Visual novels are indeed gaining much popularity these days, with many indie studios making games of the aforesaid genre and of course calling them “games”. While I do appreciate some decent storytelling, and a good story backing a game, these visual novels fail to offer some good gameplay and hence, they become bland unless the narrative is actually good. But in which area does, ‘Where The Water Tastes Like Wine’ lie? Let’s find out.
Where the Water Tastes Like Wine is an adventure game developed by Dim Bulb Games and Serenity Forge and published by Good Shepherd Entertainment. It was released for Linux, macOS, Windows on March 1, 2018.
Where The Water Tastes Like Wine
Story & Narrative
Unlike the title of the game, the game is pretty simple. You play as a skeleton with a bindle and end up indebted to a fox while challenging him to a game of poker. The main story is almost similar to Cuphead, only difference being, you are asked to collect stories from the world instead of souls, to pay your debt. After that, the game is all about your journey around the USA listening to, collecting, and sharing stories.
The variety of stories is what further elevates the game. The stories are told from people from all age groups, in different moods, and consists of stories of love, humour, horror, adventure, sadness, and what not. The stories just remind of the events which took place in America’s past. The ability to make choices in the game adds the much-needed player interaction which is elsewhere almost devoid, and, where present, is exceedingly bland, in the game.
Gameplay & Mechanics
There is hardly much or rather nothing else to do in the game apart from the things mentioned above. The missions in the game involve telling the stories to the respective characters, and other random characters which you encounter in the game. The latter comprising of characters which are thirsty for stories, and players get the opportunity to tell them a story from the ones they have collected to satisfy them, and you get three attempts to do so.
The ultimate idea is to complete the titular story. Until that is finished, you are supposed to roam around the country, talking to various people (depending upon the decisions you make while moving and while talking), and increasing your own collection so to speak.
You interact with them, hear their stories, and you are even given the choice of making a decision with respect to the particular story which further decides the outcome. You succeed, you hear their story. If you fail, the random characters disappear into the world, while main characters need to be re-tried with new collections of stories.
Graphics & Sound
Ignoring the lack of proper gameplay as such, and rather focusing on the game’s real motive, that is delivering a rich narrative experience, we realize everything revolves around that singular aspect. The different stories in the game are exceedingly well written by some of the best writers in the industry. The way the stories are articulated, it makes even the blandest of them sound impressive, but, at times the stories are painfully verbose.
The art style of the game is definitely praiseworthy, if not unique. The various representation while listening to the stories is what momentarily drives the urge to proceed further in the respective story, but the blandness in terms of gameplay ensure that the urge dies out soon.
The game’s map world is 3d and less detailed, but still, it’s good if not great (Okay its average). The sound design is absolutely stunning and it’s indeed one of the very few merits in the game.
Since there is no real processing going on in the background, this game is supposed to run neatly even on weak systems, and you should not have any trouble running it whatsoever even on a low tier system.
Overall, Where the Water Tastes Like Wine is indeed one of the best games out there offering a rich storytelling experience. The major drawback of the game is that story is only what it has to offer, and there is no gameplay in the game which makes the 10-hour journey tiresome, and, bland. For people looking for a rich narrative experience and don’t mind playing games without any gameplay as such, it’s probably a must buy since it has a variety of intriguing stories to offer. For people looking for a game with an equally good gameplay experience, this game is not probably the one that will suit their needs.