This game walks along the fine line of being a video game and an interactive visual experience. The exploration based genre has come into its own truly over the past few years. With the new technologies available such as VR and AR it only makes sense that we see more from this genre step into the light, focusing heavily on the visuals and sound opposed to gameplay.
Waking the Glares has you follow the story of Dawnfall and how his life has been turned upside down, the goal is to get back on the right track and find home. You will find yourself lost in both space and time, the only sense of direction being a strange voice that will guide you from place to place. Along the way, you will encounter puzzles that range from a simple find the right item needed to fix something type deal, or figure out the right sequence of events to move forward. All of Dawnfall’s questions can be answered by the very book that created this paradox in the first place.
The various challenges require some level of common sense, for example: to get inside the posh restaurant restricting entry, you are forced to try a different approach and ensure nobody is looking towards the entrance to gain access. At one point, pickpocketing someone only when something else has gained their attention, so they don’t get wise to your larceny.
Accurately described as walking visual experience, expect the controls to be basic, with movement keys being the usual W, A, S and D. Interaction is mapped to the left click button of your mouse, this where things get interesting. At one point you need to use a wrench – for something I won’t disclose – but not only do you have to click the interact button, you also have to move the mouse downwards to simulate a wrenching motion. Opening a curtain in a game has never felt more satisfying, having to hold the left mouse button in as if your grabbing the fabric and then swiping the mouse left or right to pull it open.
By no means a bad looking game but unfortunately not visual masterpiece. When viewing from a distance your surroundings look great, but upon closer inspection the jagged lines and blurred detailing are noticeable. You can see that thought and care has been put into the textures with the high level of detail on some objects, such as the worn and scratched look of the boat you encounter and sail briefly during the game. Not only that, but I remember being taken aback with my first glimpse of the tree that had taken residence inside a house, yes, inside. This tree just had so much life, being able to watch the branches grow and blossom flowers throughout the building was enjoyable to witness….ahhhh…the beauty of life eh?
The characters take the form of walking wooden dolls almost like the olden time soldier dolls, completely bare bones. These ones lacking the colour and were only distinguishable by items of clothing such as a hat or a pair of glasses, some would have a moustache, maybe a hairpiece and even a walking stick.
The minority of NPC’s would benefit from voice acting, some would speak just French and others a mixture of French and English, this was certainly a welcome addition, getting seated and then served by a waiter speaking in a foreign language brought a small sense of immersion.
A joyous venture in terms of its soundtrack, the piano tune playing in the ambience kept me elated throughout. The only downfall I found in the game’s audio presence would be the sound effects that came across as mismatched or exaggerated. Stepping through a field of grass the crunching sounds played made it seem like I was eating a bowl of cornflakes without milk. This often broke the immersion and brought me back to reality.
Story – 8/10
Visuals – 7/10
Sound – 7.5/10
Gameplay – 5/10
Game Design / Innovation – 5.5/10
Wisefool Studio are certainly on to something with their exploration focused journey – Waking the Glares. After playing the first two chapters, which is all that’s currently available I am certainly interested in where the rest of the story will lead “Dawnfall”. It draws you in with its beautiful ambient score and intriguing story. Whilst there are some issues in the form of out of place sound effects and minimal variety in it’s gameplay you cannot deny there is something special here.
OVERALL – 6.6/10 – AVERAGE
Reviewed by Rhys Baldwin (Jester).
(Disclaimer: CONQUEST received a review copy of Waking the Glares on Steam however this does not in anyway affect the scoring of a game or our thoughts on the game itself. We believe in total honesty and being transparent with you.)