Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Wik: The Obsession  

Anyone that knows me knows that I rarely play a game twice. If it's got a story mode (and I love them that do) regardless of how much I enjoyed it, chances are that it’ll never enter my console again once the credits roll. A large part of the fun I get from games is the discovery of what's next, and once I already know, it just doesn't have the same thrill.

Once in a blue moon I'll come across something that just clicks with me, and I'll fall completely in love with it. It happens so rarely that I could justifiably say it never happens, and basically be correct. However, since one should never say never, I will admit that there have been a select few that charmed me enough to come back for a second, or third round.

The latest to be added to my ‘OMG, I actually want to play this again’ pile?

Wik: the Fable of Souls, by Reflexive.

It started life as a PC game, but I came across it as one of the earliest downloads launched for the Xbox 360’s Live Arcade. At the time there were only a handful of titles available, but I have a feeling I would have given it a shot regardless-- There's just something completely magical about this game for me.

There's no way you can tell what's going on in this shot, but trust me -- it's fun.

I reviewed it back in June 2006 for GameCritics, gave it an 8, and had this to say about it:

Wik: Fable of Souls is a crazy little project; it's got the music of Elfman, the aesthetics of Oddworld and the single-screen mechanics of an old-old-school platformer. The game's star, Wik, resembles nothing so much as a mix between a tropical tree frog and a Goth rocker.

Along with…

It's weird, but familiar in all the right ways. I was addicted, but it did drive me batty. It feels like a forgotten classic, but it's running on the newest hardware… Wik: the Fable of Souls is a very unusual proposition, but one that I suggest 360 owners accept.

The full review is here if you want it, but the point I'm trying to make is that the game is fantastic. The art, the animation, the physics, the gameplay… everything. Having returned to it after two years, my appreciation for it has only grown and it's even become something of an obsession. I never got all the achievements the first time around, and I didn't complete the game with 100% of the collectibles -- both things I’m currently in the middle of rectifying.

Yes, you read that right. It's not a typo: not only am I playing it again, I'm playing it again and going for total completion.

I think I can say I've done that for less than a dozen games over the length of my entire career, but Wik holds a special place in my gaming heart and I'm enjoying it every bit as much now as I did the first time around.

If you haven't tried it, take my advice and get it straight from the source here, or at the very least give the demo on Live a shot. It may not be your cup of tea, but if you're reading this blog... then the chances are that it probably is.

How can you not love this face?!?

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3 comments: to “ Wik: The Obsession

  • Anonymous


    I noticed your now playing Etrian Odyssey II, the sequel to one of my favorite games from last year (#2 on my personal top 10 list). I'd love to hear some of your thoughts on the game, as well as what motivated you to try it out.


    Hey there.

    Etrian Odyssey II is one of the games I'm playing for GameCritics.com for review purposes.

    I never tried the original, but after a *really* steep learning curve, I'm totally addicted to EOII.

    It's super-old-school, but the translation is great and it's really polished overall. it might not be everyone's cup of tea, but what it does, it does well.

    BTW, if the first EO is your #2, what's your #1?

  • Anonymous


    The original is pretty much the same game, but without a lot of the streamlining that was done to the sequel. Small things like being able to compare and equip weapons/armor in shop and having many more options in your mapping tools (the list goes on) helps make the whole experience a little less frustrating this time around. Looking forward to the upcomin review, and so far the game is currently in line to be my top pick for 2008 (Still half a year to go).

    My #1 game from last year (the game I had the most fun with) was Mario Galaxy. I just couldn't stop smiling.