In Wayward Strand, out in the present day on PC, Change, PlayStation and Xbox, you play the function of a teenage lady, caught visiting the place her mom works. Which occurs to be an enormous, floating airship moored off the coast of Australia, and which having been decommissioned as a luxurious vessel is now serving as a retirement house.
In some methods, it’s very a lot a sport about being a youngster taking their first tentative steps into an grownup house. Your character, Casey, is writing an article about her time on the airship, and on the insistence of her mom—a nurse—spends three days visiting the in any other case lonely residents of the airship, chatting with them about each their previous and current.
Casey is nervous, and uncertain about herself. We’ve all been there; a piece expertise placement, perhaps, or only a first day on our first job, that awkward level the place your childhood’s rubber meets the grownup workforce’s street. And so Wayward Strand is in some ways a sport about that crucible, as over the course of three days Casey grows in confidence, comes out of her shell and begins to let her skills and character shine.
But it’s additionally a sport concerning the different finish of the age spectrum. The purpose of the sport is to wander the airship’s hallways, stopping in at every of the resident’s rooms to pay them a go to. At first it’s nearly unbearably routine; hello, my title’s Casey, what’s yours, that’s a beautiful image, simply essentially the most mundane small discuss. However that’s how most relationships begin, and because the days move, the residents cease being targets and begin changing into, if not pals, then at the least folks.
It’s maybe the sport’s biggest achievement that at a number of instances it made me really feel like full shit for not visiting my Nan extra usually. In your first day on the airship its aged inhabitants are introduced a lot the way in which the outdated usually are in our media; type, candy, but additionally infirm, weak, forgetful. Characters outlined by their age and bodily stature, and little else. The extra you work together with them, although, and the extra you discover their rooms—every helpfully over-decorated like an octogenarian teenager’s bed room—the extra their tales, and lives, are uncovered.
These aren’t outdated folks. They’re individuals who have grown outdated. That they had thrilling lives, beloved and misplaced, dramatic exploits. What they’re now isn’t all they’ve ever been, and it’s an absolute pleasure attending to know each one in every of them over the sport’s three days.
The way you get to know them is one other of Wayward Strand’s achievements. This sport isn’t telling you a single story, it’s leaving a dozen (or extra!) of them mendacity round, every unfolding in real-time, and leaving it as much as the participant to pop in on every one in every of them and see how issues are going.
When you’re familar with the play Sleep No Extra—which I used to be fortunate sufficient to catch together with the remainder of the employees on a NYC work journey one yr—Wayward Strand unfolds in a really comparable method. When you’re not acquainted, assume Jordan Mechner’s basic, non-linear journey sport The Final Categorical. in case you’re not acquainted with that, think about as an alternative that this sport’s inhabitants are NPCs in a Bethesda NPC, every with their very own little clockwork lives and schedules, every of them taking part in out whether or not you’re there to see them or not.
Your function in Wayward Strand—your solely actual gameplay job in any respect, actually—is to intercept these tales and make sense of them, whether or not its within the service of fixing a thriller or simply attending to know somebody’s life story. You don’t actually discover this happening round you at first, however when you’ve received to satisfy everybody onboard, and gotten a really feel for his or her relationships and habits, the entire place actually does come alive.
I’ve actually loved Wayward Strand. Other than the attractive, intertwined storyline I additionally recognize how Australian this sport is, from a number of the wardrobe choices to the sensible casting decisions. We don’t get to see ourselves in video video games like this fairly often, so it was nice to relax with one thing so at house, and at peace, with its origins.
A remaining warning, although: I had plenty of hassle taking part in by means of this as a result of the sport has no guide saves, and its autosaves are fairly sparse. When you’re planning on smashing by means of it you’ll be tremendous, but when like me you possibly can’t all the time dedicate hours at a time to a single session you would possibly wish to go away it working or you possibly can lose a good chunk of progress.