[Review] Wanderlust Travel Stories – Nintendo Switch

Written by Chelsea Beardsmore
  • Developer: Different Tales
  • Publisher: Forever Entertainment
  • Release Date: 27/02/2020
  • Price: £13.49 / $14.99
  • Review code provided by Forever Entertainment

Introducing: Wanderlust Switch Review

Wanderlust Travel Stories is an interactive novel that is inspired by real-life travel journalism and set in real-world places. Just like most interactive novels, you will be spending your time reading and making certain life choices. Unlike most interactive novels, your choices in Wanderlust will shape mood and stress levels of its characters.

Your journey begins on the island of Rapa Nui where five strangers from all over the globe meet in a local bar and almost instantly seem connected. They share their stories with each other and this is where the game truly begins.

Henry and Henriette, a father and daughter from the UK, Martine from Germany, Tomek from Poland and finally, Adilia from Portugal are whose inspiring stories you will be experiencing. Through four long stories and five short ones, each written by its own team of authors, you will come to know each and every character – and just what brought them where they are now.

Decisions, Decisions

Wanderlust features a range of choices to make that will ultimately shape your story and the characters within. The decisions you make will impact the characters’ stress and fatigue levels. These mood levels will unlock further options in the story. For example, choosing to go down an unknown road will cause your stress levels to rise.

Of course, not everything is down to your choice. Ultimately, the game wants you to see a desired story and thus some dialogue options are set and some areas you must visit. It’s everything in-between that you are able to control, and that’s fine.

Throughout some scenarios you will have money that you have to budget. You’ll decide things such as whether to go to a clothes shop and buy a new outfit (I bought everything I could, don’t be like me). There are other monetary choices to make as well, such as what food to buy. You can unlock further purchase options with certain choices also, which was cool. There’s no real pressure to budget though, as there’s no punishment for spending all your money and you often find that you can afford most things, even if you don’t need to.

Sadly, I didn’t get as engrossed in these stories as I would’ve loved to – I found myself often playing just for the sake of it with the hope of eventually coming to a story that I could just lose myself in. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. Obviously, it will happen for many people – just not me.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Wanderlust is what the developers call a ‘Slow Gaming’ experience, one that is meant to be enjoyed at the players own pace. Take your time to really soak in everything; the story, the music, the imagery and in whole, the atmosphere. Just like sitting down to read a good book, it’s supposed to be a relaxing experience. I came to the conclusion that Wanderlust should really be played at the end of the day to wind down when everything else is done. And it works, it is relaxing – it made me feel so tired and ready for bed…

Just like reading a book, you will relate to some characters more than others, which is why I’m so glad that there is a range of characters here. There is somebody for everyone, some story you will relate to, some dialogue options that you would’ve said in your own life and I liked that. It made it feel more personal.

Real Photography and Real Music

One of the most fascinating parts of Wanderlust are the photos you see behind each and every bit of narrative. It’s beautiful imagery that set the scene almost instantly, making any and all emotions come out. What’s better is that these are real photographers’ photos. They are simply wonderful and a joy to look at.

To complement the stunning art is an immersive soundtrack that will set the tone. If your story is set at the beach, you will hear the waves crashing. If the setting is stormy weather, that’s exactly what you will hear. It’s so atmospheric and I love it.

Final Thoughts

Wanderlust Travel Stories is a unique take on an interactive novel, one unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. This is the perfect game for someone who loves getting lost in a good book. You’re in for a relaxing experience. I only wish the individual stories captured me more.

Pros

  • Immersive sounds
  • Wonderful art
  • Super relaxing
  • Great idea

Cons

  • Stories didn’t hook me

Verdict

Wanderlust Travel Stories is a beautiful interactive novel with many positives, I only wish I had connected with the story and characters more.

3.5/5

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