Waking Tides








Genre: Adventure    

Developer & Publisher: AirshipFx              

Released: March 16, 2024               

Requirements: OS: Windows 10

Processor: Minimum, Intel Core i5 4690/AMD Ryzen 3 1200; Recommended,

Intel Core i7 8700K/AMD Ryzen 5 3600

Memory: Minimum 8 GB RAM; Recommended, 12 GB RAM

Graphics: Minimum, Nvidia GTX 1060 3 GB/AMD RX 580 4 GB;

Recommended, Nvidia GTX 1070 8 GB

Storage: 4.5 GB available space











By flotsam

Waking Tides


A Lovecraftian piece of first-person exploration that is largely the effort of a single person, Waking Tides has upsides as well as downs, and while my major impression was that it was unbalanced, it largely kept my interest across the two hours it took me.

It looks and sounds like Lovecraft should, and you have complete freedom of movement to explore the various realms. Using a combination of mouse and keyboard, you can also easily map the keys to suit your interface preferences, which helps the engagement and the immersion. You can die, unexpectedly and by doing the next most obvious thing, which (for me) is also in keeping with its roots. The game’s store page says that it thrives on experimentation, which could be code for you have to try things in order to determine what not to try, and that trying again (and again) is essential to moving on.

The game provides plenty of clues, including some described as ‘augmented reality’ involving QR codes and your smart phone (which you can ignore if you want to), and it will work with you to ensure that a death doesn’t throw you back too far. Just choose ‘continue’ and try again. There are also plenty of the sorts of things you need to find to be successful (painkillers for instance, which are essential to maintain good health, and glowsticks to ensure you can see what you are doing).

The game autosaves at various points but there are also save points within the game once you work them out. You will likely discover them by accident, interacting with them as just another object, but will then be on the lookout for more of them as you explore.

I have mentioned the experimentation aspect, and depending on how you get on, it might be a significant downside. Die, die and die again with no clue as to why isn’t objectively appealing. Clearly you need to do something different, but what is not always apparent. I thought the unbalance was most pronounced here; clues and indeed outright answers are present for some things, while other things are left completely in the dark. The endgame was a latter case in point, and without help I might still be shooting and wandering and dying willy nilly.

The hotspots are very small, and some objects are not only small themselves, but can be incredibly hard to see. Those two aspects combine to produce another possible negative for players, one that is ameliorated to some extent by the clues you can find or generate. I certainly wouldn’t have found some items if I hadn’t known where to look, which again spoke to the unbalance. Make the hotspots more generous and the items less miniscule and I wouldn’t need the ‘clue’ that tells me I can find the item over there. Kudos to the existence of the latter, but give me better capacity to find it myself.

Which might say more about me and my aging eyesight. Factor that aspect in as you will.

The objective can be simplistically described as progression from realm to realm by finding and successfully utilising the portal. Various interactions speak to a deeper narrative, and references to mysterious codex, scientific experiments etc., suggest something more, but it didn’t really come together. The abrupt end didn’t help. That said, the exploration of the realms and getting from one to another was the main interest for me.

A mixed bag in the end, but one that I appreciated playing.

I played on:

OS: Windows 10, 64 Bit

Processor: Intel i7-9700K 3.7GHz

RAM: Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR4 32GB

Video card: AMD Radeon RX 580 8192MB


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