. Once he is pushed to the far left of your screen due to bad column management, the game is over. Moving your columns a specific way will help eliminate the enemies ahead of you and turn them into jewels as well as pave an easier path for the rabbit. Getting from one checkpoint to another within each level may infuriate some gamers, but players who have those type of complaints will probably hate the endless experience as well.

Whenever you complete one of the game's 37 achievements, you'll be notified at the top of the screen. It's just an added bonus to playing in a world which is constantly evolving before your very eyes. You don't have to be a Lewis Carroll or Alice enthusiast to soak into this Wonderland adventure. All you need is a little imagination and a watch to manage all those hours you will waste in the rabbit hole.

 

App Store Link: A Wonderland Story for iPhoneiPad | By Forest Moon Games | Price: $0.99 / $2.99 | Version: 1.0.1 | 37.2 MB / 93.6 MB | Rating 4+

8.5 out of 10 arcade sushi rating