Wailing Heights is a 2D style comic book adventure game developed by Outsider Games and it is no doubt one of the most unusual and unique games I have ever played. It is a straight-to-the-point narrative adventure that can be enjoyable to all ages, and not to mention the game’s original music, which got stuck in my head for hours.
You start the game as Francis Finklestein, a washed-up singer-songwriter who hasn’t had a gig in 40 years. After a disastrous booking mix-up, you end up in a town full of modern monsters and locked in a holding cell for the crime of ‘Not Being Dead Yet’. Fortunately, an escaping prisoner shows you how to sing your soul into other monsters, and you find yourself on an escape attempt from Wailing Heights, body-hopping from one creature to another, and possessing their supernatural powers. The end goal of the game is to reunite The Deadbeats – Wailing Heights’ version of The Beatles.
Aside from comedy, the game is also a musical. The tracks in the game are fun and very well made, and definitely got stuck in my head for hours on end. The only negative side to the songs were the genres. They didn’t really fit very well with the script – one moment you were listening to smooth jazz and the next would be a heavy metal track, which was quite jarring and out-of-place. The comic book aesthetic is both relaxing and fresh to look at. With games focusing on 3D gameplay so much these days, it was nice to see something that looked like it could have been made a while ago, but with a 2018 feel. One of my favourite parts of the game were the comic book panels that were presented when telling a character’s backstory or when introducing The Deadbeats at the beginning of the game. However, after a while these comics got quite tedious to look at and I even forgot to view them a few times, which is a shame because they helped you learn more about the characters.
The possession wheel is a huge aspect of the game. It allows you to body hop from a vampire, ghost, zombie, and a bunch of other supernatural creatures, each having their own special ability – vampires can turn into bats and fly, ghosts can become invisible, and zombies get to talk to other zombies exclusively in intelligent conversation. The possession wheel allows you to progress through the narrative and find out things about different characters.
Now for the negatives. Aside from the script being well written, at some points it definitely feels long-winded and quite boring. The dialogue choices are fun but sometimes I felt like I had to click them all to learn as much as I could about the story and the characters, and this was just tedious. Another negative is the puzzles in the game. Some of the puzzle solutions are as obscure as you’d expect them to be, but with the scale of the game quite small, you’ll stumble on the answers quite easily as there are only so many people you can meaningfully interact with – which was quite frustrating as I felt like I didn’t have to actually figure anything out for myself, as interacting with the characters gave me the answer straight away.
The one thing I really didn’t like in the game was the accents. Especially Francis Finklestein’s terrible Scouse accent. It sounded very forced and unnatural, almost like someone (that wasn’t scouse) was attempting to do a very scouse accent. It annoyed me the whole game.
In my opinion, the game is an easy point and click game, well worth it’s £10 price tag if you want an easy platinum and a unique experience. Overall, the game is fun, but I think it is lacking in substance. The story is just okay, but in terms of originality it is good. In some parts of the game the objectives weren’t very clear, and I found myself getting stuck and not knowing what to do. Even when trying to speak to characters it wasn’t helpful at all. I enjoyed Wailing Heights, but I don’t think I’d play it again.
REVIEW CODE: A FREE PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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