LadiesGamers Wayward Strand

Wayward Strand Review

Game: Wayward Strand
Genre: Interactive Fiction, Adventure
System: Nintendo Switch (also available on Steam, (Windows) PS4/5, Xbox One/S/X)
Developer|Publisher: Ghost Pattern
Age Rating: US pending | EU 12+
Price: US $19.99 | UK £17.99 | EU € 19,99
Release Date: September 15th, 2022

Review code used, with many thanks to

Australian game Wayward Strand is about visiting elderly patients. In a floating hospital, I might add if that first bit didn’t give you shivers of excitement.

The airship hospital is indeed mysterious. But what the game is about, really, is its characters, the airship’s residents and staff, and the mystery of who they are.

LadiesGamers Wayward Strand
Visiting Ms Hummel’s lovely room.

Wayward Strand treats each of its characters with care. It showed me how I might care for them too. I learned something about how to sit with these patients, many in their last leg of life. How to talk, how to listen, or simply be there. It’s helped me a little in conversing with my own dad, who, like some of the elderly cast here, now lives at a much slower pace, both physically and mentally. If that’s not a great achievement for a game, I don’t know what is.

Meet the Residents

The story: You’re fourteen-year-old Casey and your mum is the head nurse at the hospital. Mum has charged you with helping patients on a busy weekend when the staff have their hands full.

Casey’s an adorable protagonist. I liked each of the characters from gossipy Esther to jaded Joe. But I was most fond of Mr Avery, who may have an inflated sense of himself but is really a nice gentleman. I liked the less pleasant characters, too, who made the story richer by adding a little spicy tension.

LadiesGamers Wayward Strand
The game takes place in a 3-floor geriatric ward.
LadiesGamers Wayward Strand
Mr Avery can appear slightly self-important. But it’s hard to take him seriously in that night robe.

Wayward Strand‘s writing is masterful and so is the voice-acting. What a fantastic cast, one that includes well-loved Australian performers. They were all great, but Dr Bouchard (voiced by Jennifer Vuletic) made the strongest impression on me as a bitter, dying patient, once a doctor herself but now suffering from a terminal illness.

I enjoyed the overarching plot, which centres on the relationship between Casey and her mum. Their scenes are brief and actually pretty ordinary, but they pack a punch.

You Can’t Catch ‘Em All

The goal of the game? There isn’t quite one. As interactive fiction, Wayward Strand is less of a game and more of a story to experience. But it’s hardly passive. You have many choices to make and that’s the fun of it.

Who will you choose to spend time with (or eavesdrop on)? Will you be diplomatic or blunt? Nosy or discrete? Compliant or rude? The “point” of the game, perhaps, is to enjoy watching the outcome of your choices and get to know each character more.

LadiesGamers Wayward Strand
While Casey’s here to help her mum, she’s got a private mission of her own too.
LadiesGamers Wayward Strand
Should I eavesdrop on that pair, or join these ladies for a meal?

The game takes place over three days, with an in-game clock ever ticking. Each character has their own schedule, which takes them to different rooms at different times of the day. There’s only so much you can do in three days, so you won’t experience all possible conversations on a single playthrough. But I never felt too rushed.

I was satisfied with one playthrough, which takes three to four hours, but the game is good for at least two playthroughs. On my second run now, I’m focusing on characters I neglected previously. So far, playthroughs don’t seem like they’re going to be as wildly diverse as, say, Inkle’s 80 Days. But that’s okay. Wayward Strand focuses on telling a single, more cohesive story.

LadiesGamers Wayward Strand
Esther can be contentious yet fun to hang around.

Room with a View

The comic-book art style is pleasant and light, while the soothing guitar soundtrack puts me in a holiday mood. So if you usually find hospitals scary or depressing, fear not: this one might actually be pretty nice.

I like watching how characters move. Each has a unique gait, and their own way of striding or shuffling. Moving Casey around the hospital is smooth, though I’d rather take the stairs than wait for the elevator to slowly grind open. Animations aren’t perfect, books and papers hover in the air occasionally, but nothing has marred the overall experience.

My only complaint is the lack of a manual save. There’s only an autosave at the end of each day if I’m not mistaken. That means playing for nearly an hour before you can save.

LadiesGamers Wayward Strand
“We’ve all got to go sometime,” says Lily. But, as Esther says, that doesn’t make it sting any less when it’s your turn.
LadiesGamers Wayward Strand
Sitting with someone can be an acquired skill.


This unique work of interactive fiction is realistic, relevant, and wholesome. Amazing voice actors and great writing have made the characters so real and got me to care about them.

Wayward Strand is a game about being there for people. Sometimes that involves being still and doing (seemingly) nothing. These are abilities I feel I’m losing in the age of smartphones. It can be hard to sit with someone in silence, especially when they’re suffering. But this game has given me a little nudge, a little practice, towards being present.

Final verdict: Two Thumbs Up

Two thumbs up

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