Wayward Strand is one of the most sophisticated narrative-focused games of recent times and, in its simplicity, manages to be captivating and sensitive without appealing to any cheap sentimentality. It should not appeal to every type of player, but fans of the genre will find here an authentic experience, striking characters, and really meaningful choices.
Wayward Strand offers up a uniquely Australian take on the narrative adventure game with a gorgeous art direction and moving portrayal of hard-working people in a harsh system. Despite a couple of pacing issues and an unforgiven save system, Wayward Strand is an approachable and hugely enjoyable little world to explore and find some catharsis in.
Wayward Strand is a delightfully grounded game, despite its foreign setting. In this small, cozy space there is genuine hope, sadness, anger, and love. These are real people and Casey is a young girl learning how to grasp the world in new ways. Players have the ability to be an active part of this experience and let the world envelop them, or buck responsibility for personal gain. Like Casey, like Tomi, or Mr. Avery, or Dr. Shen, or Esther, or like Joe, I wish I had more time to see and do everything all at once. Alas, in life you do not get a repeat performance. At least here there are bountiful opportunities to make friends, to be compassionate, to listen, to sit, to breathe, and to exist. Each day and each run a chance to do something more valuable than the last.
Wayward Strand is a great narrative experience but not a game for everybody. The lack of clear direction and rewards can make its simple gameplay loop feel overwhelming, and the grounded themes it tackles aren’t always easy to get through. For those willing to give it a look, though, it’s a game that offers characters who players won’t be able to keep from falling in love with, and the experience it offers will stick with whoever plays it long after the credits roll.
Wayward Stand tells an intimate story that you discover at your own pace. The non-linear design gives you the freedom to personalize your journey through a long weekend at work with your mother. The in-game clock makes the world feel alive and pushes you to follow story arcs rather than meander. While the conclusion is a little lacklustre and there is an absence of gameplay, this is a wonderful passage through a moment in time.
Wayward Strand all in all is a unique enough game that showcases interesting game elements and story with interesting characters and different backgrounds of characters that think, talk, and feel all uniquely different. But with different narrative outcomes and endings it does not feel entirely rewarding to play the game more and more to get those unique differences or moments.
SummaryWelcome to the Hospital - It’s the summer of 1978, and Casey Beaumaris is trying to make the most of her holidays, when her mum asks her to spend a long weekend helping out at the airborne hospital where she works. Casey prefers the company of books to people, but she agrees, secretly planning to write an article about her visit for the ...