By Fred Topel | Image property of respective holders
Wizard of Oz: Beyond the Yellow Brick Road
The Wizard of Oz: Beyond the Yellow Brick Road is a perfectly simple RPG for kids. That is to say, it’s simple enough that I can handle the game play. Actual kids will probably prefer something more advanced.
Review: Wizard of Oz: Beyond the Yellow Brick Road on Nintendo DS
The pseudo-track ball control actually works surprisingly well. I’m not particularly fond of touch screen movement. D-pads always served me just fine but swiping the on screen trackball in the direction and speed you want to move gets you around just fine.
The turn-based combat system is handled pretty much for you. You can make modifications if you want to aim attacks at different enemies, or switch off with party members. It doesn’t take long to build your skill up to where most enemies die in one hit. There are enough nuances to make it interesting, like characters whose power is so great they take up two turns.
It becomes a minor math problem about how to best use your party. Also, some characters do more damage to specific types of monsters. They explain this after you pick up the Tin Man, but I learned the hard way when I assigned Strawman to hit ghosts instead of jelly monsters. Yes, I’m playing a kids’ game.
The frequency of combat encounters is a little tiresome to me, considering you’re really just watching characters hit each other, but you can learn to walk around them if you’re in a hurry. Sometimes they’re aggressive but it is still a game. You have to fight sometimes.
It does save your game wherever you are. That always wins points in my book, since it’s such a no brainer. Especially on a handheld game, you may have to turn it off at a moment’s notice.
It’s cool to see your favorite Wizard of Oz characters in Nintendo animation form, and the attention paid to petting Toto is just adorable, with his little whimpers, sniffs and dog tricks. It gets more intricate as you move past the basic story and into the missions where there are multiple paths and less straightforward enemies. Basically, I’m hooked.