‘Walden, a game’ takes core free-world exploration elements and then expands upon them in a unique way. The player embodies the persona of the famous American author Henry David Thoreau. You can explore the entirety of the game world at your leisure or follow the intended storyline. During your playthrough, you will uncover various areas of interest scattered across the map, each giving Thoreau inspiration. At heart, ‘Walden, a game’ is a survival game where you will collect food, maintain your house, farm and other activities you can expect when living off the land. However, that is only part of the gaming experience. Players will have to seek out inspiration by actively engaging with nature and ideas. If you ignore the other part of this equation, your gameplay will turn out dull and uninspired, literally draining the color from the world. The combination of these two components makes the game feel alive along with its diverse landscapes, animals, townspeople, and changing seasons.
The game authentically depicts the true experiences of Henry David Thoreau on Walden Pond. While the gameplay is innovative, it is also easy to pick-up and play. As players experience the world, non-invasive hints/tutorials pop up, including what keys to use or the types of actions to take to ensure survival. As such, the user controls one self-narrating character during the course of the story, eschewing NPCs and creating a realistic sense of solitude in the environment. The graphics give the player a sense of authenticity, in addition to allowing the player the freedom to explore the untamed wilderness around them. It’s authentic. But what’s more interesting is that the mechanics that put you into his experiment in living. Players get to decide to just survive or to create, which offers special dynamics and aesthetics. Throughout the map, you will discover key spots that will inspire Thoreau. This will cause the narrator to recite Thoreau’s actual works with his silky smooth voice! Many times I would purposely wander aimlessly just to hear Thoreau’s poetry recited back to me.
‘Walden, a game’ is an experience like no other. Many times during my playthrough, I forgot I was sitting in front of a screen. While it is a fast and convenient way of visiting the woods without having to leave your couch, the gameplay urges you to put your controller down and visit the great outdoors. If you are a casual gamer, explorer or literature enthusiast, then ‘Walden a game’ is a must try.