Wanderlust Travel Stories was easily the most chill game I had the chance to see at PAX West. More so than any game I’ve seen, it definitely falls into the visual novel genre. Wanderlust Travel Stories has you participate some globetrotting stories, following different people as they experience different parts of the world. Featuring four novels and five short stories, there’s a lot of places to see and people to get to know in Wanderlust Travel Stories.
The most intriguing thing to me about the game is just how much of it is grounded in reality. This is not simply someone’s desire to explore the world and they decided to create a game to vicariously live through those characters. No, these travel stories are inspired by actual journeys taken by the developers. For example, one of the stories has you start in Spain and ends in Antarctica. That is an actual journey one of the developers made, one that we’ll have the chance to get a taste of too. Even cooler, to me anyway, is that every photo used in the game was taken from those real journeys.
That doesn’t mean we’re just hearing their own story. Instead, the framework of these travels, and some events, are being used to tell the story of new characters going down the same path. We get to participate in their journey in the game as well, making choices for the characters about what they are going to do. The developers hope these choices go beyond a simple gameplay choice for a character but also challenge us, the players, as well. Just as they experienced different cultures of the world and were exposed to new points of view, they grew and hope we can vicariously do so too.
Beyond just simply making choices throughout the game, Wanderlust Travel Stories does have some other gameplay elements to juggle as well. In part to help simulate a real journey, you’ll have to monitor your stress and fatigue, as foraying into some situation is definitely more tiring or stressful than others. There’s of course the question of money too, as none of these characters have a limitless budget. I saw these mechanics as another way to have us the players try to make choices we’d really make in those situations. We’d all feel the stress or fatigue, and we’d all try to budget. Balancing all those to have the best time we can is always hard.
If you’re looking for a relaxing experience, Wanderlust Travel Stories is worth keeping an eye on.
Wanderlust Travel Stories releases September 26th on PC.