Most end-of-the-world stories offer up the obligatory barren wasteland, a desperate survival against hostile forces (human or otherwise), and often a pervasive sense of hopelessness and oppression. However, gamers wishing for a tale that explores more uplifting themes while still retaining an appropriately desolate setting will be pleased to know that Wanda: A Beautiful Apocalypse has been funded successfully on Kickstarter.
Produced by Myanmar-based indie developer Kodots Game Studio and set to release soon, Wanda tells the tale of two robots who find themselves on a planet devastated by cataclysm, with no memories of what happened or what they are doing there. Rather than focusing the narrative solely on survival, the game promises to explore themes like friendship and hope in difficult times, since the robots’ child-like innocence allows them to take pleasure in actions and details that most humans would see as insignificant in the same situation, like watching the moon together or drawing pictures on abandoned buildings. Though frightened by their isolated circumstances, the bond they forge will help them to overcome challenges as they explore their unfamiliar surroundings.
The game will be free of “comprehensible dialogue,” instead using context and the robots’ interactions with each other to tell the story and engage players emotionally, a goal bolstered by promises of a “show, don’t tell” narrative and an emotion-infused symphonic soundtrack by composer David Lister. Throughout the game will be puzzles to solve that range from moving rocks in order to navigate the environment, to collaborative logic puzzles that require guiding both robots around the scene in order to achieve progress.
Played from a third-person 2.5D isometric perspective and controlled using a point-and-click interface, the graphics are described by the developers as being reminiscent of a children’s book. Indeed, the pastel colors and cartoonish, non-threatening character models convey a gentle, almost hopeful mood, a stark contrast to the gritty, dark realism of other post-apocalyptic settings.
Although the Kickstarter has ended, interested gamers can still reserve their copy at the game’s official website for $6.99. Digital goodies like a comic, art book, and soundtrack are also available for those willing to spend a bit extra. If enough post-Kickstarter sales bring in the cash needed to surpass stretch goals not met during the campaign, Mac, iOS, and Android ports are a possibility, but for now, assuming no last-minute delays, Wanda is fast approaching its PC-only February debut.