Kotaku’s impressions of the Australian airship Wayward Strand

Photo for the article titled Wayward Strand is a beautiful story about being young and old

screenshot: Ward Strand

in Ward StrandToday on PC, Switch, PlayStation and Xbox, you play a teenage girl, stuck visiting the place where her mother works. Which happens to be a giant floating airship moored off the coast of Australia, which has been decommissioned as a luxury ship and now serves as a retirement home.

In some ways, it’s a game about being a teenager taking their first temporary steps into the adult space. Your character, Casey, is writing an essay about the time she spent on the airship, and at the insistence of her mother – a nurse – she spends three days visiting the lone residents in the airship, chatting with them about their past and present.

Casey is nervous and unsure of herself. We were all there; The placement of work experience, perhaps, or just a first day at our first job, is that awkward point where the rubber of your childhood meets the road of the adult workforce. And so on Ward Strand It is in many ways a game about that crucible, as Casey’s confidence grows over the course of three days, she comes out of her shell and begins to let her talents and personality shine through.

However it is also a game on the other end of the age spectrum. The object of the game is to navigate the corridors of the airship and stop at each of the guest rooms for their visit. At first it was almost unbearably routine. Hi, my name is Casey, what’s yours, this is a nice picture, just a simple little talk. But this is how most relationships begin, and as the days go by, the population stops being targets and begins to become, if not friends, at least people.

Wayward Strand – Launch Trailer

Perhaps the game’s greatest achievement is that it has made me on several occasions feel like complete bullshit for not visiting Nan so often. On your first day aboard the airship, its elderly residents are presented much the same as the elderly in our media; Ok, sweet, but weak, weak, forgotten. Characters are defined by age, physical stature, and a few other things. However, the more you interact with them, the more you explore their rooms – each room usefully decorated like a teen’s bedroom in the ’80s – the more their stories and lives are revealed.

These aren’t old people. They’re people who have grown old. They had exciting lives, loved and lost, dramatic exploits. What they are now isn’t all they’ve ever been, and it’s an absolute joy getting to know each and every one of them over the game’s three days.

How you get to know them is another of Wayward Strand’s achievements. This game isn’t telling you a single story, it’s leaving a dozen (or more!) of them lying around, each unfolding in real-time, and leaving it up to the player to pop in on each one of them and see how things are going.

If you’re familar with play sleep no more—which I was lucky enough to pick up with the rest of the staff on a business trip in New York City for one year—Ward Strand It unfolds in a very similar way. If you’re not familiar, consider Jordan Mechner A classic non-linear adventure game Last Express. If you are not familiar with who – whichInstead, imagine that the inhabitants of this game are the NPCs of the Bethesda NPC, each with lives and small timelines, each of them playing whether you’re there to see them or not.

Photo for the article titled Wayward Strand is a beautiful story about being young and old

screenshot: Ward Strand

your role in Ward Strand– Your only real mission ever in gameplay – is to intercept and understand these stories, whether it’s in the service of solving a mystery or just learning about someone’s life story. You don’t really notice it happening around you at first, but once you meet everyone on the plane, and learn about their relationships and habits, the whole place really comes alive.

I really enjoyed it Ward Strand. Apart from the beautiful and intricate story, I also appreciate how Australian This game, from some wardrobe decisions to great choice choices. We don’t see ourselves in video games like this very often, so it was great to back away from something like this at home, and in peace, with its origins.

One last warning, though: I ran into a lot of trouble playing through this because the game has no manual saves, and very few auto-save. If you plan on smashing it, you’ll be fine, but if you’re like me, you can’t always dedicate hours at a time to one session, you might want to let it run or you could lose a good chunk of your progress.