I didn’t find the game to be overly difficult, but there are a few challenging levels along the way, and the final boss battle can be a bit of an annoyance. He will challenge you to two games, and will require you to meet a high quota in the final battle of Shiritori. Since it had been awhile since I last played a game of Shiritori this proved to be a bit of a challenge, but it didn’t take me too long to get my Japanese back.
There are some levels that involve going from left-to-right or from bottom-to-top, and that’s another area where this game displayed a bit of originality. This wasn’t completely unusual at the time, but it added some variety to the game.
The controls are simple enough, and relatively easy to figure out. A to jump, B to attack. There are a few items you can collect along the way that allow you to become invisible (and essentially invincible), release a charged shot, or stay in the air longer by mashing the A button.
Some of these items are vital to your success, especially in levels that involve staying in the air for prolonged periods in order to survive. You may also be offered special items along the way. It’s not always to your advantage to take them, but the choice is up to you. One of the special items allows you to fly in the air indefinitely by holding the A button (Wagan basically becomes a helicopter). All in all, the stages leading up to the bosses are relatively short and easy to beat. There are some alternate routes leading up to the final stage, which gives the game some replay value.
The graphics are fairly primitive, but they are sufficient in conveying different elements like backgrounds, enemy characters, and items. The bare necessities are here.
Sound & Music
I found the music in this game to be fairly enjoyable. Most of the soundtrack is made up of island-feel themes. Wagan Land is basically a kid’s game, so there aren’t really any haunting, ominous themes here.
It’s a fun and nostalgic game for me, but there really isn’t much to it. It’s less of a challenge than Mario, that is, if you understand Japanese. Otherwise, you might be in trouble. It took me roughly 2 hours to finish it, and it’s obviously possible to finish it in less (especially using warps).
Here’s some excellent gameplay footage: