STAFF REVIEW of Wenjia (Xbox One)

Thursday, October 11, 2018.
by Kirsten Naughton

Wenjia Box art When I get home from a long day of work, I like to lay on my bed and play a video game. I was tasked with a new review, a game called Wenjia. It comes to my mind as a calm and soothing adventure with challenges that make the game appealing to those wanting the best of both worlds.

As a platform adventure type game, Wenjia gives an Ori and the Blind Forest vibe. I feel that E-Home Entertainment gave Wenjia its own identity instead of taking too much influence from that great Xbox One game. From the overall gameplay, artwork, to the creativity of the levels behind Wenjia, these are all without a doubt its strongest attributes and sets it apart from what will be a 'no-doubt' comparison to Ori and the Blind Forest.

You take on the role of a kitten, yes I said Kitten. This baby feline has the ability to phase between the realm of matter and the realm of energy. These two realms are the core of Wenjia and are critical to the way you navigate through the game. The controls are fairly simple, as the left bumper is used to phase between the two realms, the A button to jump and the left stick to move your character.

Now, something that doesn't necessarily get taught to you in the beginning is your ability to double jump, which of course happens when you hit the A button twice. Be mindful that it has to be the right timing too. If you press A too quickly, your character won't jump high enough, if you press A too late, you have a risk of falling to your death.

The main objective of Wenjia is to collect all the energy crystals in the forest. These energy crystals are little glowing orbs that can be found throughout your journey. Most of your time though will be spent travelling between realms to progress through Wenjia. You can jump through what I call 'teleport-spots' that allow you to progress to the next step of the journey. These next steps could include moving from teleport-spots to teleport-spots or being transported to another section of the area.

As you play, you may notice that there are black vines highlighted with some pink. Take my advice, do whatever you have to not to touch them, because if you do, you will die. The black and pink vines will come in two forms, on the ceiling or ground, and will stay fixed to the ground or burst below as you walk along or jump. This, as you can imagine, will create a bit of a challenge if you're not quick enough. My biggest advice for any challenge in Wenjia is to use the realms that you can transport to and from to your advantage.

The amount of work that must have went into the beautiful art that populates the game is worth applauding. The difference between the realm of energy and the realm of matter is a significant. One can be described as calm and relaxing while the other is as dark and eerie. I appreciate that the artist(s) took the time to make the differences between the two realms noticable, as I feel that the environment in Wenjia is the key to its success.

You learn very early on to use your surroundings to your advantage. For example, in one realm, you could have no way to get to the next area, but switch the realms and a platform appears. Someone took the time to develop these complex mechanics of the game, and based on this alone I was very ecstatic. There are times that a game comes out where insufficient time is taken to develop the mechanics, the controls and the overall look of the game, only to have it suffer in the end. Wenjia, although not perfect, makes you and your gaming experience one of the top priorities.

A highlight that I want mention is the collectibles featured in Wenjia. Throughout your adventure you will come across hidden energy crystals. Additionally, you can unlock different skins for your character, additional parts of the story can become available as well. There is also a speed competition mode where its your typical speed run challenge. The achievements are overall straightforward, and there's even an achievement for finishing Wenjia in an hour!

There was an aspect of Wenjia that I feel E-Home Entertainment could have done better, and that is its story. The simplicity of the story is surprising as I had expected it to be a little more indepth. I feel that the artwork and overall gameplay though do more than make up for the lack of narrative.

Overall, I enjoyed my experience with Wenjia. Although I didn't fall in love with the story, the core gameplay mechanics and artwork kept me intrigued and satisfied during my review experience. I feel that if you're searching for a game with a solid story, you could look elsewhere, but, if you can see past this hiccup, Wenjia is worth your time. In my opinion, any game that looks as beautiful this game deserves your attention.

Overall: 7.0 / 10
Gameplay: 8.0 / 10
Visuals: 9.0 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10


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