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Wetlands

by Clara Raubertas profile

2011

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Uniquely Atmospheric, May 29, 2011
by AmberShards (The Gothic South)
Wetlands is one of the rare games that sticks in your mind after you step away from the computer; the mysterious symbology, the unique atmosphere, the timeless feel -- all of these work together to evince a vivid, wistful, everlasting poignancy also created by the Zork series, The Moonlit Tower, Myst, and very few other games. The writing is simply fantastic (with the exception of an unnecessary profanity). The atmosphere rotates around water and wood -- ponds, beaches, forests, driftwood, dried leaves, rusty pipes, and so forth. The language is evocative but not to Romantic excess; it is quietly balanced and enduring.

The basic plot is that you are seeking the Crystal City -- a perhaps-legendary water-city, possibly magical, possibly quite advanced. You have narrowed its location down to the Waterworks, an water processing facility consisting of a pond, a few buildings, and the surrounding woods. Of course, you will not leave until you have discovered the city.

In contrast to the plot and the atmosphere, the puzzles are for the most part im-poss-ible. They are not clued whatsoever, and the game provides no direction as to what you're supposed to do next. Yes, you could argue that echoes Zork, and while the lack of cluing leads you to explore more, you are hampered by Wetlands' linear plot. Lack of cluing plus a linear plot yields frustration, whereas in more exploration-type games, it does not. I'm also not too impressed by the NPCs. They are well-characterized, but completely unhelpful, and there are no built-in hints.

I didn't make it very far -- only to the status "starting to trickle" -- but I don't think I will be able to proceed any further than that. Given that the game has a few other minor errors, proceeding might not be possible. It probably is, but I don't know for sure. If for no other reason, play this for the atmosphere.

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clararaubertas, May 29, 2011 - Reply
Just so you know, there is a walkthrough available, and I just added the link to this page. I also hope to release a post-competition version with built-in hints and improved puzzle cluing, though it may be a while before that comes to fruition.

Thanks for playing! :)
AmberShards, June 4, 2011 - Reply
Coolness. I'm looking forward to it!
Danielle, May 29, 2011 - Reply
You mention that this game evokes some of the same feeling playing this as you did MYST. You also mention that it is severely underclued.

While I also love MYST for the lonely, mysterious atmosphere, I found the puzzles very, *very* hard...perhaps even "underclued." Do you think it's the same case here? Did the author emulate MYST to the point where they captured the atmosphere AND the stone-faced puzzles?
AmberShards, June 4, 2011 - Reply
That's a good point. I had forgotten how cryptic Myst was and really, still is. I think she may have.
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