I’d like to open this writeup on Wide Ocean Big Jacket with a long series of paragraphs discussing the definition of games, what it means to be a game, and just general thoughts on interactive media.
I’m not going to do that because it would be a tremendous waste of time, and take away from actually talking about the Wide Ocean Big Jacket.
I think Wide Ocean Big Jacket is very good. It might be great.
Wide Ocean Big Jacket is not something I would have played if I wasn’t trying to force myself to step outside of my comfort zone. If you’ve read my other reviews, it’s pretty easy to figure out that I prize interesting mechanical gameplay over just about everything else.
That’s not really what Wide Ocean Big Jacket is about. The game itself has more in common with a visual novel than any other genre. As far as I can tell, there aren’t any major branching decisions, and the whole experience is fairly linear.
The thing is, the game absolutely nails almost every aspect of the writing and the setting. I would rank it up there with Night In The Woods in terms of being accurate to what human beings are actually like, and also nailing what going camping is actually like. There are very few games with writing this good.
I don’t want to say too much about the plot. Generally speaking, it feels like a slice of life style thing. It’s about going camping in the woods and relationships. And that’s all you really need to know.
Wide Ocean Big Jacket is $8 on itch.io. It’s not a long game by any means, but I don’t think that’s a valuable tool to measure it by. It was also part of the itch.io Racial Justice Bundle, so if you own that, you can download it and play it now. And I think you should.
Oh, and if you’re on the fence, there’s a demo! It’s an entirely separate set of extra chapters of the game. You’ll have to scroll down a bit on the page to find it.