If you love the slightly macabre humour and style of Tim Burton then you’re going to love Whateverland by Caligari Games. In this hand-painted point-n-click adventure you play as the morally grey character of Vincent. While some games will have you playing the hero in the story, this one has you choosing on which side of the morality line you’d like to stand.
The game plays like a classic point and click but in a non-linear fashion. Meaning that you’re able to explore the world around you, get lost, and solve puzzles in a variety of ways. And discover the various endings for you and Vincent. Whateverland also differentiates itself from other games in this genre with a turn-based strategy element. Always a fun addition to any game imo.
Whateverland is out now on Windows PC via Steam, GOG, and Itch.io. And will be coming to the Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X|S, and Xbox One in late 2022.
The Whateverland Story
Whateverland stars our main protagonist Vincent, a skilled thief who has decided to steal a necklace from a lonely old woman. The woman named Beatrice however is not as feeble as she appears and when she catches Vincent, she reveals herself as a powerful witch. As his punishment, she sends Vincent to a prison world, which is the whole crux of Whateverland.
In this place, Vincent meets Nick, a charming ghost who accompanies you on your escape journey. It’s up to you to decide Vincent’s fate. Whether he’ll lie, steal and thieve his way out? Or will you change his ways and help others? A decision that becomes a little harder as the characters in Whateverland are delightful, eccentric and complete weirdos. They’re brought to life with full voice acting and if you’re not playing with the sound on you’re not playing this game right.
The characters in Whateverland truly bring the game to life. In this prison land, don’t expect to find the nicest of people. In fact this world morphs its inhabitants to match their soul’s true form. The more deranged your personality, the more grotesque your physique.
Find a way out of this place by finding a long-forgotten spell that will summon Beatrice to free you. It’s a rumour that the pages of the spell are scattered across the realm. But who knows if that’s truth?
For veterans of point-and-click adventures, you’re going to find a lot of the gameplay mechanics of Whateverland fairly familiar. With one of the main changes being that the game is non-linear. There’s no set time or place that you have to go through to finish each puzzle. You won’t need to finish one place in order to progress, in fact places seem fairly independent of each other.
As you journey around Whateverland you’ll meet all the distinct and individual characters that this bizzare place has to offer. Meeting and talking to them will likely trigger some sort of mini-game/puzzle that you’ll need to solve. And you can choose to do it now or come back later to do it. Definitely make use of your guide book to refer to choices you’ve made, as well as some hints for the people you’ve met.
The mini-games are definitely more complex than more point-and-click adventure games that I’ve been through. No spoilers here but expect to have some fun. There’s also the Bell and Bones addition that’s going to offer some variety and it’s something that deserves its own section.
Bell and Bones
Bell and Bones is the game within the game. In this case a turn-based strategy board game that’s prevalent in Whateverland. The developers call it a cross between “basketball and XCOM“, which okay accurate. In this strategy sport simulator the aim of the game is to fire the bell into one of three spoons.
Get the bell into the spoon by utilising your team of four Bones. The Bones are miniature models that represent the players on the board. Each one of the Bones have unique skills and some will be better at passing or running large distances. They also come equipped with their own special abilities, which can be used either aggressively or defensively, based on your current situation.
Bell and Bones like Gwent from The Witcher is a great in-game game and its developers have stated that it will receive its own standalone version. No details for that on our end however.
Note that you can choose to “skip” this mini-game for those of you that aren’t into turn-based strategy for a number of resources. But I enjoy it!
Graphics And Music
What drew me to Whateverland was its art. I don’t want to be a basic bitch about this but that’s normally one of the most memorable aspects of a video game for me. That coupled with the excellent sound design really creates an atmospheric world you can get lost in. As I mentioned before the voice acting really bring the characters to life. It definitely gives the game more polish but what else needs a shout out is its background music.
If you enjoy jazz, blues or instrumental chanson music, then this soundtrack will be right up your alley. The compositions themselves are short, pleasant, incidental pieces, that accompany the on-screen visuals tremendously. And just one word for their presence – vibe.
True to the Tim Burton-esque style that inspired Whateverland, characters, objects and places are beautiful, dark and a little twisted.
About Caligari Games
Caligari Games is an award-winning independent game development studio based in Moscow, Russia that specializes in creating narrative-driven experiences for those who enjoy good storytelling and peculiar gameplay. In 2019 the studio debuted with The Great Perhaps, a 2D puzzle-platformer adventure and winner of Excellence in Narrative and Streamer’s Choice at devGAMM 2019. In 2020, Caligari Games launched a successful Kickstarter and playable prologue for Whateverland, which won awards for Best PC Game and Streamers’ Choice at Indie Cup ‘20 and Excellence in Audio at DevGAMM 2020.