Today’s game is going to be a weird one to review. For games where its main selling point is its story you got to talk about elements that worked or what didn’t, usually you must beat the game as close to 100 percent as possible. Today I’ve found a game that turns that rule on its head. When the mechanics are based around telling stories to get more stories I can’t talk about them in this review without ruining the entire point of the game. This game isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, yet its use of imagination makes it a worthwhile experience. This is Where the Water Tastes Like Wine.
Where The Water Tastes Like Wine is a Narrative Driven adventure game where you play as a carpetbagger in depression-era America who wandered into the wrong place at the wrong time. A Mysterious wolf man in a local bar beats you in a game of poker, since you have no money, as payment you must plant stories across the United states, watching them grow into large and fantastical tales. You spread these tales by first experiencing everything you can, backpacking through America. Depending on how you interact with each event, the story may turn into a horror story, a comedy, or an adventure tale. You will then meet characters camping out across America that you can swamp stories with. When you tell them stories they might want to hear, they will slowly open to you, revealing truthful stories about themselves you can then spread around and share.
I want to start with the games faults first. You walk very slowly and while the art is very stylized it tends to lose its appeal after a while when you’re searching an entire map of America for a good story to tell. You can speed up slightly by holding control and playing a mini game, matching your whistling with the arrow keys, yet it gets annoying after a while. If the visual elements for exploring the map was played up I might feel different about enjoying the map. It stays the same, it’s pretty too long at but I like staring at particular art pieces to, doesn’t mean I can stare at it for eight hours straight. You can hitchhike and hope a car stops for you, you can stop a train and travel by boxcar, yet it never feels like you’re actually traveling, you’re just going at the games pace.
The games music and storytelling make up for slow travel immensely. Each story you spread shows exactly how stories are told. You tell the story of a man who buried an apple tree after burying his dead dog, way down the map later you suddenly find out you indirectly started the legend of Johnny Appleseed. You tell the story of a sad woman with a fancy scarf, soon you have the infamous Wisconsin horror story the Yellow Ribbon. You get to spread imagination across America and you get to watch what your stories change into. Once you hear that better version you get to tell it again with the newly added twists and sooner or later you’ll hear your own story again, told even better than last time. The main characters you meet that spread the stories around that you choose to tell are all interesting in themselves. Some of these characters include blues stars with a rough past, hopeful pastors or a war veteran who felt betrayed. Each and every story is worth it to discover. What stories you tell in each play-through or how you develop the beginning of each story will determine the final outcome of your adventure. The voice acting is top notch, this game procured talent such as Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner and Melissa Hutchison to paint fantastic images with their words alone. The catchy folk style songs will help keep you entranced as you enjoy this game wonderfully imaginative storytelling.