Walthros: Renewal Review

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Baconlabs
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Walthros: Renewal Review

Post by Baconlabs »

This game was entered into the 2020 Heart of the OHR contest, where it won 5th Place.

Walthros: Renewal is the latest adaptation of the wibbly-wobbly-wacky world of The Wobbler. Or Surlaw. Or Walrus Man, whatever his favorite moniker is. It kicks things off with a rollercoaster of action and hinted-at lore implications that I was simply not ready for. I still don't entirely believe that intro actually happened. Whatever's going on in the grand scope of things has got to be insane. But on a more down-to-earth note, Walthros: Renewal is a simple and very enjoyable game about some kind of blobfish that investigates ancient ruins and makes friends with his crewmates. While the RPG gameplay is basic, there's lots of little flourishes here and there to keep things interesting, particularly the NPC relationship system and the big city and its apartment complex. The world of Walthros is chock-full of stuff to do, and I've only just gotten started on the first continent!

The game is very character-focused, with lots of conversations going on between NPCs. They've all got vivid personalities, which clashes somewhat with their somewhat bland visual designs, Bob Surlaw himself being the worst offender in that regard. While there is a joy in simplicity, it just feels very strange to have these cartoonish blobs talking about serious things like their careers and depression and what have you. After a while, I got used to it, though I imagine the abundance of dialogue will be a turn-off for some players. The character relationship building at least gives a hard incentive to get out and talk to everyone, though I admit I haven't yet seen a direct benefit from levelling up these relationships.

The menus are surprisingly robust; there's a character compendium, a bestiary, a quest log, and even an achievement system. I particularly like the cell phone option, allowing you to connect with NPCs along the way like in Pokemon Gold & Silver, sometimes with a practical purpose, like opening up a remote shop. To put it simply, this game is feature-dense, and it's going to take me a while yet to appreciate all the little elements that went in to make this game what it is. One other detail I couldn't really fit in anywhere else is the design of enemies on the map - they adopt a generic appearance, a la Zelda 2, and are quite aggressive in chasing you, but you'll at least be able to see them coming and gauge their strength based on how big they are, and prepare accordingly. It's quite a clever and economic solution to the usual question of "how do I move away from random battles in an RPG?"

So, don't be fooled by the plain appearance of this game and its characters, there's a lot to see and a lot to do, and I felt pretty rewarded for the time I invested here.

Time Invested: 2 Hours, 50 Minutes
Rating: 7/10
Accolade: BIG LENS
Attachments
BIG LENS: OK, bear with me. The characters are bulbous. There's lots of text to read. Dungeon rooms are also often magnifying glass-shaped.
BIG LENS: OK, bear with me. The characters are bulbous. There's lots of text to read. Dungeon rooms are also often magnifying glass-shaped.
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The Wobbler
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Post by The Wobbler »

Thanks for the review! As for the effect of leveling up friendship, in some cases it unlocks items (Lydia and the VCR) or new areas (Gus and the ghost ship past Bayswater). Leveling up Miffany unlocks more items in her mobile store.
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