It's good. But...
I don't know. The game is pitch perfect. It knows what it wants to do, it has a great atmosphere, and it hits all the notes it needs to. That's why I rated it perfect. Because I don't think my personal opinions should influence that.
Now here's what bugged me, and I had to go back to the other games to realize it; the game does not feel like it takes place in wonderland anymore. I realize that it's an 'alternate' version which is significantly grittier and stuck in this kind of speakeasy environment, but it's still lacking that kind of "wonderland logic", as well as an atmosphere that was both charming and unsettling. I really would have liked to see that atmosphere really materialize, you know? I know this is coming across really garbled and strange, and as I said this is a more... emotional and stylistic quip of mine.
The rules of the game world are just too concrete, and too well set. The puzzles in this version make logical sense without forcing a mental 'leap of faith'. Let's take the first puzzle in the first game for example. We unlock a lock on a blue door, and hear something unlock. Of course we think it is the door. But when we find out that it isn't, we turn around and see the chest behind us is unlocked, revealing a staircase. It's strange and offkilter, but I feel that that puzzle did more to define the wonderland atmosphere than anything else in the game. Everything is just too straightforward in this episode. You have an objective right off the bat, you are always firmly settled on your path like a train on a rail. It's still a good game. It's a very good game. It's just that in light of this everything feels a little off in how right it is. It lacks the rawness of the first game, and fails to maintain the same unsettling sensation of the second game. It feels like the game fell just a little short of a satisfying mark, leaving me with a strangely dissatisfied feeling.
This is becoming a rant, so I will try to pull myself away now. In short, I feel that there was simply too much of our world in this one. In a place where shrinking elixirs exist and we recently killed a giant caterpiller with a spear, I was disappointed to find that the basic plot amounts to us being a hitman, something I have tired of so quickly and frequently. As I said. The plots, the characters in this game, the settings... It was all so, well, normal. No whimsy, and while it certainly had charm it was not the type I had expected out of a game with this premise.
Anyway, I'm sorry about the nine. I really wanted to give this game a ten. I really did. But for me, it just does not quite reach that point. Have a good night.