Genre: Children Developer: Headgames Publisher: Sega of America Players: 1 Released: 1994
My best friend, who grew up with me, and who I’ve known since around second grade, was in town for a week and took me to Play-n-Trade two days before New Years 2009 so I could snipe deals on Genesis games and we could celebrate New Years playing Genesis. We walk in and immediately walk over to the “buy two, get one free” retro table, and oh my god it was abundant with Genesis classics in great shape, as well as a couple of other odds and ends from other consoles. I picked up a few to buy, Battletoads, Lethal Enforcers, Shaq-Fu (for laughs, it was only $0.99), Turok 2 (N64, my friend recommended it.), Elevator Action (NES, to complete the free deal).
After picking up Shaq-Fu, I saw a Sonic game behind it I had never seen the cover of before. So I pick it up and read the title, Wacky Worlds Creative Studio, and I looked to the top of the cartridge art, I see “Sega Club.” It was at that point that I became so curious that I couldn’t stand it and had to buy the game no matter how bad it was because if I left it on that table I’d be up that night wondering if I skipped a quality Genesis game. Later, during to Arby’s to pick up dinner, my friend and I conversed about what I had picked up. I said,” Yeah, I totally know about everything I got except this.” I held up Wacky Worlds.” Well, It is a Sonic game, but hell if I know what it is.” Jacob said.
After getting home and putting the cartridge through its paces, I have to say that I am disappointed. I guess I can’t be too mean because after all, this is only a Sega Club game intended for kids around the pre-school – first grade age range. Wacky Worlds is a lot like an old computer/Mac game called The Man Hole, but that one was rather interesting, while Wacky Worlds is a somewhat dull click-fest. Now The Man Hole, which is made by the team who made Myst, had no set goals, objectives, story or point. It was just a bunch of random locations where you clicked on any random thing, something would happen, and then you would move on. The same premise applies to Wacky Worlds.
Now, before I do nothing but complain about a child’s game like an idiot, let me state for the record that it does have some interesting things for its intended demographic to do, and it is a great game for them. However, once players have seen everything there is to offer here, there is literally nothing else to do but let the cartridge gather dust and be pushed to the back of their collection, next to copies of Shaq-Fu, Bubsy 3D, and 3 Ninjas Kick back.
This is not to say that Wacky Worlds has nothing of value to offer, It’s basically a virtual doll house and coloring book, but for some reason, I find it interesting. There are six worlds, and each Planet has a distinct theme. There is a graveyard, undersea, space, castle, tropical area, and a house. Plus you can pick a level and then bring elements (called stickers) of other levels in. For instance, I can have zombies from the graveyard in the underwater level. I can also color a single sprite rainbow colors – like have a tree bright pink and make a neon green tree stump. That more or less sums up what this game is. It sounds primitive, and it mostly is, but there are deeper aspects that impress me.
Although it’s brutally basic, Wacky Worlds has some stuff that surprises me. Like I said before, there is a coloring book aspect but instead of clicking on a character, bringing up the color option, and only getting to color the sprite one color, you can actually color multiple parts of a sprite different colors and shades. It may sound like an unnoticeable and worthless feature to some, but until you play it, you can’t really appreciate it. That’s the trick to Wacky Worlds, It’s a game you can’t watch someone else play. You have to play it yourself to grasp the gameplay. Also, I like the fact that I can have zombies next to the little mermaid in a medieval environment.
One last, notable fact is the ability to select the music that plays as you tinker with levels. There are four different types of music with four songs in each type. Three of which are sort of generic but sound really good. The three types are at least appealing enough that you might want to listen to them again, and they do show off what GEMS (a basic Genesis sound program) could do when programmed correctly. There is good use of multiple instruments, and I was a tad impressed. Then there was one music selection though, that just made me laugh. There is an awesome sounding ToeJam & Earl soundtrack. They’re great, and I recommend listening to them on YouTube, They’re that good. So good and original, actually, that the four TJ&E songs seem out of place when they come on in the middle of making a medieval knight purple.
Overall, for a kids game for players ages four to six, this seems like a decent virtual pacifier. Other then that it’s skippable, I’m not entirely sure how to give this a fair score, since it’s not intended for me. Wacky Worlds a fair title that the ankle biters will take to, but if you are above the age of six and have Revenge of Shinobi skills, then leave this in the back of the bargain bin to sit with the other Sega Club and EA Sports titles. Also, I would give this a seven, but to be honest – and I really hate to give the SNES props over the Genesis (because everyone and their cactus praises the SNES; I try to be different)- but Mario Paint is the one exception to the rule for me when it comes to the age old question of “is this sort of game better on SNES or Genesis/Mega Drive.” Mario Paint is more customizable and free-form, while Wacky Worlds is more set in stone, and you can’t play around as much. Sega made a valiant attempt but failed. Potential lost, but I suppose it’s better to fail and learn then to have never tried at all.