What You Been Gaming? Wide Ocean Big Jacket - Nintendo Switch
“Have you ever been camping before?"
Sometimes, the simpler the game – the more impact it has. And that is certainly the case when it comes to Wide Ocean Big Jacket. A confusing name for a quirky game. Developed by Turnfollow, a LA based indie games studio whose other works include; 4ever Transit Authority (2017), Little Party (2015) and A Good Gardener (2015). The game is essentially a walking sim with no tasks, no achievements and no collectables. Just minor interactions and a lot of dialogue. Mord, a 13-year-old girl and her new boyfriend Ben are joining Mord’s uncle (Brad) and auntie (Cloanna) on an overnight camping trip in the forest.
It is during this trip that we learn about each character’s fears and desires. For example, Brad has a desire to start a family however Cloanna could not be against this idea more, Ben has fears that his parents are going to get a divorce and Mord begins to question how far she should be going in her new relationship. Despite these fairly deep themes, the game maintains a light tone with the majority of the dialogue coming off comedically awkward and witty. My favourite line in the game comes from Mord asking Ben “you ever been camping?” to which he replies “no… but I fell asleep on a trampoline once.”
As I previously stated, this game has a lot of dialogue. You’re actually only walking around and interacting with objects for say 40% of the game. The rest presents itself in pop up black screens with dialogue on them, almost like a silent movie. It is here that we get the story of this relaxing slice of life game. Wide Ocean Big Jacket is sadly only around an hour in length and I don’t think that it even took me that long to complete it and this did make the £6 price tag seem a little steep. It was the little details however that made this purchase worthwhile and caused me to appreciate this game more. Regardless of its simplistic style, the game boasts an atmospheric soundtrack and great set design that all together create a real sense of sentimentality and nostalgia.
Wide Ocean Big Jacket is a sweet visual novel style game that leaves a bittersweet feeling with you as it ends. I enjoyed the story; the gameplay was simple and relaxing, but I just don’t feel like I have accomplished anything after playing this game. I essentially just watched an episode of something for £6 and my local cinema costs me less for more content… basically, I would have liked to have seen more than just “here are the characters, here is the campsite, here is the beach and now it is time to go home” THE END. However, this didn’t stop me for appreciating the game for what it is, a story about coming of age. Wide Ocean Big Jacket is available on Nintendo Switch and Steam now.
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