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  • Writer's pictureLaura Collins

Review: Wildwood Down Demo

Available on: PC/MAC (Steam) PS5 (TBD) XBox Series X (TBD) Switch (TBD)

In the world of video games, there's often a unique power to convey important messages and raise awareness for various causes. One such heartwarming endeavor is the demo featuring our protagonist, Daniel, who has Down's Syndrome. This point-and-click game takes you on an adventure that offers players an engaging and unforgettable experience while shedding light on the lives of those with Down's Syndrome.

The demo begins with Daniel peacefully snoring on a beach, a serene and idyllic setting. Under the pier, it appears that you're trying to sneak up on him, adding an element of curiosity to the story. This captivating introduction is beautifully video recorded with amazing quality, instantly immersing players into the narrative. I really hope to see more of this when the full game is released.

Our characters include Daniel, his sister Becca, her boyfriend Josh, and another friend, Dakota. At the start, Josh's continuous snarky and rude comments towards Daniel set the tone for the challenges that lie ahead.

In our tutorial, Daniel is prompted to maybe not throw Josh's hat out of the window at the advice of his conscience, who also becomes somewhat of a narrator for the game. Here, I disagreed with his conscience as well and would have liked to throw the hat out the window myself. This decision begins the demo's exciting chain of events.

As the group arrives in Wildwood just in time for spring break, Daniel’s new mission is to gather donuts and coffee for the group, but a seagull swoops in, stealing his mother’s card just as he’s trying to pay. To retrieve it, you must solve a series of engaging puzzles.

The demo incorporates various puzzles and challenges, emphasizing the importance of resourcefulness and creativity. You'll find a wet towel, which leads to disposing of cigarette butts, a clever use of lemons, and a hilarious cigarette butt disposal method, all of which add depth and variety to the gameplay. I don’t want to spoil the rest, but the culmination of these challenges showcases Daniel's determination and resourcefulness in the face of adversity.

A turning point comes when everyone realizes that Becca, Daniel’s sister and Josh’s girlfriend, is missing. The group splits up, and Daniel is sent to the beach, where he encounters a mysterious and ominous scene. An arm is sticking out of the sand belonging to none other than Dakota, his friend, and malicious figures are lurking nearby. Daniel's unique solution to this situation, involving a well-timed gas release, entertains and endears players to the character.

The police arrive on the scene and promise to do their best to help. Still, with his unwavering determination, Daniel understands that it's up to him to save his missing sister. The disappearance has something to do with the malicious figures, setting the stage for an emotional and heroic journey.

The demo featuring Daniel's adventure is a powerful and heartwarming gaming experience that raises awareness for Down's Syndrome. With its engaging gameplay, memorable characters, and touching story, it leaves players with some level of insight as to the challenges faced by individuals with Down's Syndrome and their incredible resilience. This point-and-click game is not just entertainment; it's a window into a world filled with courage, love, and determination.

Many thanks to Crashable Studios for letting me try out the demo. For others who would like to take a look for themselves, you can find demo requests here.

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