Game: The Wreck
Genre: Adventure, Puzzle, Other
System: Nintendo Switch (also on PS5, PS4, Xbox One)
Developer | Publisher: The Pixel Hunt | The Pixel Hunt
Age Rating: US M | EU 16+
Price: US $19.99 | UK £17.99 | EU € 19,99
Release Date: March 14th, 2023
Review code used, with many thanks to Future Friends Games.
When it comes to the genre of visual novels, most of the ones I’ve played haven’t gotten to me the way other genres do. But that is not the case with The Wreck. This game is a creative story-driven experience that blends many emotions into a great-driven narrative that will keep you hooked until the last revelation of the plot.
The story is set around Junon, a woman in her mid-30s who is going through a challenging time. First, we meet her at the hospital, where she is called to encounter her mother in critical condition. That is just the first of many harsh situations that Junon has to deal with throughout the day. The game progressively allows the player to explore more about what happened and is happening in her life.
Filled with various emotions and relatable situations for some people, the main topics of The Wreck are guilt, grief, resentment, and forgiveness. Not to forget the conflicts she faces with motherhood in relation to her mother and the sisterhood with her out-of-touch sister.
Most of the details are better to discover while playing the game. Without telling much about the specifics of the plot, we know that Junon has a complicated relationship with her mother, a famous artist who criticized almost all of her daughter’s life; a distant relationship with her sister, which she tries to regain at least with some communication at the hospital. And a former boyfriend with whom she has some contact as well. All of that, together with self-esteem problems, traumas, frustration, and many more things that Junon has to work on.
This game doesn’t wait to show the player the actual Wreck, A definitive and traumatic moment that brought the characters where they are when we begin playing. In fact, this moment is relived numerous times throughout the game. The player can see a car accident, and all kinds of personal objects fall around while flipping inside the car.
Still, we don’t know why and how this accident happened, and that is what the player navigates through Junon’s memories and emotions. Exploring her memories, unlocking new dialogues while understanding her each time.
When interacting with the objects floating in the car, the player enters a flashback of Junon’s life, focusing on a significant moment of her life. There are memories like her and her sister finding a dead bird in the garden, her 25th birthday, her moving to the city, and more. While inside these flashbacks, the player can move backwards and forward to dig for details and unlock more dialogues to expand her responses on the present.
After exploring the past and unlocking more dialogue for Junon to deal with her day at the hospital, she can react differently and respond in more ways. Also, it gives the player an even deeper understanding of her life and situation, most significantly, of her relationship with her mother. After all, in the end, there is a big decision to make for her.
Visuals and Sound
The Wreck has beautiful and creative aesthetics that call attention to the eye and matches every aspect perfectly. However, its movements are occasionally weird, and the animation of the mouths of the characters when they speak is off-putting. But these are a few minor details next to the rest of the artwork.
Regarding the music and sound effects, there is nothing more to say than it’s precisely in the right spot. Besides the excellent matching music, the voice acting is fantastic and refreshing. It made the whole experience of a visual novel much more dynamic and comfortable.
The Wreck is a captivating game that is unique in its own genre. It made visual novels much more accessible for everyone, including myself. It brought a fantastic way into the light to explore and hunt for secrets inside their brilliant frameworks. The mechanics and artwork were spot on; other than that, the narrative is simply genius.
The main factor was definitely the story of the worst day of Junon and all that surrounds and affects it. The way we slowly understand the complexity and sorrowful traumas, together with the overflowing emotions of Junon, is quite profound, not to forget the fascinating way it is presented in the game. I recommend this game not only for fans of the genre but for everyone to give it a go and discover something distinctive and significant.
Final Verdict: Two Thumbs Up