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Game Info:

Where Water Tastes Like Wine
Developed by: Dim Bulb Games
Published by: Good Shepherd Entertainment
Release date: February 28, 2018
Available on: Linux, macOS, PS4, Switch, Windows, Xbox One
Genre: Adventure
Number of players: Single-player
ESRB Rating: Mature for strong language
Price: $19.99
(Humble Store Link)

Thank you Good Shepherd Entertainment for sending us this game to review!

You’re a wanderer who happens to stumble upon a card game with mostly bad players. Other than yourself, there is one other worthy opponent who is dominating the table’s winnings. When you get a great hand, you bet all of your winnings and quickly discover that it was a mistake. You’re now indebted to the mysterious character who gives you a job to pay him back. Your goal is to wander around and collect stories, watch them evolve, and string together the greatest tale ever told.

The default mode of transportation is walking, and it’s slow. Other than the moral issues, that’s my biggest complaint about this game. Thankfully, there are ways to get around faster including whistling to pick up your pace (slightly), hitchhiking, and taking the train. Walking is the only way to have control of where you’re going as the other two methods don’t let you stop at locations to gather stories or sight see. I had some issues with the controls for hopping into a car while attempting to hitchhike. Half of the time, the car would drive away as I was trying to enter it.

Highlights:

Strong Points: Excellent voice acting and background music
Weak Points: The graphics don’t scale very well and look bland; walking around is extremely slow and boring; poor controls
Moral Warnings: Every curse word is used including the F-bomb; blaspheming; occult symbolism and various religious practices are described; blood is not seen but referenced during a voodoo ritual; frontal nudity; unethical options; gambling

Places of interest will have an icon over them. Be sure to check them out to discover new stories or hear retellings of ones you’ve been spreading. It’s fascinating to watch the stories evolve and change like is done in a game of “telephone.” For example, there’s a man who only grows and shares molasses. That tale quickly changes to him only eating molasses.

The stories are often narrated and have great voice acting. They usually involve you in one way or another. Sometimes they're violent and you're injured during the experience. Oftentimes you’ll have a decision to make which will impact the story’s ending. For example, you’ll come across a dying man who hands you two coins to place on his eyes. You can either honor his request or take the money and walk away. There's a lot of variety in the tales and they're quite engaging.

Your character has some basic needs like sleep, money, and food. These needs can be met at big towns. In them, you can pan handle or seek out temporary employment. The town stores will be happy to sell you the local specialties. Many cities have a story to collect as well.

As you explore, you’ll find campfires to join. The campfires move around and have different characters in them. There are about a dozen or so characters to meet and hear their life stories. They will also ask for you to share a specific story genre with them. If you meet their requirements, you’ll gradually open their eyes and they will level up. As they level up, their appearance will change and their story will conclude after a few levels. Their life story can be shared with other campfire characters.

Where Water Tastes Like Wine
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 74%
Gameplay - 15/20
Graphics - 6/10
Sound - 9/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 3/5

Morality Score - 42%
Violence - 8/10
Language - 0/10
Sexual Content - 6/10
Occult/Supernatural - 1/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 6/10

The stories you collect are stored in a card-like inventory system. Some of the icons and card decorations are worth talking about. One of the card backgrounds features a pregnant woman whose belly is painted like the Earth and her chest is uncovered. Pentacles also appear on some of the cards.

Various religions are depicted including Native American Indian beliefs, witchcraft, and a voodoo blood offering. One of the characters, Jimmy, is a preacher who talks a lot about his faith. Blaspheming still occurs and every other curse word can be found in the dialogue as well, including the F-bomb.

I was not impressed with the graphics in the map view. The resolution options are limited and they don’t scale well on bigger monitors. The campfire and story scenes look decent though.

The background music is really good and I like how it changes for each region you’re in. Sometimes it abruptly cuts off without fading out and can be a bit jarring. Some of the songs are in Spanish, but most of them are in English.

If you like stories and storytelling, Where Water Tastes Like Wine may be worth picking up if the moral issues don’t bother you. The asking price is $19.99, but I have seen it for as low as $4.99 on sale.

About the Author

Cheryl Gress

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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