PS3 Review: Wonderbook: Diggs Nightcrawler

Does Wonderbook deserve a second chance with this kids’ detective story?

I must confess, I had not used Wonderbook up until now and after it’s less than successful demo at last year’s E3, I wasn’t exactly convinced of it as a peripheral. But after playing Diggs Nightcrawler has my opinion changed? Sort of, when it works…it’s impressive, but when it doesn’t it can be a frustrating experience.
The story itself is actually well told and feels like a mash-up of LA Noire and Shrek as your character Diggs tries to find out who whacked Humpty Dumpty and comes across other children characters like The Three Little Pigs who are the police, while Incy Wincy Spider is Humpty’s dame, it’s a good setting and even for an older gamer like myself, I was curious as to who the villain was, but I also like the interaction between the characters and the player as they acknowledge you and ask you to tilt and rotate the Wonderbook to do things like shine light on objects or use it in a car chase to weave through traffic.

After finishing a chapter, you can go back and take photos and videos with the Move controller which is a nice touch, although I’m not sure how many will do this. If there’s a real problem, it’s that moving Wonderbook around so much sometimes pushes it out of the range of the Playstation Eye, pausing the game until its back in focus. It’s not the easiest thing to use and while it’s nice and easy to play on the floor for kids, for adults who want to help them I can imagine it being difficult…I found it quite uncomfortable after a while, I must admit.
In terms of visuals, Diggs Nightcrawler has a nice charm and art style that definitely feels more Sin City than the land of fantasy that the characters come from. The voice-acting is actually pretty good too, while the music is what you would expect.

The Verdict

Wonderbook: Diggs Nightcrawler tells a great tale in a setting you wouldn’t expect for characters like Humpty Dumpty and it does it well. It’s just a shame that Wonderbook itself can be awkward to use and keeping it in focus with the PS Eye isn’t as easy it should be, but other than that it’s a nice addition to those who already have the accessory.