Metascore
69

Mixed or average reviews - based on 13 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 13
  2. Negative: 1 out of 13
  1. 95
    Where the Water Tastes Like Wine is an upcoming game about traveling, sharing stories, and surviving manifest destiny. Featuring gorgeous illustration by Kellan Jett, Where the Water Tastes Like Wine combines 2D visuals with a 3D overworld US map. Players wander through the United States - and through a century of history - to meet a variety of people, each with their own stories to tell.
  2. Apr 26, 2020
    80
    Where the Water Tastes Like Wine is one of those games that are not for everyone. Its proposal is different, a type of game that helps us appreciate beauty in something that surprises us.
  3. Dec 30, 2019
    80
    Overall, I enjoyed my time with the game. I loved the art style and music, and while the stories are very short, they are varied and interesting. This game certainly won't appeal to everyone, particularly those who prefer a lot of action over narrative, but it is easily recommendable for those who enjoy something unique and different from time to time. I found that the soulful music and some of the stories would stick with me long after I was done playing the game for the day, and there aren't a lot of games that can accomplish that.
  4. Dec 30, 2019
    80
    Where The Water Tastes Like Wine is a fascinating idea for a game that is probably best experienced in small, shorter doses.
  5. 75
    Overall, if you enjoy a very slow burn game that really seems better suited to being played for an hour or so a day, or just really want something with a huge focus on narrative, Where the Water Tastes Like Wine may scratch that itch. Those looking for a game with more varied gameplay probably won’t find much to like here, however, as just walking around an admittedly bland map will likely come to bore you sooner rather than later. The game has value and I certainly enjoyed my time with it, but its Switch debut likely won’t turn any more heads than its original release did.
  6. Dec 6, 2019
    70
    Where the Water Tastes Like Water feels like a roadtrip deep into the heart of America, with lots of nice stories. The tasks are still very repetitive, and a Director's Cut version would improve it a lot.
  7. Dec 10, 2019
    65
    Ultimately, I think your mileage will highly depend on how the stories land with you, and whether the act of walking is a delight or a burden. I do think Where The Water Tastes Like Wine is worth a gander, just don’t expect a swan song of a tale or gut punch metaphor about early America. Enjoy it for it what it immediately offers: a fun series of tiny vignettes and discoverable characters to unwind with. Forget the rest.
  8. Dec 3, 2019
    65
    There’s no other game like Where The Water Tastes Like Wine, even if it does lose the plot when it celebrates the art of stories and the power that they possess.
  9. Dec 30, 2019
    63
    If you treat Where the Water Tastes Like Wine as a visual novel with added interaction, you’ll find a unique premise surrounded with a host of interesting characters and stories. As a video game, however, it is too stripped back to feel substantial and remain engaging through its lengthy run time.
  10. Feb 4, 2020
    60
    Where the Water Tastes Like Wine could have had deep mythology building for 1930s Americana, but instead it offers only enough to get you intrigued before forcing you back into the grind-laden, story-gathering crawl the rest of the game is.
  11. Dec 24, 2019
    60
    Where the Water Tastes Like Wine starts from an original and even intriguing concept - the idea of basing a gameplay experience on telling stories is nothing short of something fresh. Unfortunately the way it was translated into this game turned out to miss the mark and the result is an experience that despite its well written plot and interesting stories does not provide an engaging gameplay and will mostly lead to long, dull moments whenever stories are not being told.
  12. Nov 29, 2019
    60
    With a lovely art style and an entirely intriguing concept, Where the Water Tastes Like Wine is unlike anything you’ll have played before. Its uniqueness makes it worthwhile, but some slow-moving elements, inconsequential mechanics and a few lacklustre stories mean it doesn’t stand out quite as much as it should.
  13. Nov 29, 2019
    40
    There's a pervasive sense of disappointment to When the Water Tastes Like Wine. For all its invention and forward-thinking, there's a profound feeling that the mark has been missed. In truth, it does very little to justify itself as a video game in the first place, given that most of the player's time is spent moving painfully slowly across a monotonous, samey map of America with no clearly defined goal. It's a failed experiment through and through, but all the more painful because it could have been so much more. There is space in gaming for narrative output like this, but they need to be carefully tailored to be games first and experiences second. You don't even want to know what this water tastes like.
User Score
tbd

No user score yet- Awaiting 2 more ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 2 out of 2
  1. May 30, 2020
    4
    I wanted to like this game. I really tried to like this game. But...

    The truly unique game concept, combined with a slower pace, attracted
    I wanted to like this game. I really tried to like this game. But...

    The truly unique game concept, combined with a slower pace, attracted me. This sounded like it was just the sort of game I could lose myself in. And I have to admit there are parts that still keep pulling at me to come back and play some more, but they're just not enough to get me there.

    The problem is that, at least on the Switch (version 1.0.0.3), the game mechanics are broken. It's frustrating and infuriating. Someone asks you for a scary story, you tell them one, and they reply something like, "I don't see how you found that story to be funny." And variations on that. It's impossible to tell what the person really wants to hear.

    The traveling -- which pretty much all of the reviews will tell you is terribly boring -- is made even worse because the hitch-hiking mechanic is broken. When a car stops and offers you a ride, there's no way to accept the ride. I've tried all of the buttons, and nothing works. The car eventually quits waiting and drives off. Grrr.

    Speaking of travel, the Controls screen says that pressing the D-pad UP will bring up the map. Nope. To get the map, you have to press + and then use L/R to select Map. In keeping with the rest of the game, navigating the map is quite slow.

    Also speaking of travel, you can only cross major rivers at specific points, which may be many states apart. You can't cross at a road bridge or a railroad bridge, unless you've found a way to hitchhike or are riding the train. I found this to add to my frustration.

    If you're a fan of Americana music, you'll probably love the soundtrack. I'm a weirdo who always turns the music down in the games I play, so that's not a big draw for me. If you're using whistling to speed up your travel, the whistling drowns out the music.

    The stories you collect are, by and large, short and pointless. I imagine they're not supposed to be fully-fleshed out, because a big part of the game is that when you tell a story, it gets embellished by others. Being set in the Depression and Dust Bowl era, almost all of the stories are downers, which is a problem when you want to find a funny one to tell. I didn't find the stories themselves to be a compelling reason to play, but some people might. Or maybe it's because I gave up before the stories started really filling out.

    Keythe Farley's narration of the stories is great. That's a definite high point for the game.

    One thing I haven't seen mentioned in any of the reviews I've read: the stories trend strongly toward the paranormal, supernatural, and downright fantastic. They're full of talking animals, ghosts, the undead, witches, and demons. Your avatar in the game is a skeleton, and the narrative sequence that launches you into collecting stories is pure dreamscape. This is definitely not the real world you're playing in.

    I did find one anachronism: one of the stories involves a VW bus, but those first appeared in 1950. Perhaps time-travel is another fantasy aspect of the game?

    So... big props to the creators for coming up with a unique concept. But the broken gameplay on the Switch port made it all seem pointless, and the paranormal fantasy world caught me off-guard. Others might find the stories and especially the music to be sufficient reason to play.
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