Wawa Land has received a series of updates since our review– a sign of a responsive developer, which we appreciate. The updates have fixed a lot of the technical flaws with which we originally struggled, including the slippery landings after jumps, and the ability to press jump twice to double-jump instead of holding it, along with several options for changing the controls.
The updates also added an introduction to the plot, and rebranded the game as “Wacoon Jump”. The reasoning behind the name change is unclear, but Wacoon is a lot easier to play than the original Wawa, even if it isn’t as fun to say. Four out of the six worlds are still “coming soon” and some aspects of the game are still awkward (e.g. bomb use and water combat), but the updates really made a difference for the game, and move it into the “Good” category.
It’s clear that Wawa Land is trying to provide an equivalent of Mario on iOS, which gives the game some big shoes to fill. Fortunately, there is no lack of spirit in the game’s protagonist, and no lack of potential for the game for the game itself. In its current state, Wawa Land doesn’t fulfill all of its potential, but it makes respectable progress.
The plot of Wawa Land is never formally introduced, but it appears as though a determined cat named Wawa is trying to save a member of the monarchy. To accomplish this familiar goal, Wawa has to jump on enemies, hop over bottomless pits, and leap off of walls, accruing coins along the way. In almost every aspect the game parallels Mario, but it puts a characteristic spin on every parallel, which makes it feel significantly less like a clone.
Jump for joy.
Wawa Land is a platformer with six different worlds, although only two are currently available, which is disappointing. But every good platformer needs replay value, and Wawa Land supplies this through a list of clever achievements accompanied by bonus items in each level.
Also providing replay value is the variety of the levels, which give you clouds to jump through, weird sea creatures to swim around, and a cart to ride through a mine full of safety code violations. The enemies also have an appreciable variety, as do the ways to dispatch them, from underwater bubbles to bombs. Sadly, the combination of bombs with the game’s many narrow passages make explosives almost always end badly.
Our biggest complaints with Wawa Land revolved around technical flaws. The game has slippery physics, which become more apparent as you play on. Little things tripped us up, from Wawa always sliding after landing from a jump to lagging moments that often proved fatal. Also, the ability to jump higher by holding the jump button longer– which works in many games– serves to make jumping an unexpectedly awkward experience. These features joined forces to make the game’s challenging parts more frustrating than motivating.
Even so, providing a suitable equivalent to Mario is no easy task, and Wawa Land has solid footing to achieve this goal. If the developer follows through with more chapters and addresses the technical shortcomings, this game could shine through and serve as a staple in any iOS gamer’s library. As is, Wawa Land lacks universal appeal, but it is a good game that provides certain enjoyment for any platforming fan.