It's not often that a new DSiWare game shows up on the eShop, as that particular line of software is on the brink of extinction. Imagine, then, the shock when the G.G Series made its return to the service when Genterprise chose to localise the remaining games in the series. G.G Series WONDERLAND marked the beginning of the triumphant return and it was a good choice to lead with. For such a low price of admission, G.G Series WONDERLAND delivers a solid, if simplistic, bullet hell shooter experience.
Players take control of Alice from Lewis Carroll's classic literary tale and embark on a bizarre shoot 'em up tour through the crazy world of Wonderland. The unique setting presents an interesting break from the usual themes of games of this genre, as Alice blasts her way through strange enemies like card soldiers, griffins, and the Cheshire Cat, and the sprite designs of Alice and all the enemies she faces are excellently animated and detailed. While the environments that scroll by in the background aren't nearly as eye-catching as the sprites, they still do a decent job of conveying the Wonderland setting. All of this is paired with a rather generic soundtrack that does a good job of matching the tempo and pace of the action on screen.
Gameplay progresses in the same fashion as can be expected from a shoot 'em up; as the screen slowly scrolls by, players shoot at anything that moves while dodging all incoming attacks. At the end of every stage are boss fights which really take up the bulk of time spent playing this game, as complex attack patterns and a hearty health bar guarantee a protracted and lengthy fight. Alice has a basic, yet effective, moveset to take out her foes: there's a light attack that fans out in three directions, a heavy attack that deals significantly more damage at the cost of movement speed, and a screen clearing bomb that's charged up by defeating enemies. It's simple and it offers just enough diversity for there to be a bit of strategy behind the player's actions.
There are a few minor missteps that hold the overall experience back a little. For example, there are only three stages to shoot through and they can be cleared out in roughly 7-8 minutes, then the game loops back to stage one and gets a bit more difficult. Granted, games of this nature are made for score chasing, but it still would've been nice for a few more stages to be included. Another fault is that the hitbox on Alice's sprite is actually smaller than the sprite itself and isn't very clearly defined. Shots will pass through her head or other parts that are on the edges of her sprite, but she'll be struck if it impacts her somewhere in the middle. Given that the later boss fights have the screen virtually filled with bullets, it'd be nice to know exactly how much wiggle room the player has to manoeuvre around the volleys of attacks.
G.G Series WONDERLAND is a simple, enjoyable shoot 'em up that delivers a high quality game experience at a budget price point. Excellent spritework, tight controls, and fast paced gameplay combine to make this a well rounded arcade experience. There may not be a whole lot to it, but G.G Series WONDERLAND is addictive and fun, making this an easy recommendation.