In The Wild Eternal, you play as Ananta, an old woman who’s trying to escape from suffering and death. You venture into the wild in hopes to escape having to live another life through reincarnation. Just this alone captivated me. I wanted to learn Ananta’s story and why her life pained her so much that she hopes to never live again. With that, the game led me to begin a beautiful journey.
As you escape from a cave that you fell into, you’re greeted by a red fox. You’ll learn that he’s the Avatar of Dreams and he agrees to come with you on your journey. He’ll help you, and he believes you’ll be able to help him too. This fox acts as both a guide and a storyteller of sorts as he asks you questions and you, as Ananta, answer him. He’s old and wise, and I really liked seeing him appear along my paths now and then.
When The Wild Eternal says that you’ll be doing a lot of exploration, they don’t mean that just in terms of having to travel a lot in-game. They also mean that to find out how to navigate and play the game, you’ll have to do a lot of investigating. The game rewards you for trying everything and straying outside of the intended paths that may seem most obvious. You’ll have to try out new things in order to learn.
An example of this can be found at the beginning of my playthrough when I came across a shrine-like area. It said I needed “tributes” but since I didn’t have any, I figured I’d get to that later. I was met with a broken bridge at the next turn of the road. I had no idea what to do here, and I didn’t have any items or skills on me. With that, I decided to just walk across—perhaps my character will automatically make the jump? Or maybe the gap wasn’t actually that big (it looked like I wouldn’t make it with Ananta’s snail-paced walking)? I promptly fell to my “death”.
The fox appears beside me after I come back, asking me why I did such a silly thing. He mentions that I really should be going to a shrine in order to get abilities. I swear I didn’t have any tributes, but with his encouragement, I realized I probably didn’t explore this area as thoroughly as I should have. I soon found the tribute and took it to the shrine to get a running upgrade.
The mechanics are pretty simple in the game. As an exploration game, you’re tasked with finding tears in order to unlock different areas in the game. The end point is that you hope you’ll be able to leave without worrying about being reincarnated. I suppose in a way, the game is a giant fetch quest, but it doesn’t feel tedious. Each new area that I visit feels fresh and mysterious.
The world around me felt responsive, which I really came to appreciate. From my steps between different textures of ground, to the fox saying different lines every time I die, it makes the world seem that much more alive. Oh yeah, at one point, a tiger eats me. I thought since the fox was my friend, the tiger may be too. I was wrong. Again, there aren’t many instructions and you’ll have to try things out.
One pretty customizable aspect of the game is upgrading your skills at the shrine. Not having upgraded something means you may be crippled in some aspect, but at the same time, you don’t have enough tributes to spec into all the upgrades. At one point, I slid down a cliff, and lost all the items on me. Sadly, I had to move on, and since I didn’t have the skill that lets me slide down cliffs and survive, I left my stuff in some mountain side. I left so many good oranges on that mountain.
The Wild Eternal will take you on a mysterious and alluring journey. If you’re looking for a relaxing game that gives you a wide degree of freedom in exploration, this is the perfect game for you. The art itself is something to marvel at, and the reactive environment really ties the experience together.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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