Monday, December 02, 2019

"Where the Water Tastes Like Wine" Switch Review

"Where the Water Tastes Like Wine" speaks to a sense of cultural fabric that makes up Americana, the joy of road trips and the historical texture that blends together to coalesce into culture.

Less a video game than a branching-paths graphic novel, the narrated text-heavy journey provides a barebones narrative structure to a succession of short stories. You travel an overworld, meeting eccentric characters along the way who spill their yarns, which you collect and deploy in the manner that you would currency and items in a traditional RPG.

After releasing on PC in February, the adventure game makes its way to Switch, where it's a natural fit for handheld mode. You can practically feel the dog-eared pages yellowing in the virtual paperback, and can just about taste the dust kicking up from the trail, as well as the pleasant sting of sunshine as you meander along your rocky paths.

Developer Serenity Forge takes an eccentric concept and plays it out to the defiant extreme, caring little about pacing or a cohesive plot. The threadbare narrative hook places you on the losing end of a poker game to a diabolical yet sagely wolf figure, who commands you to collect yarns from the road in order to redeem your freedom.

The joys of the game come not in advancing the storyline, but from bathing in the eclectic tales the game is stuffed with. A short story showcase disguised as a game, "Where the Water Tastes Like Wine" is every bit as poetic and obtuse as its title.

I crave offbeat experiences such as this, and if the premise intrigues you, you'll no doubt find yourself just as entranced by the strange marvels the game offers. Just a few sips will work up a fine buzz that will only have you craving more.

Publisher provided review code.

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