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Wildmender Review: Surviving the Desert Like a Pro

Wildmender Review by Ophidian Mind



Muse Games/Kwalee

In Wildmender, you will control the protagonist in a 3D environment from a third person perspective as you attempt to restore life to a desert-covered world that has largely been destroyed. Much of the vegetation has died off and the only remnants of civilizations left are ruins of towns and temples scattered throughout the land. Wraiths who seek to corrupt the world have taken over portions of it and also have trapped spirits who can help restore the land that you must rescue in your journey.

You'll begin at a small oasis where you will learn both the basics of survival and of the agricultural system where you can tend to live plants, plant seeds to grow new plants, and also revive dead plants once you obtain special abilities to do so. That’s a lot of “plants.” Much like real life, the most basic elements of survival involve keeping yourself hydrated and fed. You will begin with a bottle as a tool that you can fill with water for drinking as well as to use for watering plants. Foods with juices in them can also both hydrate you and reduce your hunger. Some foods that are very dry will reduce your hunger while also reducing your hydration, so they are best consumed near a water source so you can hydrate yourself after eating them. Kind of like American Chinese food.

red hazy outdoor area
Wildmender is a massive game with 40 hours of gameplay

Creating items is also a main function in the game, both in crafting tools and building structures that you can set up in camps. A workbench will allow you to create tools and healing items both for yourself and for plants. Storage bins will allow you to store items and are very important because the space in your backpack is limited. Pitching a tent (heheh) will allow you to rest and pass time. You can also create a bin to turn the remains of plants into fertilizer, and even build an ancestral altar where you can pray and be guided toward spirits who can share memories with you that can be used to upgrade your skills.

Spirit memories can be obtained through either speaking with spirits that you find wandering around or through completing side quests. These can be spent on a skill tree to boost certain abilities or to give you new abilities. There are different kinds of spirit memories and unlocking an area on the skill tree may require a certain number of different kinds of memories. Using your ancestral altar to seek out specific types of spirits can make obtaining particular memories much easier.

The tools you obtain will help you with agriculture, scavenging, exploration and combat. In addition to your water bottle, you can make a sickle that can tear down dead plants for parts or be used as a weapon against some creatures. You can also make a spade that you can use for digging certain types of spaces where you can find seeds and various resources. Then there’s a magical mirror (your main weapon against the wraiths), which can both shoot out a beam to attack them and produce a temporary shield around you that can reflect their attacks. You can also cultivate umbrella mushrooms that can be used to float down from high places so you can quickly descend without taking fall damage.

Each day you schedule the tasks you wish to accomplish. This will usually involve making sure you are hydrated and fed, tending to your plants and harvesting produce from them when it becomes available, and setting off to explore or accomplish quests. Being strategic in your exploration can help when traveling long distances, such as making a big part of your trek at night so that your hydration decreases at a much slower rate.

fighting a ghost with a sword
Combat isn't a strong aspect of this one

While there is combat in the game, it is only a small portion of the overall gameplay. In the options menu you can manually change the difficulty settings and adjust how much damage you do to enemies, how much they damage you, and adjust the rates at which you become dehydrated or hungry. The game is pretty customizable in that aspect.

While the look and sound of Wildmender won't make it stand out from other games, both the graphics and the audio are competent. It has an orchestral score that is fitting though also doesn't provide much sonic variation. However, the visuals do have decent variety as the environments tend to look quite different depending on the time of day.

The controls are fairly simple, easy to learn, and very responsive for the most part. Where there is a small bit of clunkiness is in the combat where you will likely have to get rather close to enemies to accurately hit them because aiming from a distance is a bit awkward, and there is no lock on feature. This ultimately isn't a big deal because the combat is fairly easy, and enemies attack slowly so you aren't putting yourself at more risk by getting close to them. The game does run smoothly for the most part though I did notice a few areas of slight split-second lag when loading areas with large structures and I did encounter a single crash during one of these moments. Nothing that can’t be addressed with a fairly simple patch.

While Wildmender does provide a mix of cozy and action elements, it leans much more heavily toward the cozy side of things. If this sounds like it is your cup of tea, then give it a try and it just might quench your thirst for a cozy adventure.


+ Variety of growing, scavenging, building, and combat

+ A big world to explore with up to 40 hours of gameplay


- Some lag in loading areas

- Aiming in combat is awkwardly implemented

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