Where the Water Tastes Like Wine (PC) Review

By Ofisil 28.02.2018 13

Review for Where the Water Tastes Like Wine on PC

Before reading this, go to [insert favourite online video site], and take a look at the trailer of Where the Water Tastes Like Wine. What are the vibes that it gives you? Forget the fact that popular names, among them good ol' Sting, are doing the voice acting - what kind of game does it feel it is? Exactly! This doesn't seem to fit to any known genre, and the story is, for lack of a better word, weird. The most cynical amongst gamers (reviewer guilty as charged), however, will also get suspicions of whether this is more like those artsy, pretentious, storytelling indie videogames that have become quite common nowadays. Never judge a book (game) by its cover (trailer), though - instead, read on to find all about its gameplay.

The protagonist of this strange title is a bindle-carrying skeleton who's taking a nice road trip across the US of A. You are tasked with collecting stories from people, in order to pay a debt to a bipedal grey wolf with a knack for Tarot-Poker - and that's Where the Water Tastes Like Wine; a game where harsh reality and trippy folklore collide; a game that's not like any other. Is it a good game, though? Well, for starters, it's not really a 'game,' as it belongs in that weird corner of the medium that can't be given a specific label, and there's no better way to explain why, other than showing a "day" in the life of this bony hero.

Screenshot for Where the Water Tastes Like Wine on PC

Skeletor is free to choose a direction and simply follow it, in a world that's actually the entire USA map, with various points of interest scattered all over it where one can "collect" stories - brief scenes, or encounters, which can range from the everyday and mundane, to the downright bizarre. These are basically still images with a little bit of text underneath, and usually offer two choices, and thus various outcomes. Furthermore, these go through broken telephone-like "mutation," and can be told back to you by others, with some extra, over-the-top details. The mission, however, won't be to just collect stories, but to find specific characters and share them with.

These guys and gals are the, almost archetypal, people you would expect to find in a story taking place during the American great depression; ordinary people of all colours; people depressed, sad, angry, hopeless, and lost. They request stories of love, hope, excitement, or fear - you provide (if you have anything), gain their trust, and thus ease their pain, and make their tongues a bit looser. After that? Keep on searching for stories to collect and share. An hour into this and it's obvious that Where the Water Tastes Like Wine does a fine job at capturing both the charm of oral storytelling, as well as giving some strong Americana vibes throughout.

Screenshot for Where the Water Tastes Like Wine on PC

The stories, crafted by an assortment of different writers, are of very high quality, with the only problem being how needlessly wordy they can sometimes be. Visually, apart from the 3D world map which is... well, ugly (or Alpha version-ish), the still images look very good despite their simplicity. As for the voice acting, besides Sting, who is just decent (his use an obvious marketing tool), the rest of the crew is simply perfect. In all honesty, though, it's the music that truly shines here, with the main, very hum-friendly theme being offered in various forms, from jazz and blues, to country and Mexican folk music, depending on which state you currently roam on.

Sadly, and while being a drifter has its own unique magic (and this title captures it mighty fine), that lasts for about an hour or so. You see, the more you play, the more it becomes easier to realise that walking this world is probably the best cure for insomnia money can buy. In fact, if it wasn't for the awesome music, this 10-hour-long quest would simply be unbearable. Yes, one can hitch a ride every once in a while to reach an area faster, but 99% of the experience is all about watching the behinds of a skeleton as he walks from one ugly-looking region to the next. For the sake of the following argument, however, let's just say that there was absolutely no gameplay at hand...

Screenshot for Where the Water Tastes Like Wine on PC

Unfortunately, for something that's all about stories, they aren't something worth the trouble. For starters, these aren't pieces of a larger tale. Sure, most tales are interesting and relatable, but it's pretty much as exciting as walking into a bar, and sharing stories with... well, somebody. As previously mentioned, the writing is great, but that's never enough, and the main reason is how you actually feel more like a passenger than someone who shapes the world, or, at least, take part in what's going on. Some would argue that this is just what kind of game it wants to be, and they would be right... but that doesn't make the trip worthwhile.

In the end, the main issue with this is its extremely strong, artsy vibe. "Oh, dear, but it has captured the hearts of critics; it has won awards; it features a very strong cast of voice actors and writers who are part of the industry; and, most importantly, it… means stuff!" Well, there's a reason why people have fallen in love with the world and characters of something like Final Fantasy VII, despite its "ridiculous" fantasy elements, and lack of "meaning" - it has heart. Where the Water Tastes Like Wine doesn't have one, as it's just another example of an indie-produced, pretentious piece of software that doesn't really say or do what it thinks it does.

Screenshot for Where the Water Tastes Like Wine on PC

Cubed3 Rating

3/10
Rated 3 out of 10

Bad

Another example of that latest trend of videogames with "high artistic quality," Where the Water Tastes Like Wine is not something brand new, unique, and meaningful, but something boring, boring, boring that uses big words to say things that aren't that interesting. Oh, and it has Sting in it…

Developer

Dim Bulb Games

Publisher

Good Shepherd Entertainment

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  3/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

It's sad that this didn't turn out better Smilie

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Review is Bad (guest) 28.02.2018#2

This is probably the cringiest review I've read in a while. First of all, that disclaimer is not only unprofessional but also weird (weirder than the game to be honest). Second of all, you are no authority on what is to be considered a game. Just because you don't like "walking simulators" or games with more cerebral gameplay does not mean they aren't part of the medium, rather that you as a reviewer chooses to ignore. Your credibility has been lost completely when you dismissed entire genres as insufficient. I have no idea why you even reviewed this.

Review is Bad (guest) said:
This is probably the cringiest review I've read in a while. First of all, that disclaimer is not only unprofessional but also weird (weirder than the game to be honest). Second of all, you are no authority on what is to be considered a game. Just because you don't like "walking simulators" or games with more cerebral gameplay does not mean they aren't part of the medium, rather that you as a reviewer chooses to ignore. Your credibility has been lost completely when you dismissed entire genres as insufficient. I have no idea why you even reviewed this.

A) The "it's not a game" comment wasn't a negative one. It was a simple way of explaining that this isn't a "traditional" videogame, whatever that means - maybe next time I'll try explaining every friggin' sentence for people like you.
B) I don't mind a "walking simulator" as long as I have fun with it, and I DO enjoy games with cerebral gameplay as long as they HAVE cerebral gameplay. By the way, I haven't dismissed a genre… at least not in this review, which was written in English, last time I've checked.
C) Yes, I'm not a professional. A professional jumps on the bandwagon, worships anything that's artsy, and avoids giving bad scores, unless the mass agrees with that. Oh, and how come that NONE of my positive reviews have people claim that?!?
D) Why I've reviewed this? Because God told me to.
E) The disclaimer is weird? I agree

PS: if you are one of the writters, I want you to know that you did a fine job
 

A lot of quotes in the Internet are attributed to the wrong person
                                -Georgios Karaiskakis
MinimalTolerance (guest) 01.03.2018#4

Mabye don't use "art" as a pejorative if you want to be taken seriously as a critic of an art form there, mate. 

Also, only stupid people get bored. Perhaps demonstrate through your review that you understand a game before dismissing it like a child would. 

MinimalTolerance (guest) said:
Mabye don't use "art" as a pejorative if you want to be taken seriously as a critic of an art form there, mate. 

Also, only stupid people get bored. Perhaps demonstrate through your review that you understand a game before dismissing it like a child would. 


I don't care about being taken seriously by people who use genius quotes like "only stupid people get bored" I guess whenever I found a game to be good I was... smart?

Stop behaving like a child, dismissing this article just because you don't agree with it - act like an adult, and demonstrate how this was a good game, either with a comment, or with a review - insults don't work on me.

A lot of quotes in the Internet are attributed to the wrong person
                                -Georgios Karaiskakis
Domnar88 (guest) 02.03.2018#6

The review starts with a warning that ends with " whether this is more like those artsy, pretentious, storytelling indie videogames that have become quite common nowadays."

I have gamed for 30 years, and I love "artsy" type narratives done well (Gone Home, Dear Esther, Everyones Gone to the Rapture, Tacoma) and straight forward games.  I feel like these "artsy" games can only exit on the medium of a computer , they are fined tuned to their storytelling and if done well are excellent. Sure, there are allot of bad ones just like bad games in general, but to dismiss every type of "Storytelling indie videogame" ENTIRELY sounds like you are very narror minded.  You *clearly* won't like this game if you dislike all games in this category.. duhh. I could tell a mile away this was an "artsy indie game" but how could you not if you hate them so much?  Maybe age and being open minded more will expand your horizons about what computer can do as far as entertainment goes. 

I don't *clearly* dislike all games in this category - just the ones that are bad at what they do.
This is supposed to be a game about stories - it's not. These "stories" become currency too soon in here, thus it's hard to give a damn about them. This tried to impress me by claiming that's it's sth more than what it is, in other words, pretentious.

Unlike this, Virginia was a storytelling game I didn't like it very much, but it never gave me those cheesy "I'M IMPORTANT" vibes, mainly because it was what it was supposed to be.

PS: Don't really care how many years you have gamed and what do you like or not.

A lot of quotes in the Internet are attributed to the wrong person
                                -Georgios Karaiskakis
Luke (guest) 02.03.2018#8

PS: Don't really care how many years you have gamed and what do you like or not.

That´s a really impressive way to connect to your audience man. Keep it coming.

I've gamed for X number of years and I like playing Y therefore I know what I'm talking about...

I prefer honesty and logic from connecting with my audience.

 

( Edited 02.03.2018 17:15 by Ofisil )

A lot of quotes in the Internet are attributed to the wrong person
                                -Georgios Karaiskakis
Luke (guest) 05.03.2018#10

Being honest is way different than being a dick man. There are ways to talk to people without being rude....

Luke (guest) said:
Being honest is way different than being a dick man. There are ways to talk to people without being rude....

Take a look at how this "conversation" started and then criticize my behavior.

People have frequently criticized my reviews, BUT they have done so in the correct manner, and thus received equally correct responses from me.

Finally, being honest is indeed different than being a dick, but it's sometimes impossible to be honest WITHOUT being a... "dick"

A lot of quotes in the Internet are attributed to the wrong person
                                -Georgios Karaiskakis
cravenmagic (guest) 08.03.2018#12

Some people have super thin skin man,  Ofisil your review is only one I have read and I thank you for it.  I take multiple reviewers points of view before purchasing a game so I take them all with a grain of salt.

We all appreciate different things in games and you gave your honest opinions i feel.  Keep doing you man, don't let the rabble rousers get you down.


 

cravenmagic (guest) said:
Some people have super thin skin man,  Ofisil your review is only one I have read and I thank you for it.  I take multiple reviewers points of view before purchasing a game so I take them all with a grain of salt.

We all appreciate different things in games and you gave your honest opinions i feel.  Keep doing you man, don't let the rabble rousers get you down.


 


Well, that's the thing, I'm just being honest here! I maybe right I maybe wrong, but that's how I felt. I WISH the 12 hours i've spent here were 12 hours of fun but that's just wasn't the case.

Anyways, thank u for thanking me mate Smilie

A lot of quotes in the Internet are attributed to the wrong person
                                -Georgios Karaiskakis

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