Preview code used, with many thanks to gameifyouare.com
Those who enjoy titles like Life Is Strange and like games driven by their narrative, get ready because Wandering Duelist is coming to Steam on November 1st. Developed by Alex Gerassimov, this is a game that explores love, friendship, conflict, and more. Its small and crowded world feels as vast as you would like in any exploration experience. Without many spoilers to the story, the scenario is set as follows.
A Day in Life
The story follows Kai, an artist who decides to enter an art competition, and meets May who works in the application booth. With not-so-hidden intentions, Kai starts working temporarily with May taking packages and making deliveries.
This is where the mechanic of the game becomes more challenging and intense. There is a time limit for every assignment and Kai has a defined amount of hearts, which he loses if he crashes or bumps into obstacles around the world. The tricky part is that a lot of objects and people in the diorama-like world of Wandering Duelist are obstacles, and its world is as dense and crowded as you can get.
Small yet Big – Getting Used to a Flow
Be that when doing May’s deliveries or just plainly exploring the world, disregarding its size, it feels like a vast environment to check around. I liked seeing new places and not knowing what to expect on the horizon. There are still aspects that need work in the world and some areas to polish, but it is a work in progress, and so far it seems amazing. I have high expectations for how the aesthetics will look once it’s fully released, considering the characters’ artwork also looks awesome.
After playing it for a brief time, I got already used to the controls and the pace. Once you are going with the flow of the game, it just makes you want to know more about what happens. Sometimes I was not very focused on my delivery but more on coming back to May to speak with her and see where it all goes. But I think that is the whole point since the game not only tells a story but also expresses a relatable and more real feeling, which brings me to my next point.
A Relatable Feeling
The concept of the game is what attracted me the most. It is not just a story of love and rivalry, friends and decisions. It feels more than that, and every aspect of the game merges to add on those elements. That feeling in the youth of being rushed, having to meet deadlines, and spending the end of the working day with your friend talking about life and relationships.
Also the feeling of having all the surroundings of the world being an obstacle to a simple task, which you don’t even care much about, but is a step on a long journey. All those feelings and more are what Wandering Duelist has under its sleeve.
Small Fixes yet Necessary
As with any work in progress, of course, there are some fixes and improvements that need to be done. From what I saw on its Main Menu, I can see the UI being aesthetically smooth and nice in the future. Hopefully, also more characters will be added, and changes in the environment. The obstacles felt challenging enough because of the little space they leave when crossing near you, but sometimes it does feel unfair or even as if a car just chased me to drive over me. It is nothing too big that cannot be quickly balanced though.
Solid Concept – Looking Forward
Considering all that there is to it, I am looking forward to seeing the full version of Wandering Duelist and what else has to offer. It is perceivable how the people behind it have a clear view of where it is going and I like it, I’ll definitely keep an eye on this one.