Selma and the Wisp – What We Think:
Set in a dream world of eerie and unpredictable obstacles, Selma and the Wisp is nothing short of intriguing. Maybe “nightmarish” is a better term, considering Selma herself gives me the heebie-jeebies. Undoubtedly, she mirrors the typical strange little girl with creepy long black hair, yet her portrayal meshes perfectly with the bizarre environments. Though the story is pretty much up for interpretation, Selma is undeniably alone and afraid, with merely a glowing wisp to guide her way onward…for there is no looking back.
Published by Toucan Studio, Selma and the Wisp is designed as an innovative platformer. Controlling Selma’s movement was all in the flick of the wisp, and one subtle movement of the glowing orb could result in some serious chaos. Unfortunately, she is not the brightest bulb on the tree and will effortlessly walk into a pit of doom. Guiding Selma with patience is a necessity, folks, and I had to learn that the hard way – a couple of times, actually.
Additionally, as time progressed, the wisp’s “lifeline” would deteriorate, concluding Selma’s journey. To bypass the guilt of leading an innocent girl to her demise, collecting light became mandatory.
Selma also has the power to destroy obstacles in her path – such as disgusting spider webs and blockades – with her trusty wisp. The wisp’s powers can be also be altered to a red glow that forces Selma to stay put. That’s important, considering Selma should steer clear of explosions.
If for some reason she happens to stumble into a trap – she always does – Selma and the Wisp is very forgiving and offers various checkpoints throughout each chapter. In some ways, these checkpoints create a smooth sailing experience, which almost takes away the challenge. In retrospect, I was full of glee knowing I would never have to redo an annoying puzzle again. Good riddance.
Truly though, what makes Selma and the Wisp so mesmerizing is its gloomy low-poly environments. They are absolutely stunning. Not to mention, the soundtrack is hauntingly beautiful. Each chapter emanates a peculiar feeling surrounding Selma, along with some added quirks. For example, at one point Selma is hopping across a moving train and stumbles upon what appear to be Piranha Plants from the infamous Super Mario Bros. games. Random, yes, but technically Selma is deserted in her own personal nightmare.
There’s no lack of imagination to her visions. Selma has ridden the back of giant beetles to reach safety and bounced across clouds to a giant beanstalk, but her adventures don’t end there. Every aspect of her journey is fascinating, particularly the strange puzzles she staggers upon. Evaluating the scene as a whole is vital; otherwise, Selma is suddenly getting swung at by a giant axe. No big deal, I guess.
With the guidance of her magical wisp, though, anything is possible. All it takes is a lot of trial and error to succeed, along with a smidgen of chance. Of course, this can be maddening, repeating the same puzzle seventy-two times.
OK, that’s a bit of an over-exaggeration, but you get my gist.
Unfortunately, Selma and the Wisp doesn’t appear to have much replay value. Selma’s story contains only ten chapters and takes around two hours to complete. Not to mention its conclusion is a bit of a brain-stumper. Like I had previously mentioned, the plot is pretty much up for one’s own personal interpretation, so the close of her frightening journey is fairly open-ended. Additionally, I discovered Selma liked to get herself stuck. Glitches such as these made my teeth grind, for forcing her demise was the only way to progress onward. She really gets herself into quite the conundrums.
Selma and the Wisp is the game to purchase if you want to be creeped out for a few hours while simultaneously challenging your intelligence. Personally, I encountered some “oh” moments, recognizing how simple the solution was but failing to recognize it in a respectable amount of time. Embarrassing, I know.
On the other hand, Selma is just too dang short of a game. As soon as the credits began to roll, I remember thinking, “That’s it? What happens now? Why am I so confused all the time? Well, I sure hope the poor girl at least lives a better reality.”
The world will never know.
Selma and the Wisp is available via Steam.
Watch the trailer for Selma and the Wisp below: