Alice in Wonderland: A New Champion is a free to play app which takes its inspiration from the 2010 Johnny Depp film of the same name. The game's true origins stem from Lewis Carroll's fertile imagination, and to truly capture Alice's world one must evoke the spirit our heroine's journey of self discovery. When one ventures through the looking glass, does this app merit a closer peek?

Although Alice appears in the adventure, she, along with the White Queen, are characters who help you through your quest to defeat the Red Queen. Enjoying the sheer beauty and breadth of Wonderland is an exploration that doesn't hinge on playing the game as Alice, a concept I learned last year from the first rate title A Wonderland Story. Your first choice with A New Champion features a not too subtle, yet highly welcome, nod to the author. I picked Carol, since she looks a tad more assertive than our wide eyed lad Lewis.

The actual game play of Alice in Wonderland: A New Champion is not that intriguing, as you'll spend a majority of your time accomplishing different tasks which in turn will earn you currency and stars. The more stars you accrue, the closer you get to leveling up, and that is only accomplished by completing simple, touch and tap based missions.

Whether it's crafting a potion, keeping the Mad Hatter happy, or even selling a teacup, most of these tasks are extremely simple to execute, and it's easy to see why this app is targeted for ages 4 and up. The joy, however, is in the pure search and eventual discovery of new items and missions within the game. With the use of possibility potions, you unearth different sections of Tulgey Wood, and delving into that misty section to uncover new items is one of the app's high points. During one particular excursion, I found a beautiful piece of armor and bumped into one of the town's mysterious denizens.

Even though few of us can ever claim to be as talented as Tim Burton or Lewis Carroll, we are the entire kings of the Wonderland universe with this app. We can zoom in or out of Alice's new domain with the use of a couple of fingers, and even though it's not a pure farming game, having a bird's eye view or an up close and personal look at Wonderland is an added plus. Even from a far distance, it's impressive to see the White Queen's backyard so beautifully trimmed.

The developers should also be credited for creating a free to play app which enables us to fully experience the adventure without paying a dime. Although in-game app purchases are available, I've accomplished a ton of missions without spending money on any kind of extra upgrades. Eventually you may want to buy extra bundles of gold to build really cool stuff in Wonderland, but if you're a penny pincher like me, spending your in-game currency on a simple item will do. I placed my recently purchased lamp smack dab in the middle of the Mad Hatter's sight line.

Although it's not the most complex app to play, Alice in Wonderland: A New Champion is perfect for gamers who are still in the process of exploring. The simplest transactions in Alice's world can lead to even deeper avenues to traverse, and this domino effect of discovery is the perfect lesson to impart to children of all ages. It doesn't matter what side of the looking glass you're on, a tea party awaits only if you're as mad, and adventurous, as a hatter.


App Store Link: Alice in Wonderland: A New Champion for iPhone & iPad | By Disney | Price: Free | Version: 1.1 | 48.1 MB | Rating: 4+

7.0 out of 10 arcade sushi rating