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iOS Release and Review: Whoowasit?

Brad Cummings
United States
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The Stats:
Compatibility: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Current Price: $2.99 (iPhone), $4.99 (iPad)
Developer/Publisher: Ravensburger Digital
Version: 1.02
Size: 114 MB
Multiplayer: Yes. Local.
AI: Yes.
Itunes link: Whoowasit? for iPhone and Whoowasit? for iPad

The Good:
- Interesting graphic design.
- Extremely high production value.
The Bad:
- Sound bites can become repetitive.

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Whoowasit? is a children’s game designed by Reiner Knizia. Ravensburger has delivered some interesting apps for kids so far and this is perhaps their most interesting app to date.

In Whoowasit? a team of up to four human or computer players are tasked with discovering the identity of a ring thief. This ring is needed in order to stop an evil wizard who is approaching the castle. The players are left alone in the castle so they must ask the animals in each room of the castle for clues. These animals will only give info when fed their favorite food. Each turn you can also search the rooms to look for keys, food items, or other useful things. The players are looking to use the animal clues to eliminate the different servants of the castle from being thief suspects. Like guess who the clues will be similar to: the thief is tall or the thief has nothing on their head. One the players have eliminated most of the suspects they can use keys to open the chests found in each room and see if that servant is the thief. The game is played until the players successfully open the chest containing the ring or until time runs out and wizard arrives. It is certainly a co-op game where players need to work together and listen. In the game all of the instructions and clues are given through voice clips. Nothing is written down. This is great for children (you do not have to be able to read to play) and requires an element of memory. The deduction elements also add a touch of Clue to the game.

I am not yet a father (in progress!) and so I may not be the best judge of children’s games. On BoardGameGeek the suggested age is 5 and up, which is probably about right, which means it will be at least 5 years before my child in progress is able to play. However, from my limited background I can say that this is the most interesting children’s game I have played on iOS. It combines elements of Clue and Memory into an interesting co-op game.

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In all things Whoowasit? seems geared for children. It features cute and simple menus with a little language dependence, but a child will most likely just memorize their way into a game. The in game graphics have the animation style of Labyrinth but with more of 3d Paper Mario Esque look. The castle is actually presented in pseudo 3D and players can pinch to zoom in and out. It really is a neat effect and was interesting to even me as an adult. Each room is generally clear to identify which is important since the animals refer to them by name though they are not labeled. The art really captures not only the original game but an interesting take on medieval fantasy.

A prominent feature of the game is its constant voice acting. Each clue and each instruction is given through a voice clip. This increases the level of memorization required as well as does away with the need to be able to read in order to play the game. It is an interesting choice for an iOS board game and pushes this app the highest level of production value I have ever seen. The voice work is overall well done and is usually very clear in its meaning. The clues and the animal who says them are all variable so there is no possibility to memorize the game. The voice seems like a good choice for kids but it can get repetitive. For example, there is a ghost in the game which when activated says the same thing each time. My guess is that children will not be as annoyed with this as I was but it is worth noting.

The game will certainly be challenging for kids as it requires finding information in the least amount of moves possible. The built in timer helps the game have focus and a trajectory. I really cannot recommend this enough if you have children. The nice part about this game is that if you do play it with children there should be enough meet there to keep you entertained. As for playing this alone as an adult, it could be fun depending on what you are looking for. It is a light co-op game but it does take some planning and luck in the harder difficulty levels. The voice acting does limit where this can be played unless you bring along headphones.

This is a great app if you have children, I would certainly recommend picking it up. It is a simple game that they can play on their own or with you depending on the situation. As for adults alone, it definitely is beautiful to look at but it very light for a co-op. The production value is so amazing it may just be worth checking out anyway.

Rating: 4/5 A good children’s game.

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