Willy's Wonderland - The Game

  • Couch Co-Op: 2 Players
  • + Co-Op Campaign
Willy's Wonderland - The Game - Co-op Review
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Willy's Wonderland - The Game - Co-op Review

The Five Nights at Freddy's-like horror film comes home as a short beat 'em up with easy Achievements.

Back before the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie came along, an indie horror movie called Willy’s Wonderland beat it to the punch. The low budget, pandemic-era film is actually a lot more fun than one might expect, helped in part by Nicholas Cage’s performance as a silent janitor. The movie received a mobile game adaptation in 2023, and that game has now been revived on consoles and Steam. Willy’s Wonderland – The Game from QUByte Interactive and Mito Games is not exactly an amazing game, but it is short, cheap, and co-op.

In the Willy’s Wonderland movie, Nicholas Cage’s janitor character has been tricked into working overnight in a defunct children’s birthday venue called Willy’s Wonderland. Liv, a young woman with a mysterious connection to the restaurant, breaks into the place in an attempt to both rescue the janitor and destroy the venue. Willy’s Wonderland is improbably haunted by the ghosts of cultists and serial killers who inhabit the eight animatronic robots inside. As the night passes, several teenagers and others fall prey to the deadly robots and a surprising amount of butt gets kicked by the protagonists. It’s a fast, fun, R-rated time.

Willy's Wonderland - The Game Xbox

The game adaptation is a beat ‘em up aimed at a younger crowd. None of the movie’s occasional gore is present. Blood appears on some of the floors, but that’s it. The game opens with a very plainly drawn, textless cinematic that accurately depicts the beginning of the movie. The Janitor (who does not resemble Nicholas Cage) and Liv are the two playable characters, and 2-player local co-op is supported.

Levels take place in actual locations from the film: the restaurant lobby, the bathroom, the kitchen, the roof, and more. How do you populate a beat ‘em up adaptation with enemies when the actual movie only had approximately 8 boss-style robots to fight? Well, the game does this by casting zombie humans as enemies. There are no zombies in the film, but the victims of the robots coming back as zombies makes about as much sense as the rest of the story. Some of the robots from the film act as recurring enemies as well, whereas others serve as level bosses.

The Game’s beat ‘em up gameplay is very simplistic, for better or worse. Our heroes can punch, kick, jump, lunge, and guard, though the latter three moves are never needed. Combos can be made from punches or kicks, but not a mixture of the two, so there’s no real depth there. Our heroes do have a useful spinning punch move that recharges over time, plus a trio of moves that consume their own rechargeable “FUN” meter. These moves can boost damage, boost combo potential, or heal the player. That’s all fine, but the game really needs some grappling moves and/or weapons to pick up. Mechanically, it never overcomes its origins as a touch-screen phone game.

Willy's Wonderland - The Game Xbox

Nobody is going to buy Willy’s Wonderland for the graphics or sound. It looks like an Xbox 360-era downloadable game. The whole thing is only 30 minutes long, and there are no extra modes. Not surprisingly, the Achievements/Trophies are super easy. You can get them all in one playthrough without going out of your way, though only the main player can unlock them. The actual difficulty is very low unless playing on Hard difficulty, so the developers clearly intend this as a cheap, easy Achievement game.

Willy’s Wonderland – The Game does a pretty good job of adapting the movie into a beat ‘em up experience. The game could’ve used some dialog to instill more personality and narrative, more moves and items to add depth, and extra modes for replay value. It doesn’t have those things, but it only costs five bucks. That’s a fair price for a “kid’s first” beat ‘em up and some easy Achievements. This is a game that you can play through with a significant other or young family member who doesn’t play games regularly, and everyone should make it to the end without getting frustrated.

Willy's Wonderland - The Game Xbox

Willy’s Wonderland – The Game sells for $4.99 on XboxPlayStationSwitch, and Steam.

A download code was provided by the publisher for this review.


Co-Op Score

The Co-Op Experience: The second player takes control of either The Janitor or Liv, depending on player 1's choice.

Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.