Based on the immensely popular cartoon series, Winx Club: Saving Alfea sees everyone's favourite fairies preparing for a school party - rounding up balloons, dresses and decorations in a series of puzzley, side-scrolling platforming levels. However, as is often the way, things take a turn for the worse when series' bad witch Selina shows up, summoning monsters from within the pages of the magical Legendarium book, with some help from her new-found Siphonix Talisman. Not wanting their party plans to go up in flames, the Winx set about defeating the monsters, destroying the talisman and generally saving the day, with the help of their fairy transformations and powers.
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With some 36 levels on offer, each of which are only a few minutes long, this is perfect for pick-up-and-play handheld fun. Levels are split into two main types - some that are more puzzley, and some that are more action based. In the former, you'll need to pull switches, avoid spikes and navigate moving platforms in search of the elusive party items, or in later levels, avoid or distract enemies rather than face them head on - Musa's ability to summon a portable disco comes in handy here, and the sight of a burly troll dancing is bound to raise a smile. You'll need to use each Winx member's special abilities to get through the puzzles too, although the game does flag up which character to change to and when - whether it's growing a seedling into a vine platform with Flora, or using Aisha's ability to move a glowing platform around. The latter type of levels are more combat-based, and focus on the girls' fairy transformations, revolving around simply dispatching all the enemies in a level with using your fairy powers - a mix of magical missiles and other protective spells that help them absorb damage or stun enemies.
Simple and forgiving enough for even the youngest of the young, Winx Club: Saving Alfea reminds us a bit of the various Disney Princess games, as they're great for an age group that tends to find other games too complex. About the only drawback is that there is some reading to do between levels, as none of the game is voiced - although any text that pops up is entirely story based, and has little to no impact on knowing what to do. Thanks to its big button prompts and easy to follow gameplay, you should still be able to get by without being able to read a thing.
Much like the TV show it's based on, Winx Club: Saving Alfea has no bad language, no gore and no sex references. Violence is of the slapstick, cartoony variety, in which you pelt fantastical creatures, such as trolls, dragons and evil looking fairy things with magical missiles to defeat them - at which point they simply fade away.
Format Reviewed: Nintendo 3DS