Description official description
A balloonist falls in a strange land, after the balloon is punctured by colliding with a passing bird during a storm. The deflated balloon must be fixed to escape the place. The inhabitants can help, but the foreigner must first complete a series of tasks to win their friendship using the environment and a newly adopted pet monster.
Wandering Willows is an adventure game that plays like a simplified and linear version of Animal Crossing, with elements of other games like MySims and Tamagotchi. After creating the avatar, the player starts to interact with the game in a mostly linear fashion, performing tasks and fetch quests for other characters.
Completely mouse-based, the interface allows the character to cook, sew, buy and sell items, with tabs for the inventory, accumulated designs for clothes and the recipe book. The main objective is to repair the balloon and escape. A pet follows closely the avatar at all times, and performs some essential duties like digging mounds for useful items, climbing trees to drop their fruits and use a seduction power to charm other animals. Each action takes a bit of the green energy bar of the pet, and the player has to feed the animal when the bar is yellow. The pet evolves and gets better at repeated tasks, increasing its statistics displayed at the top-left corner of the screen.
The avatar collects the items laying on the floor, and plucks vegetables and flowers from the ground. The accumulated items can be combined indirectly, some of them as ingredients for cooking, other used as part of clothing. The avatar can wear different pieces of clothing on the head, torso and legs.
Charmed animals drop random items, and sometimes eggs that can be hatched at the nursery, where the player can switch pets at will. The avatar can also plant assorted vegetables at the garden, and flowers anywhere. Garden items need to be watered once before growing, while flowers don't. After some seconds, they can be plucked and stored in the inventory to make dishes or floral arrangements.
The player receives money by selling items, or completing tasks. Money is used to buy necessary items, or more space to the garden and extra slots to the inventory. The player receives quests and tasks by talking with other characters.
The other characters have a friendship meter, that gets higher with each task performed, and by receiving pleasant gifts. Holding the mouse over each individual shows their likes and dislikes. After the meter reaches its maximum capacity, the character gives a present to the player, usually a new design or recipe. These can also be found on mounds and with charmed animals.
Credits (Windows version)
51 People (32 developers, 19 thanks) · View all
|Original Game Concept
|Lead Engineer, Games
|QA Project Leads
|Director of Marketing
|Game Design Manager
|Director of Client Engineering
|Director of Product Marketing
|[ full credits ]
Average score: 81% (based on 3 ratings)
Average score: 4.2 out of 5 (based on 1 ratings)
Wandering Willows is perfect example of those easy-going, cute, and simplified adventure games that most people like to spend with some short (or long if you are a fan) time to completely relax. The story is quite simple – you are exploring the world in your favorite balloon transportation until you get marooned in strange land with some interesting (and often funny) inhabitants. You have your avatar and several pets to choose from and your simple goal is to fulfill tasks for local townsfolk to repair your balloon and head back home.
Game interface is through mouse-use-only and it works perfectly, it’s quite easy to catch up with the basic things needed for playing and you are welcomed by a very friendly tutorial that pops up now and then when needed but what is more important - you can turn it off at any time. There are several stages in your quest to fix the balloon and the more you talk to NPC’s and the more tasks you solve – the more you will progress through the game. There are almost 200 tasks to be carried out, some are quite simple from buying ingredients from the store and delivering it to the person who needs them and others are quite complicated which may include planting, crafting and baking your own set of meals.
Yes, you heard right – you will have ability to learn many recipes and patters for clothes that you can not only give to NPC’s – but you can also use on your pets and change the visual appearance of your avatar by crafting and applying those new clothes.
Your pets are essential for the progress in the game. Basically you use your avatar for talking, buying/selling and planting things and your pets for everything else. They have 3 sets of skills: toughness, climb and charm skill. Toughness is used for digging stones for metals and valuables usually; climbing a tree will provide opportunity to shake down some delicious food and charming can be used on wild animals which yields products like wool or even flower seeds and sometimes – even an egg which allows you to grow that species of animal and switch them as pets. Various types of animals have various abilities – some are good climbers, some are good charmers, some can find metals more easily and so on, so it is nice tactics to use different pets depending on which task you have at hand.
Conversations with NPC’s are usually really humorous, they each have their own unique personality and the more tasks you do for them – their “friendliness bar” rises. You can also give them some gifts like chocolate or diamonds to become best friends with them more quickly.
Isometric graphic is really cute and colorful, and personally it reminds me a lot of the golden age of NES and SNES games when most of the games, albeit simple, had that ‘special charm’ that kept you drawn in and playing. A big plus for “Wandering Willows” is even when you finish main quest line you can keep on playing to finish special, hard goals like becoming best friends with everyone or getting every pattern in the game and similar. Pretty neat thing that adds a bit to the longevity of the game. I also haven’t noticed a single bug while playing this game so big props goes out to programmers for polishing it our properly.
There are only a few minor nitpicks for me and one that apparently stands out : the game is pretty darn short. With some luck, you can finish it in only 10-12 hours, but luckily there are additional goals if you want to keep playing. Sound effects could be a little better and NPC’s have only one (although decent) voiceover so I guess sound department is where game lacks some content a bit. A little more versatility in tasks wouldn’t hurt either, but most of them are pretty nicely conceived and some are downright hilarious, especially professor Meepole and tasks with his less-than-ingenious inventions.
Throughout the game you can find various collar patterns which you will use to make ability enhancing collars for your pets. The problem is – making one of these collars costs a lot of resources and once you equip it on one pet – you cannot transfer it to another one. Little frustrating, but it doesn’t hurt a bit of challenge in otherwise pretty easy gameplay. Some of the eggs from animals are also notoriously hard to get – but those don’t have impact on finishing your main quest so it only counts if you continue playing to complete special goals.
The Bottom Line
Wandering Willows is downright simple and really enjoyable game if you don’t expect too much of it. It doesn’t offer complexity or any deep gameplay like most of the famous, big budget games on the market – but instead it offers fun tasks, neat NPC's and relaxing way to play that will appeal mostly to female population, but in any case – if you are used to some simple games from reflexive arcade like “Cute Knight” or even if you are playing any game pick from variety of Zynga flash-based fun games on Facebook – there is a big chance you will love “Wandering Willows” too.
In a nutshell - it’s simple, unpretentious, charming, funny and loveable.
Windows · by Darrabban (31) · 2010
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Macs Black.
Game added March 30, 2009. Last modified February 13, 2023.