NaNoRenO 2018: Whale’s Waldo

“Whale’s Waldo” by PMscenarios, Bob Conway, Jaime Bee, CrouchingBacon, Nimbusphoenix, Mado & Knickers PJ.

“In a world where sea creatures live among us, your childhood friend Waldo has embarked on a worldwide adventure to exotic locales, and the two of you keep in touch via frequent letters. However, he has recently stopped writing and […] you decide to set out to try and find him. […] [I]f you don’t mess up, you might […] find something (and someone) you hadn’t known you were looking for…”

Sometimes I find a game, which surprises and even touches me deeply. When I saw “Whale’s Waldo” as a submission for the NaNoRenO 2018 jam, I expected to play a silly visual novel filled with fish puns. I was very, very wrong.

It’s an absolute delight of an interactive novel. You play as a human character who suffered mental problems (and still does a bit) and needed to isolate from everything as well as everyone in their life for a while. They had an old friend, the whale Waldo, who wrote them letters from his travels all over the world. But some day those letters stopped. So you try to find him and visit his former travel points.

On your journey, which involves Bodø in Norway, Anilao in the Philippines as well as San Francisco and Colorado Springs in the United States, you will meet four different types of characters. A sea urchin with an unfollowed dream, an octopus with a hidden passion, a sea slug who tries to find his place in the world and a shark with an unsettling appetite. Maybe they can help you to find your old friend, maybe not. But in the end, you might find some experiences and memories you never dreamt of.

I really loved “Whale’s Waldo”. It still has some kind of humour in it without just exploiting its narrative premise in a cheap way. It has some deep moments in itself, which are fascinating. They fascinate me so much that I couldn’t convince myself to just upload a short gameplay video of it, but instead of doing a complete playthrough for one of the nine different endings and upload it. This game was a complete surprise to me and I hope some of you might follow my lead and give it a shot. It’s absolutely worth it. >>PLAY