The Chinese gaming market has long been dominated by players on the PC, but 2018 has seen the Xbox One grow its popularity in the country, due in large part to the support offered between console and PC gamers. This has had the knock on effect of greater prevalence of Chinese products and developers in Western nations, as the divide between the demands of consumers lessens significantly. This is where Wenjia comes into play. Developed by Dilemma Studios and published by E-Home Entertainment, it takes cues from traditional Asian folklore providing a platformer with somewhat of a universal appeal.
The narrative for the game is simple and easy to follow, but certainly provides enough of a setting for the gameplay elements to thrive. With human civilisation encroaching further and further into what is, for all intents and purposes, an enchanted forest, an ancient spirit becomes angered and causes a series of volcanic eruptions which threatens to destroy the forest, and its inhabitants, in their entirety. The player takes control of a cat-esque protector, charged with rescuing those in danger, as well as their ancient home. The titles itself is a level based platformer which challenges by placing a reasonable variety of obstacles in your path, from natural spikes in the floor to the usual drop hazards. Although this is perfectly fun, and enough to carry me through to the end, some of you may find that these threats begin to feel somewhat samey.
One of the key mechanics of the game, and one which does set it apart somewhat from its immediate competitors, is the ability to switch between the light and dark planes, or realms. This is employed as you will only be able to get past certain areas on one plane, with further progress proving impossible in the other. This puzzle element deepens the experience, adding a cognitive challenge to a game which is otherwise rooted in dexterity. It’s not going to put the player through the ringer, like a King’s Quest game, but this accessibility does contribute to making the title an enjoyable one.
The art style of the game is genuinely lovely, with the combination of light and dark responsible for the successful creation of two distinct worlds, the relative safety offered in the light of the forest proper and the threatening darkness of its corrupted equivalent. The character is animated nicely, with the fluid jumping animations proving to replicate the movements of a cat-like creature well. At $14.99 this one can’t be accused of being expensive, but for the level of depth the player gets it may well have been a shrewd business decision to market somewhere closer to $12.99.
There is a ton of potential in this one, some of it realised and some of it not. There is a touch of the Ori and the Blind Forest’s about this one, although it doesn’t quite pull it off like its compatriot does, it must be said. All in all if you are in to platform games then I would have no trouble recommending this for a playthrough. Will it set the world alight? Probably not, but it is a good game worthy of a discerning consumer.
Wenjia is available now for Xbox One via the Microsoft Store.