With horrid controls and a fantasy-land setting that belies its devilishly unforgiving nature, Wonderdream reminded me at once of the Genesis dud Fantasia. Fantasia's own creators ultimately admitted that their game was a regrettable, unfinished rush job, an abomination so clunky and unpolished that players couldn't help but feel they were fighting a losing battle as they haplessly bumbled into one beating after another. Whether Face had neither the time nor the resources to shape Wonderdream into something playable or simply were content to release what they might've proclaimed a "high-level challenge" is something we may never know, but their "efforts" led to a debacle that brought back that "losing battle" feeling for me. Alice is a stumbling, incompetent heroine who struggles to perform even the basic mascot-platformer bounce-on-their-heads technique, resorts to a terribly weak and silly-in-concept "howl attack," and slides about a land that contains no shortage of thin columns and bottomless pits.
While Wonderdream's dreadful gameplay reminded me of fear-inducing Fantasia, the environments it had me explore called to mind a number of superior 16-bit titles. Faussete Amour's pastel-shaded countryside, The Legendary Axe's log-laden rapids, Rastan Saga II's distant woodland structures, Chiki Chiki Boy's dense jungle, and Castle of Illusion's cake-and-candy realm all have drab counterparts here. (Castle even lends clownish foes to Face's atrocity.)