Wayward Strand Australian Airship Game Kotaku Impressions

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Image for article titled Wayward Strand is a beautiful story about being young and growing old

Screenshot: rebel beach

In rebel beach, available today on PC, Switch, PlayStation and Xbox, you play the role of a teenage girl, stuck visiting the place where her mother works. Which turns out to be a giant floating blimp moored off the coast of Australia, and having been decommissioned as a luxury ship, it is now serving as a retirement home.

In some ways, it’s very much a game about being a teenager taking their first tentative steps in an adult space. Your character, Casey, is writing an article about his time on the plane and, at the insistence of his mother, a nurse, spends three days visiting the lonely residents of the plane, talking to them about the past and present from him.

Casey is nervous and unsure of herself. We have all been there; a work experience placement, perhaps, or just a first day at our first job, that awkward point where the rubber of her childhood meets the path of the adult workforce. And so rebel beach is in many ways a play on that melting pot, as over the course of three days Casey grows in confidence, comes out of her shell, and begins to let his talent and personality shine.

However, it’s also a game about the other end of the age spectrum. The object of the game is to wander the corridors of the airship, stopping at each of the residents’ rooms to visit them. First, it is an almost unbearable routine; hello my name is casey what’s yours that’s a lovely picture just the most mundane small talk. But that’s how most relationships start, and as the days go by, the residents stop being objective and start becoming, if not friends, at least people.

Wayward Strand – Launch Trailer

It is perhaps the greatest achievement of the game that on several occasions made me feel like complete shit for not visiting my Nan more often. On their first day on the airship, its elderly inhabitants present themselves in the same way that the elderly often present themselves in our media; kind, sweet, but also sick, weak, forgetful. Characters defined by their age and physical stature, and little else. However, the more you interact with them and explore their rooms, each overly decorated like the bedroom of an octogenarian teenager, the more their stories and lives will be discovered.

These aren’t old people. They’re people who have grown old. They had exciting lives, loved and lost, been through dramatic exploits. What they are now isn’t all they’ve ever been, and it’s an absolute joy getting to know each and every one of them over the game’s three days.

How you get to know them is another of Wayward Strand’s achievements. This game isn’t telling you a single story, it’s leaving a dozen (or more!) of them lying around, each unfolding in real-time, and leaving it up to the player to pop in on each one of them and see how things are going.

If you’re familiar with play sleep no more—which I was lucky enough to catch along with the rest of the staff on a work trip to New York one year—rebel beach unfolds in much the same way. If you’re not familiar, think Jordan Mechner classic non-linear adventure game the last express. meif you are not familiar with thatimagine instead that the inhabitants of this game are NPCs in a Bethesda gameeach with their own lives and clockwork schedules, each of them playing whether you’re there to see them or not.

Image for article titled Wayward Strand is a beautiful story about being young and growing old

Screenshot: rebel beach

your role in rebel beach-his only real game task, really- is to intercept these stories and make sense of them, eitherIt’s in the service of solving a mystery or simply learning someone’s life story. You don’t really notice this happening around you at first, but once you get to know everyone on board and get a sense of their relationships and habits, the whole place really comes to life.

i really enjoyed rebel beach. Apart from the beautiful and intertwined history, I also appreciate how Australian this game is, from some of the costume decisions to the brilliant casting choices. We don’t see ourselves in video games like this very often, so it was great to relax into something so familiar and at peace with its origins.

One final caveat though: I had a lot of trouble playing this because the game has no manual saves, and its auto-saves are pretty sparse. If you plan to get over it, you’ll be fine, but if, like me, you can’t always put hours into a single session, you may want to leave it running or you might lose a good chunk of your progress.

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