Kotaku’s impressions of the Wayward Strand Australian airship game
In capricious strand, out today on PC, Switch, PlayStation, and Xbox, you play as a teenage girl, stuck visiting where her mother works. Which happens to be a giant floating airship moored off the coast of Australia, and having been decommissioned as a luxury ship, now serves as a retirement home.
In some ways, it really is a game of being a teenager taking their first steps into an adult space. Your character, Casey, writes an article about his time in the airship and, at the insistence of his mother, a nurse, spends three days visiting the otherwise lonely residents of the airship, talking with them about their past and their lives. here.
Casey is nervous and unsure of herself. We have all been there; a corporate internship, perhaps, or just a first day on our first job, that fine point where the rubber of your childhood meets the road of the adult workforce. And so capricious strand is in many ways a play on this crucible, as over the course of three days Casey gains confidence, comes out of her shell, and begins to let his talents and personality shine.
Yet it’s also a game on the other end of the age spectrum. The object of the game is to roam the corridors of the airship, stopping at each of the residents’ rooms to visit them. First, it’s almost unbearably routine; Hi, my name is Casey, what’s yours, it’s a nice picture, just the most mundane conversation. But that’s how most relationships begin, and as the days pass, residents stop being goals and start becoming, if not friends, then people.
It’s perhaps the game’s biggest accomplishment that on several occasions made me feel like complete shit for not visiting my Nan more often. On your first day on the airship, its elderly inhabitants are presented in the same way that elderly people often are in our media; kind, gentle, but also crippled, weak, forgetful. Characters defined by their age and physical stature, and nothing else. The more you interact with them, however, and the more you explore their rooms – each helpfully over-decorated like the bedroom of an octogenarian teenager – the more their stories and lives are uncovered.
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They are not old people. These are people who have aged. They had exciting lives, loved and lost, lived dramatic feats. What they are now isn’t all they used to be, and it’s an absolute joy to get to know each one of them over the three days of the game.
How you get to know them is another. Wayward Strand achievements. This game doesn’t tell you a single story, it leaves a dozen (or more!) lying around, each unfolding in real time, and leaving it up to the player to tweak each one and see how things go. are going.
If you are with familyar with the game Don’t sleep anymore– whom I had the chance to see with the rest of the staff during a work trip to New York one year –capricious strand proceeds very similarly. If you’re unfamiliar, consider Jordan Mechner classic, non-linear adventure game The last express. If you are unfamiliar with thisimagine instead that the inhabitants of this game are NPCs in a Bethesda gameeach with their own little life and clockwork schedules, each of them playing whether you’re there to see them or not.
Your role in capricious strand– your only real game task, really – is to intercept these stories and make sense of them, whatever’s in the service of solving a mystery or simply finding out the story of someone’s life. You don’t really notice what’s going on around you at first, but once you get to meet everyone on board and get a feel for their relationships and habits, the whole place really comes to life.
I really appreciated capricious strand. Besides the beautiful intertwined story, I also appreciate how Australian this game is, from some of the wardrobe decisions to brilliant casting choices. We don’t see ourselves in video games like this very often, so it was great to relax with something so at home and at peace with its origins.
One final caveat, though: I had a really hard time playing as the game doesn’t have manual saves, and its autosaves are pretty sparse. If you’re planning on going through it, you’ll be fine, but if, like me, you can’t always squeeze hours at a time into a single session, you might want to leave it running or you might lose a good chunk of your progress.