Review by Rick West
Kind of. There was also a heck of a lot of work that went into the development for the wildly-popular iPhone GPS-based game, designed by Greg Maletic.
Based in San Francisco, California, as the Founder of the creative technology application firm The Future of Pinball, LLC, Maletic became interested in creating a social fan application for Disneyland that would allow fellow enthusiasts to communicate with one another via Facebook and Twitter by letting them post where they were at the theme park and what they were doing. At the same time, Greg also began toying with a feature that was originally, supposed to be just a fun little twist to the application - users being able to unlock secret, additional features as they used Wishing Stars more and more.
Utilizing the GPS technology resident in both the iPhone 3G and 3GS, Greg began creating a virtual scavenger hunt that would take Disneyland visitors all over the Magic Kingdom in search of "stars" that would unlock further quests within the game.
Wishing Stars is made up of different quest groupings, which Greg has dubbed "Quest Books". They range from easy fun (perfect for kids) to extremely challenging for the most veteran Disneyland enthusiasts around. To advance through the game and unlock further Quest Books, users need to go to specific locations at Disneyland Park and answer Wishing Stars questions correctly. The GPS technology then kicks in and if you've given a correct answer, Wishing Stars lets you advance further into its wonderful world of trivia.
Some of Wishing Stars' questions are image-based; the game gives you a picture to look at and it's up to you to scour Disneyland in search of its actual location. The integration of the GPS technology makes it impossible for lazy gamers to cheat and simply input the correct answer - if the game says to go to a certain spot within Mickey's Toontown or on Tom Sawyer Island, you'd better lace up your boots and get moving, because that is where you will need to go in order to submit a correct answer to the application!
The range of questions and the difficulty levels make Wishing Stars a blast for the entire family to play as a team - young children may be able to answer easier questions or find more obvious landmarks along the way (although don't underestimate your kids - their level of observation sometimes trumps us "big kids") and older folks in your crew can handle the tougher trivia. Wishing Stars has something for everyone - it doesn't leave anyone out, which is one thing we really loved about this game.
For the purpose of getting through Wishing Stars as quickly as possible to review the game for our readers, Theme Park Adventure blasted through the game as quickly as we could - and even though we went to Disneyland with the specific intention of completing Wishing Stars quickly, it still took two trips and hours to complete. Casual gamers not in such a hurry or on such a focused mission will find that it takes quite a while to successfully take on Wishing Stars; this isn't a one-time deal. It's a fantastic Disneyland trip companion that you can pick and poke at, however you' like. It's great and doesn't take over your life - unless you want it to!
Wishing Stars is currently only available as a Disneyland-based trivia game. Greg does however, assure us that a Walt Disney World version is on the way, as well as new Disneyland Quest Books! For the time being, Wishing Stars is a Disneyland-based game - which shouldn't be too much of a business roadblock for Greg, as the Anaheim resort now has more than one million Annual Passholders; some of them are sure to have iPhones!
This is a product that we feel is absolutely worth-while and worth the price. Wishing Stars is completely well thought-out and there was definitely a lot of love and effort that went in to making this game. Our honest suggestion is that all Disneyland fans try it out; we're sure you'll love it as much as we do!
Wishing Stars is available for download from the iTunes App Store and users wanting more information about the game itself are encouraged to check out the official Wishing Stars website.