Metascore
74

Mixed or average reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 40
  2. Negative: 1 out of 40
  1. 100
    Where the Water Tastes Like Wine is an incredible achievement, and the latest in a growing body of games that really push the bounds of what the medium can do. It is, at its heart, a game about stories, and the incredible power that they have, brought to life in the most beautiful way possible.
  2. PC PowerPlay
    Apr 5, 2018
    90
    A wonderful, strange, sad trek through the myth of America. [Issue#270, p.52]
  3. Mar 12, 2018
    90
    If you enjoy tomes about the wonders of living on the road and meeting people who populate the fringes of society you’ll feel, as you indulge, that you’ve briefly stepped into the legendary shoes of Studs Terkel, John Steinbeck and Maya Angelou all rolled into one.
  4. Feb 28, 2018
    90
    As a game devoted to the art of storytelling itself, Where the Water Tastes Like Wine shines with its powerful writing, exceptional voice-acting, and its visual and aural elements that bring players back into the time of tall tales and endless stretches of road to explore.
  5. Feb 28, 2018
    90
    For those willing to take the chance, what awaits is a fantastic, mesmerizing trip across America and its parables and oddities throughout the ages, with a journey that’s easy to get lost in full of amazing writing, splendid characters and superb performances all around.
  6. Feb 28, 2018
    90
    Where The Water Tastes Like Wine is a surprisingly beefy adventure game, offering over 20 hours of content and a treasure trove of stories that never cease to entertain.
  7. Mar 5, 2018
    89
    Where the blood of Chicago’s murdered factory workers pours roaring into the Mississippi Delta and the Devil reverently sings the lowest blues, there beats the heart of a non-existent nation. A narrative tour-de-force through one hundred years of pain, blood, loss, struggle and unlikely triumph. Minor technical issues aside, this is the new high water mark for video games seamlessly crossing over into pure art.
  8. Mar 1, 2018
    87
    There’s a lot to love about Where The Water Tastes Like Wine, from the beautiful and surreal 2D hand-drawn imagery that adds an air of eeriness. In combination with the blues and roots music, it makes for a perfectly atmospheric game with a ton of great catchy tunes.
  9. Mar 29, 2018
    85
    Johnnemann Nordhagen created a truly compelling experience, an adventure that almost defies words. It has its flaws but once you are drawn into this rich world it is hard to get out.
  10. Mar 5, 2018
    85
    If it were not for the abrupt, bad and intrusive interruptions of a really badly managed inventory and some forced dialogue in some phases of the adventure, we would then find ourselves in front of a real masterpiece.
  11. Mar 1, 2018
    85
    Where the Water Tastes Like Wine is an excellent exploration of stories and the meanings we place upon them. It's a road trip game through the American landscape that's punctuated by astounding writing and entertaining encounters. There's nothing quite like it, and it's doubtful that there ever will be.
  12. games(TM)
    Mar 22, 2018
    80
    An evocative exploration of the art of storytelling. [Issue#198, p.78]
  13. Mar 19, 2018
    80
    Where the Water Tastes Like Wine is an adventure game that perfectly encapsulates the spirit of adventure. Roam the United States countryside, meet interesting folks and swap tall tales until sunrise.
  14. Mar 5, 2018
    80
    The aesthetics, soundtrack, and writing here are wonderful and more than reward the patience required to fully unravel the game’s mysteries. Playing it resulted in an immersion that went beyond my niggles with the gameplay. It is clear from my comments here that the game won’t have the universal appeal to match the political and social importance of its themes and message. It is a game that should be played by many, but that will probably frustrate as many as it ensnares. It more than lived up to my expectations and if you are interested in exploring the ways in which games can go beyond other media in their use of narrative then it is unmissable.
  15. Mar 1, 2018
    80
    Where the Water Tastes Like Wine's slow pace may grate on some, but those who can acclimatize are in for a fascinating deconstruction of America, as seen through the myths, folklore, and scraps of history we tell each other.
  16. Mar 1, 2018
    80
    Where the Water Tastes Like Wine is a fascinating study of a bygone era in America, though it clearly has roots in today’s world and modern urban legends It’s got so much personality, so much to offer and provides such an insight into how our culture developed over the course of its history. While featuring clunky controls, it’s well worth the price of admission.
  17. Feb 28, 2018
    80
    Where The Water Tastes Like Wine gets to translate the oral narrative into a game mechanic. The way the game transforms and mutates the stories that we know and we tell makes the game a deep reflection about the most human act of all: telling our experiences to others so they can learn from us.
  18. Feb 28, 2018
    80
    Where The Water Tastes Like Wine is a welcome addition to the adventure genre. While its minute-to-minute narrative lacks the complexity and pull of classic adventure games, its open-world design and unique approach to storytelling make it something unlike anything I've ever played before. For those looking to lose themselves in an atmospheric world with phenomenal music and voice acting, Where The Water Tastes Like Wine is worth experiencing. It's certainly an acquired taste, but the water tastes pretty good here.
  19. Games Master UK
    Mar 22, 2018
    79
    A compelling anthology of Americana that shines, in spite of some rough edges. [Apr 2018, p.78]
  20. Apr 12, 2018
    78
    Dim Bulb Games' debut is so close to being a truly great game. Where the Water Tastes Like Wine stands tall as a paragon of world-building and writing, and its unique approach to storytelling is something many developers should take note of. What's holding it back is its obsession with being a game as well as an interactive book, and it struggles to balance the two mechanics perfectly, so much so that many of the journeys, despite the rich writing, don't always feel worth it.
  21. Apr 3, 2018
    78
    Atmospherically dense literature-like adventure with unusual game mechanics, casts a gloomy view of America.
  22. Game World Navigator Magazine
    Mar 30, 2018
    78
    Frankly speaking, it’s just a collection of short stories. But what it lacks in action department, it makes up for in atmosphere: if you’re longing for campfire tales, pour yourself a big mug of tea and launch this game. [Issue#228, p.45]
  23. Mar 1, 2018
    75
    Where the Water Tastes Like Wine isn’t a visual novel, and considering how open-ended its journey is, throwing in some structured progression isn’t a bad idea. But the game’s best pleasures are derived from its best stories, and turning them into one-line memories robs them — and the art of storytelling — of what makes them special.
  24. Feb 28, 2018
    75
    I love the idea of Where the Water Tastes Like Wine. It has a lot of personality, and several days after I finished it, I was still humming some of the songs to myself. However, it’s impeded by a few gameplay quirks, like how tedious it is to move around. And most of all, I’m still very disappointed by how I wasn’t able to see the final chapter through to the end.
  25. 74
    Where the Water Tastes like Wine is an amazing piece of storytelling caged in an unwieldy game structure. The journey through the States is a charming trip about the importance of the stories we share everyday and a great portrait of America form many point of views. On the long run, unfortunately, the lacklustre gameplay simply fails to sustain the sense of wandering and discovery of such an amazing journey.
  26. Apr 24, 2018
    70
    Even though Where the Water Tastes Like Wine lacks in gaming mechanics, it definitely can tell a story. Imagine a long evening, crackling fire, and a slow, but unstoppable burst of beautiful words, and then ask yourself if you are willing to suffer occasional frustration for that. If so, do not hesitate and head to America.
  27. Apr 4, 2018
    70
    Where the Water Tastes Like Wine is a game that is difficult to recommend for those who prefer their games to unfold at a pace faster than plodding. While much of the game excels in drawing you in, the deliberately slow pace works against it more often than not. But for those who are looking for a truly interesting adventure game that, for better or worse, takes its time to share its stories, Where the Water Tastes Like Wine makes for a captivating experience.
  28. Mar 3, 2018
    70
    This is a unique game full of amazing stories, but it doesn’t make gameplay a priority, creating some dull mechanics and boring sequences.
  29. Mar 7, 2018
    68
    The experience is heavily bogged down by a clunky overworld and purely disruptive gamification of an otherwise pleasant collection of stories.
  30. Jun 27, 2018
    65
    A story packed adventure which spans across the USA, with some wonderfully written stories, a fantastic soundtrack, and some sublime voice acting. However, Where the Water Tastes Like Wine is let down by a map that is too large often resulting in a lot of time spent walking, doing nothing.
  31. Apr 3, 2018
    65
    As a whole product, Where The Water Tastes Like Wine can be a drag, but if you're in it for the story, bump up the score and have fun with a game that spins an excellent yarn.
  32. Feb 28, 2018
    65
    The writing is exquisite and reflects the joyful diversity of both writers and characters, blending the lines of history and fable to great effect. But the technical framework supporting the discovery of these tales is shaky, with some mechanics simply frustrating and others downright broken. Keep a very, very close eye on this game to pick up after a patch.
  33. LEVEL (Czech Republic)
    Sep 13, 2018
    60
    Wandering round the United States, crowded with plenty of catchy stories accompanied with beautiful music. You will easily forgive this small artwork ‘s absence of some game elements. [Issue#284]
  34. Mar 5, 2018
    60
    Kentucky Route Zero did it better.
  35. Mar 5, 2018
    60
    Where the Water Tastes Like Wine is an original narrative experience. He's got a lot of American stories to tell us, supported by a perfect dubbing and high-class illustrations. The problem is that the end result is harmed by a repetitive gameplay and extremely slow character movements, all that ending up causing a deep feeling of boredom after one hour or so.
  36. Feb 28, 2018
    60
    If the basic premise of gathering folk stories across a version of 1930s America strongly appeals to you, then Where the Water Tastes Like Wine is worth a look, but it's probably not worth finishing.
  37. Mar 2, 2018
    58
    There are beautiful and tragic scenes, songs, and passages to find in WTWTLW's journey, but they're spread far too thin.
  38. Edge Magazine
    Mar 29, 2018
    50
    It's a game whose very structure serves to undermine its often excellent writing; that, in the end, is what really stings. [May 2018, p.118]
  39. Feb 28, 2018
    50
    On the surface, Where the Water Tastes Like Wine seems like it has a recipe for an incredible game. It stretches the lengths of what story-driven, Twine-like games can accomplish in scope—thematically, narratively, and in terms of the dozens of writers from different cultures and backgrounds behind them. And yet, the game's onerous pace and the way it relegates the stories you collect to flash cards ends up doing a disservice to the game's strengths.
  40. Feb 27, 2018
    30
    Another example of that latest trend of videogames with "high artistic quality," Where the Water Tastes Like Wine is not something brand new, unique, and meaningful, but something boring, boring, boring that uses big words to say things that aren't that interesting. Oh, and it has Sting in it…
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  1. Feb 28, 2018
    A continent-sized anthology of American campfire tales that will keep pulling you in deeper, once you acclimatise to its slow pace. [Recommended]
  2. There’s every chance you’ll have more patience for those half-minutes of nothing, or that the rules of the game won’t distract you from the delicacy of the stories, but for me it ended up being more water than wine.
  3. Mar 17, 2018
    It works on a thematic level—as if you’re telling these stories over and over and getting a better grip on your delivery and showmanship as you go—but it’s not particularly enjoyable in its own right, and it’s only made worse by a clunky management system for changing out your limited repertoire.
  4. Mar 15, 2018
    An enjoyable take on visual novels and other story-driven games, Where the Water Tastes Like Wine is a pleasant little game indeed.
  5. Mar 7, 2018
    It’s worth playing for its amazing sense of being an aimless drifter lost in American folklore — and while it loses the plot towards the end, you should still push through if you love a good yarn.
User Score
5.0

Mixed or average reviews- based on 23 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 23
  2. Negative: 10 out of 23
  1. Mar 3, 2018
    6
    Where The Water Tastes Like Wine
    Feels like a bed time story
    Because it’s going to put you to sleep You lose a card game to a wolf, and to
    Where The Water Tastes Like Wine
    Feels like a bed time story
    Because it’s going to put you to sleep
    You lose a card game to a wolf, and to repay your debt he wants you to go out and collect the story of where the water tastes like wine
    You play as a skeleton character in an old timey gold rush feeling America
    You go from state to state collecting stories.
    As you walk across the country you’ll see little bubbles on buildings for you to interact with... these are stories all greatly narrated and are my favorite parts of this game…
    your job though is to collect not just any story... but a variety of stories... these stories are your stories based on your interactions, so you’re given different choices to mold the type of story you need for your collection,
    You can try to uplift things if you need a feel good story or a funny story, you can ease drop on a couple for a hopeful story, or one of heartbreak, you can seek sad stories, you’ll find yourself in storms trying your hardest to turn this experience into something exciting, you’ll run into creepy little girls, ghosts, possessions…
    You can stop at different cities to hear more stories and find jobs earn cash to buy food to keep your health up as you can take damage from some encounters though rare, you can also buy train tickets to travel to other cities
    There’s such a great variety of stories here to keep this game a little bit interesting…
    But the delivery of this game is just so slow that it hardly makes seeking these stories out worth it..
    With your collection you have to rest at camp spots and earn the trust of the character you run into to get more information on where the water tastes like wine...
    And this is where the game for me really starts to fall apart…
    It’s just not fun trying to please them to get them to open up and tell you their stories... they’ll want something funny or scary, exciting... but this is pretty subjective... some stories are black and white.. While others you find funny they might think were a poor attempt to scare them for example… or they’ll ask for something exciting and act confused telling you that wasn’t scary at all…
    Like girl, that’s not what you asked for.
    an indication on how the character will react to your story before you use it up would have been nice… as you can only tell them a story once while trying to get through all of their different chapters..
    Though as you progress through the game your stories can get stronger as they spread through the country, you can finish a characters chapter with only one good story easily…
    But it still doesn’t make these sections any more fun…
    Where the water tastes like Wine is very hit and miss for me…
    There are some good short stories here and there... but a majority of them are uninteresting and feel like filler, and the slow pace at which your character crawls across this world makes getting from story to story feel like a drag
    The Art Style is cool, there’s some nice music to enjoy and pull you into this world…
    But after only a few hours I was bored out of my mind.
    I give Where the Water Tastes Like Wine
    a 5.5/10
    Full Review »
  2. Feb 28, 2018
    10
    The story starts out with a game of poker where you end up betting away your life to the Wolf. His request of you is to travel the UnitedThe story starts out with a game of poker where you end up betting away your life to the Wolf. His request of you is to travel the United States and spread stories, which seems easy enough. You’ll traverse the land experiencing all manners of events, such as seeing children abandoned in knapsacks by their parents to winged goats protecting houses. You’ll be told stories by others, some being things that you witnessed firsthand, and you’ll be given the chance to call them out on their embellishments, or you can agree with them stating that’s what happened. In your journey you’ll also come across campfires with characters written by guest authors, such as Leigh Alexander. It’s here that you will tell the stories you come across in the hopes of learning theirs. With each successful story told, you gain their trust and you are able to learn more about them.

    The game unfolds like a “choose your own adventure” story, as you progress through the lands experiencing different events and decide what happens with them. Almost every encounter outside of the campfire characters is narrated by Sting, who changes his very soothing yet gruff voice for the dialogue you may encounter. The writing is phenomenal, and while I will often times skip through spoken dialogue as I’ve already read it in games, I listened to everything offered in this as if I was a child being read to again. With still images of the events being told in the game, you’re able to visualize both in your head how you want to see it based on the descriptions, but also in the direction that Jett has created.

    Starting out you’ll find yourself walking about the map of the United States rather slowly, but you’re soon told how to hitchhike which will help you cover a bit more ground, and eventually you’ll be able to ride on trains as well. The latter you can do illegally or by paying to do so from a major city. Just know that every choice you make has a consequence, and more often than not, every action means a story. And in this, stories are powerful – they are almost a sort of currency in the progression of the game. While you will need to obtain actual money by doing work or through other means to shop or take the train across the country, it’s hardly as important as the weight of the stories that you carry.

    The emotional impact of this game will certainly depend on if you let it hit you. Johnnemann Nordhage, the founder of Dim Bulb Games, is the co-founder of Fullbright and was the programmer on Gone Home. Admittedly, my experience with that game was less than amazing, as none of the lighting worked for me on my PC and the story was so built up by everyone it ended up a disappointment for me. So if you go into this expecting something along the lines of an action packed romp across the United States in the fashion of Red Dead Redemption, your expectations will never be met. However, if you go into it thinking you’ll be hearing stories that rival those of the stranger in black and other side quest characters you meet in Red Dead Redemption, which were arguably the best parts of the game, you’ll understand better just why this is so special. Even the soundtrack perfectly accompanies the experience.

    While I adore the art direction for the game, I can see why some would not fancy it so much. The game is comprised of a lot of still frames, or a few different frames to simulate movement. This game makes use of your imagination much more than showing you what it’s talking about, utilizing the powerful writing to create the world you see. That can certainly be frustrating for some, especially with how beautiful the art is in this. The only thing that sort of irked me while playing was encountering sections of the game that weren’t voiced. Yes, the guy that normally skips through spoken dialogue is complaining that not everything was voiced. It’s not so much that I needed it, but it really added to the game, and it was strange that a few events were missing it.

    Narrative heavy games have become exceedingly popular over the past decade, though it’s not often that they are executed with such pinpoint precision as this. Truly, the story tel
    Full Review »
  3. Mar 2, 2018
    10
    Where the Water Tastes Like Wine feels like a meditation on travel, story telling, and history. This isn't a game for those who want instantWhere the Water Tastes Like Wine feels like a meditation on travel, story telling, and history. This isn't a game for those who want instant gratification, it's a game for people like myself who want to spend a relaxed night in with a nice glass of wine. I got the urge to sit down and play after watching a couple people streaming it on twitch.

    The complete package with the art, music, writing, and premise, all comes together in a way that is very... distinct. It feels consistent. The game is built out of vague great depression & dust bowl Americana of the 1930's — but some stories seem to stretch a little forward or backwards in time. This is interesting to me, because it fills the cliche of "nothing ever really changes" in a way that doesn't feel quite so heavy handed.

    The prose is great, and even while the 200+ stories work mechanically like collectables, I loved how random they were. I got to hear about everything from historical figures to legendary American monsters. Even the quieter "slice of life" stories felt like necessary moments—serving to balance out the more fantastic elements. My favorite characters to look out for were Quinn, Bertha, Jimmy, and Althea. I really wished every character asked for a wider range of stories, but I guess, in real life I know plenty of people that can't stand horror stories.

    And there's definitely a learning curve to giving the main characters the stories you've collected, but I also wonder if that's intentional—in life we don't know how every single person will react to what we say. One person may think the story about my 90 year old grandmother tripping and falling into her birthday cake is hilarious, and another person will think it's tragic and call me a monster for laughing.

    I felt like I learned how to please the different characters as I played, and it felt good when I started to get a knack for it.

    When exploring the map, I rarely wished for additional modes of walking—BUT I'm also the person who didn't quick travel very much in 400+ hours of Skyrim and has used a horse, probably twice, in the 120 hours of Breath of the Wild that I've played so far.
    So, I don't know how much in the minority I am on this, but I *enjoy* taking the scenic route. I think the two things I wanted more than anything were: separate volume control for music and VO and more places to cross the rivers. The whistling mini-game mechanic was cute, and did make travelling a bit faster when other transportation wasn't an option...but I wish even that was just a *smidge* faster.

    The soundtrack is gorgeous, the VO work impeccable, and Sting is a very good wolf.

    All in all, I really loved playing this game because it satisfies what I personally want from games. I often struggle to finish the main arcs in games because I wander around too much doing fetch quests, but that's... nearly point of this game! So if you love reading, wandering, and folk lore, give this game some of your time. I think you'll find what you're looking for.
    Full Review »