Adventure Corner: Wide Ocean Big Jacket
Welcome to Adventure Corner, a column where members of the RPGamer staff can give their thoughts, impressions, and pseudo-reviews for various adventure titles that don’t come under our usual coverage. Adventure Corner is aimed at delivering opinions on a wide range of titles including visual novels, point-and-click adventures, investigative mysteries, and so forth.
In this edition of the column we take a look at Turnfollow’s graphic adventure title Wide Ocean Big Jacket, and dream of summer.
Wide Ocean Big Jacket
Everyone has a summer story. It can be one filled with drama or romance. Perhaps it’s one full of great family vacations, such as cottaging or even camping. Growing up I was very fortunate that my parents owned a cottage, and every summer from age five to fifteen, I religiously spent my time there. I have many fantastic memories of that time period in my life. Wide Ocean Big Jacket is the story of a family camping trip, and what it means to make summer memories.
Taking on the role of Uncle Brad, Aunt Colanne, Mord, and Ben as they embark on a summer camping trip, players will have the ability to head to the beach, roast hot dogs on an open fire, fight off some mean teens, and even have a conversation about the birds and the bees. Each of the characters offers their own witty banter, and their own stories about who they are.
Wide Ocean Big Jacket is a short game that can be completed in roughly ninety minutes. However, what is jammed into that time frame is a sweet summer story. The writing has a fantastic sense of humour, from Mord’s weird obsession with hot dogs and sticks, to Ben confiding in Brad that his parents are getting a divorce and he isn’t sure how to cope. Character interactions are very thoughtful and heartfelt, with players being given just enough information about each person’s past to make educated guesses of why they are on this camping trip. Furthermore, there are random instances of all caps text throughout the game, which encourage players to consider different actions. At one point Mord must decide if she’d rather go to the bathroom (and hide from some mean teens) or simply just go to the beach and not care.
Interactions in the game are very simple, and that might be a turn-off to some players. Wide Ocean Big Jacket is a very linear story, with the player expected to hit each of the cues to move the narrative forward. There’s not a huge amount of interaction to speak of, but following the story is part of the game’s charm. One of the best scenes in the game has Brad and Colanne going for a walk and discussing Ben and Mord’s relationship. It also brings up a great conversation of what it means to be in a relationship where there is no desire to have children. These interactions make for wonderful story beats, and it’s easy to love all the characters and the troubles that they wear on their sleeves.
Graphically, Wide Ocean, Big Jacket isn’t exactly the most impressive game. It’s low-poly and parts of the backgrounds often don’t blend well together, and yet it’s oddly charming to look at. The art direction has a quirkiness to it that suits the way in which the narrative is told, which is through old-time cue cards. It’s a neat approach to telling a story, and the art direction does a great job of harnessing that feeling of pure summertime. The music that accompanies many of the moments in the game is subtle and tender, fitting the theme of going on a camping trip and having a summer adventure.
Wide Ocean Big Jacket is for those who love curling up with a good book, or love seeing sweet summer romances blossom. It’s a funny, light-hearted experience that will take very little of your time and offer something that is sweet and reminiscent of summer. Wide Ocean Big Jacket provides that escape into the outside world without ever leaving the comfort of your home.