Review: Wanda – A Beautiful Apocalypse – Open to Interpretation

Review: Wanda – A Beautiful Apocalypse – Open to Interpretation
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Platforms:

Windows PC, Steam

Game Name:

Wanda - A Beautiful Apocalypse

Publisher(s):

KISS ltd.

Developer(s):

Kodots Games

Genre(s):

RPG

Release Date:

June 3rd, 2016

Wanda – A Beautiful Apocalypse: What We Think

Wanda – A Beautiful Apocalypse is a puzzle game full of rich storytelling and complex puzzles. On the other hand, Wanda is a boring puzzler with a method of storytelling that frustrates beyond measure. There seems to be a dichotomy of opinions surrounding this game, and Wanda truly is what you make of it, if you have the patience to stick through it.

It is a beautiful apocalypse indeed, as the story of Wanda follows two robots alone at the end of the world. Surrounded by desolation and the ruins of things past, instead of focusing on survival in the same vein as most apocalyptic titles Wanda decides to tell a different story, starting with the feeling of being utterly alone and following that up with lessons in social interaction.

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I Don’t Understand What You’re Saying

First off, I’d like to address the fact that Wanda’s story is told in symbols for letters – not in the English language. Since I don’t read moon runes and – let’s just say neither do you – a translation guide is necessary for deciphering what our characters are saying. On a positive note, Kodots Games decided to make this feature not too overbearing to the player. Our characters never talk in full, complete sentences. Often only one word is spoken at a time, whether it’s between the two or during any thoughtful soliloquy.

After a while of constantly referencing a “language guide,”|I decided to just skip that process altogether and read a translated game script along with playing to get a better feel for the story. I must say my patience gave out pretty quickly, but the experience was still something that isn’t done in games very often anymore.

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Become a Mighty puzzler, in 6 Puzzles or Less

Unfortunately, reading the text was the only thing that prompted me to use a pad and paper, as the puzzles in Wanda are very simple: comprising just 6 puzzles in total – with a cut scene in between to break monotony – veterans of puzzle games will have no trouble breezing through Wanda in a couple of hours. If you are new to the genre, or simply don’t often play puzzle games, the difficulty of the puzzles is not very overwhelming, and controls are simple.

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Our characters have energy levels comprising 3 to 5 bars. Each action consumes a bar, and absorbing an energy crystal will replenish energy levels. The energy crystals must be used wisely in order to progress through the puzzle, but a restart option is always available.

Most of these puzzles involve the typical puzzle tropes: pushing rocks, avoiding lasers, activating teleport pads, the list goes on. I wouldn’t say they’re boring, or even overly interesting for that matter. I would still deem them a necessity, as it takes a little while for the story to actually develop.

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We Can Get through This Together

To be perfectly honest, I was bored with Wanda up until the last few scenes. Compared to story-heavy titles such as To the Moon, it definitely took a while for the game to get near that level. My first impressions were “Wall-E: the game” until it took a whole life of its own.

The soundtrack does a wonderful job of evoking the emotions portrayed after translating text, but also really pulls you into this hand-drawn world created for the sole purpose of telling a single story. Was the story good? Eventually, that ending was a tear-jerker. Was the game fun? Not really.

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Wanda – A Beautiful Apocalypse is a game catered to a certain niche. It’s a relaxing experience not meant to be rushed through, and with a little patience and determination it’s a game to be thoroughly enjoyed. However if you don’t fit into this niche, I’m afraid there’s nothing for you here.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Watch the Official trailer for Wanda – A Beautiful Apocalypse below:

michael.duhacek

[Toronto, Canada] Michael Duhacek is an avid gamer who also works in the entertainment industry.

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