It’s crazy to think that, as a child, I could sit for hours staring at a Where’s Wally? (Waldo, for our American cousins) book, hunting down the bizarre checklist of items and situations hidden in the complicated tableaux.
Nowadays I tend to lose my patience when hunting down a lost phone charger for more than ten minutes - something that Where’s Wally? in Hollywood appears to be acutely aware of, given that the traditional searching takes up such little space in the overall game.
The aim of Where’s Wally? in Hollywood should be familiar to all those who grew up pre-internet, or just loved picture books as a child.
There's a sequence of images, usually based around a theme like ‘Medieval ages’, or in Hollywood’s case, different types of films, with a number of items from Wally’s backpack and the man himself hidden somewhere within.
You might think picking out a unique red-and-white striped hitchhiker is a fairly easy task, given that very few images contain others wearing the same getup, but, probably due to some psychological consequence of having so much going on at once, the images are nicely tricky to solve.
As with later Wally books, Hollywood also throws in a few of the ‘gang’ like Wenda and The Wizard, who also wear the stripy top and similar colours to the titular character.
He’s right there!
The game is split up into various separate mini-games, starting with the traditional Search and flirting with other popular (read: 'overdone') games like the cursed sliding block puzzle and the enjoyable Minesweeper.
Search should be where the most fun is had, but the images seem to lack the colour and busyness of the books, with each feeling like a collection of ‘stuff’ rather than a connected series of ramshackle and surreal events.
This is nowhere more apparent than in the checklist, with every level tasking the player with finding a few objects and the ‘gang’, but failing to include the cryptic clues that the books had. This makes the whole affair too easy, and lacking in the confusion and exhilaration of finding a particularly clever pun.
Look, follow my finger
The other modes are best described as perfunctory, lacking as they do any semblance of originality.
The worst of these is ironically a spin on the standard Search mode, in which items from other images are added and the player is tasked to identify them.
This could have been quite a fun twist, but it ends up consisting of two or three different, large items that stick out from the rest like a very sore thumb, and subsequently lacks any kind of challenge.
The presentation of the title as a whole, though, is well done – the controls, graphics, and even the cheesy audio fit the mood of the game perfectly. Yet even with this fine coat of paint surrounding proceedings, Where’s Wally? in Hollywood is unlikely to hold your attention for longer than a few minutes.