A gorgeous example of interactive artwork, but poor gameplay mires the experience.
Mobile devices seem perfectly designed to accommodate the sort of Where's Wally? action that Funny Wood brings to the App Store. Assuming the roles of various outlandish characters from imps, to wooden creatures, and what we're convinced is a pea mashed onto a piece of green Blu-Tack, you need to hunt through animated scenes to dig out hidden items and solve the unfolding mystery.
It starts with your pea-like creature, Mossy, taking a daytime stroll through the forest before discovering a strange map, which he then loses as a gust of wind blasts fragments of the map all over the forest. From here you tackle a series of landscapes, hunting out the missing items that hold the clues to the unfolding mystery.
There are six locations to peer your way around, and they're all stuffed to the brim with characters, details and animations. In the picnic area, it's an absolute feast for the fingers and eyes. Tapping on individual elements causes characters to come alive and respond to your actions, and as you explore the scenery, searching for those missing objects, you'll get a chance to savor every aspect of the game's design.
What's show-stoppingly unfortunate about Funny Woods though is that those pieces are far too small to satisfy the presumed audience for the game (younger children), and they lack distinction from the other similar objects on the playing field. As a result, you'll end up feeling far more encouraged to simply tap like a lunatic over every area of the screen, rather than hunt each item out individually.
The developers clearly don't want you to do that though, and so fluffy clouds and bubbles drift over the landscape, obscuring your taps unless you shoo them out of the way first. But rather than motivating you to explore more deeply through each scene, these elements simply add to the frustration.
Once per level, you're allowed to use a magnifying glass that automatically pinpoints one missing object, and we defy anyone to resist the urge to head straight for this tool the moment you find yourself just one item short of success. While it seems you can buy more of these tools, the in-app purchase store failed to even attempt to connect whenever we tried to explore the options that are available.
Beyond the storyline, Survival mode adds a timed challenge which will certainly keep you on your toes as you frantically search for the next item that will add a handful of seconds to the rapidly depleting timer. If you want to dip into an old favorite map, you can also dive in via the map selector, and re-do some old missions.
As a piece of interactive artwork, Funny Wood presents a glorious feast of intricately detailed animations, exploration and discovery. As a game though, it's very lacking and its method of handling those meager gameplay elements, to make those items so unsatisfying to find, will leave players of all ages feeling frustrated, rather than challenged.
What's Hot: Beautiful artwork combined with very inventive animations and character details.
What's Not: What limited gameplay there is in Funny Wood is sorely hampered by its methods of obscuration.