The Wild Case
The Wild Case is a fine adventure game with the look & feel of a hidden object game, yet stripped of any hidden object scenes or mini-games, and focused instead on telling the story of a remote Slavic village attacked by wild beasts with red glowing eyes.
In some ways, the gameplay is very similar to a point & click game. The whole game is played from the first-person perspective of a detective summoned to investigate these strange incidents. Apart from various items that you collect from your surroundings and a map that you can use to fast travel to other already unlocked locations, your inventory also contains a notebook whose only purpose is to track your progress by setting clear and almost immediate goals (they require only a couple of actions) that can be considered as short quests. This approach makes the game easy to understand – you will always know what you have to do or what your next steps are, and you’ll spend little time roaming around looking for clues. Contrary to a point & click game, everything you can interact with can either be picked up or will be used at later stage, so there’s little to almost no space for trial & error and mindless clicking in each location – and that is one of the things I liked most about the game.
The majority of point & clicks have a habit of opening up a multitude of locations for you to explore and lose yourself into, searching for that small thing that allows you to progress further. On the contrary, The Wild Case is a fairly linear game and even if you normally have multiple simultaneously open quests, these are chained together and will always have to be solved in an orderly manner. You talk to one NPC in order to acquire an item, but they will give it to you only if you solve a quest for them. In order to solve this quest, you need to talk to another NPC that will require you to bring him another object in return, and so on. Once you acquire such an item, you only need to follow the trail back to the original request. In that regard, the game feels extremely fluid, effortlessly flowing from one action to another, from one scene to another. There is no hint system and the map doesn’t indicate which locations have available actions, but there’s also no need for such things due to the game’s uncomplicated design.
The Wild Case’s story is dark and gripping but has a gentle and satisfying ending. There are a couple of very soft jump scares, but it’s far from being a horror game. The hand-drawn artwork is amazing with each location looking like a standalone painting, and the NPCs are nicely animated.
It takes only a couple of hours to complete the game, and most of the achievements are story-related. There are a couple of missable achievements that require doing something at the right moment or in a certain order, but there aren’t any collectibles to gather. It’s definitely worth buying it for the gorgeous graphics and its captivating story, or only for having a few hours of chill gameplay.