Finding Whateverland on Kickstarter

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been pining for a good point-and-click. It’s something to do with the nostalgia element. I grew up with the genre so when things are getting heavy in the real world (and let’s face it, things are pretty heavy right now), they’re the games I usually turn to.

The problem is that I haven’t been able to find one which has held my interest. The last release I played and enjoyed was The Blind Prophet by ARS GOETIA after the Digital Dragons Indie Celebration demo in May persuaded me to buy the full game. Since then, nothing seems to be scratching the itch; I’ve spent hours staring at my Steam wishlist or installing a title only to put it to one side an hour later, when I realise it’s not giving me that true point-and-click vibe that I’m searching for right now.

The thing is, I know there are some good titles coming soon and I had the opportunity to try a few demos during the Steam Game Festival last month. Mutropolis by Pirita Studio seems like it’s going to be a science-fiction tale which isn’t as dark as some of the other titles out there and Papetura by Petums is a hand-crafted game which looks absolutely gorgeous. There’s also Whateverland by Caligari Games, a project I found out about when a fellow member of a Facebook group posted a link to its Kickstarter campaign.

The story begins when protagonist Vincent, an engineer by profession and thief by trade, decides to steal a precious necklace from the mansion of an old woman named Beatrice. The task seems like an easy job for a master such as himself but what he doesn’t realise is that she’s actually a witch – and a vindictive one at that. Dismayed by Vincent’s behaviour, she sends him to a parallel world called Whateverland where people are compelled to languish indefinitely while they reflect on their poor life choices.

After installing the prologue a couple of weeks ago, I found myself in what looked like a scrapyard where I was introduced to the controls. Clicking on an object reveals icons representing verbs which can use used to look at or interact with, picking up an item stashes it in your inventory, clicking on a location causes Vincent to move to it and double-clicking will make him run. It’s exactly what you’d expect from a point-and-click and it will all feel rather familiar if you’ve played any classic entries in the genre.

What isn’t so familiar however is how players are able to tackle the game in two different ways. You can either be helpful, finding out what’s troubling other characters and then dealing with their problems, or you can steal what it is you need from them to move the plot forward. You don’t have to pick a ‘side’ at the beginning of the game and stick to it because every chapter can be completed in whichever way you choose, and each path offers a unique gameplay experience and ending which can’t be accessed otherwise.

My first choice came up in the next scene where I found someone trapped in a wardrobe with a chain and padlock. The voice promised to tell me all about where I was and how to escape but only if I got him out of there, and for that I’d need the key held by a weird inventor called Harold. As is my usual way with video games, I opted to be good and completed a task which involved getting rudder from a talking crow, who wanted something French and smelly, so Harold could finish his helicopter and fly away from Whateverland. Strange.

The person inside the cupboard was my future sidekick Nick, a guy with a pointy moustache who floats. He tells me that place brings out the worst in people, causing them to transform in different ways when they give into their vices and this explains his own predicament: slowly turning into a ghost from the feet upwards. All is not lost though because he knows of a way to summon Beatrice so they can graciously ask her to let them both out. We just need to find the seven parts of a spell scattered across world so how hard can it be?

The Kickstarter page for the project explains that the title will feature around 20 minigames including giving a tattoo to a mermaid, making top-notch ramen and fleeting from hostile communists. You’ll also encounter a variety of locks which need to be opened if choose the path of the thief. On top of that there’s Bell & Bones, a turn-based strategy sports simulator popular among the inhabitants of Whateverland which is like ‘a particular card game in a certain well-known project about slaying monsters and picking up sorceresses’.

I’ve always had a bit of a love-hate relationship with mingames. I enjoy them when they’re optional and the bartender job in Fable II or the lockpicking in The Elder Scrolls Online are good examples; but I hate it when they’re mandatory and you can’t progress until you’ve won. Minigames are the reason why I never completed The Feeble Files (those stupidly difficult games in the arcade section) or Final Fantasy X (Blitzball really wasn’t fun at all) and haven’t gone back to those titles since my first attempts at them.

Whateverland, video game, man, Vincent, crow, bird, junkyard, talking

I also struggle with non-linear storylines sometimes. As I’ve written before, they induce perfect-ending-pressure for me where I look for the best decisions rather than simply having fun with the game I’m playing. So with its minigames and multiple gameplay options, why on earth have I chosen to become a backer for Whateverland? Well, there’s just something about it which reminds me of older point-and-click titles and I like the vision the developer is trying to achieve. If my pledge can help them get there, then I’m happy to get behind the project.

Why not try the prologue for yourself and find out if Whateverland is your kind of thing? All the details can be found on the Kickstarter campaign which is running until 15 July 2020, and you can also follow Caligari Games on Twitter to stay up-to-date on their progress.

Free and easy: more no-cost games on Steam

Last month, I admitted I had a problem: my Steam wishlist was out of control. It had crept up to 99 games (and was even bigger than that by the time the post was published). It had grown steadily with me adding new titles to it every day and I needed to do something about it.

As well as receiving some good advice from fellow gamers, writing that article made me realise there were several games on my list which were free or could be completed in less than an hour. What better way to take positive action than to get those completed? The last time I picked up a batch of free titles was in July 2018 when I’d tried to help anyone with a broken wallet after the Steam summer sale that year, so it seems like perfect timing as we’re now in that dangerous period once again.

Answer Knot

If you’re a fan of walking simulators with good storyline and are looking for one which can be completed in less than an hour, it’s worth trying Answer Knot by Naraven Games. I really enjoyed the way the plot is told through everyday items left around the environment along with answerphone messages from the protagonist’s wife. There are also a whole bunch of references to other video games too – my favourite being a diary entry about a visit to Shambala, where half the temples were blown up thanks to a bizarre ‘treasure hunter’.

Burn Me Twice

I wasn’t sure about playing Burn Me Twice by Null Reference Studio because I wasn’t keen on the angular character models, but they grew on me once in the game and I really enjoyed it. You take on the role of a witch who must investigate mysterious happenings in the town of Düstenburg, collecting evidence including items and testimonies then using these in court to convince the jury who the culprit is. I spent an entertaining 4 hours with this title over a couple of evenings, and I’d highly recommend it.

Burning Daylight

Although the controls are a little janky, Burning Daylight is still impressive when you consider it was made by a group of 12 students called Burning Daylight Team. The highlight is perhaps the atmosphere: as you make your way through this future city, it’s clear that something is very wrong indeed. The story is told through the environment, so no clear answers are given, but it seems to something about society’s obsession with technology and not wanting to see the world for what it truly is. Very interesting.


Although the puzzles are quite easy and the twist at the end of the story is possibly a little expected, Metaphobia by Digital Mosaic Games is one of the better point-and-clicks I’ve dug up on Steam. I managed to complete it in four hours split over two sessions and so it’s perfect if you’re looking for something to occupy a spare afternoon. It feels just like the adventure games for the 1990s and will interest anyone who likes storylines featuring murders, political rivals and mysterious conspiracies.


I can sum up Off-Peak by Cosmo D in just one word: weird. It isn’t a bad game at all but it’s definitely one of the stranger releases I’ve played. It takes place in a cathedral-like station where you’ll explore secret passageways, meet colourful strangers, wonder what the hell is going on and eat all the pizza slices while trying to collect the pieces of a train ticket. The highlights for me were the awesome music along with the guy in a business suit randomly dancing by himself on the train-tracks.

The Mirror Lied

To The Moon by Freebird Games is one of my favourite video games so I’d always been keen to try out The Mirror Lied. But I’m still not sure what to make of it, even though I’ve been thinking about it for the past several weeks since I played. The developer himself calls it an ‘experimental adventure’ and it’s certainly that: my other-half and I had no idea what was going on most of the time. Although I hate to say it, this is possibly a title to avoid unless you’re looking for something which is really going to confuse you.

The Supper

It may be very short and over in less than 30 minutes, but The Supper by Ocatvi Navarro is one of the best free releases I’ve ever picked up on Steam thanks to its story and artwork. It’s a weird yet wonderful mix of creepy and emotional. You’ll start the game thinking it’s a dark plot about serving some pretty disgusting meals to your customers, and then come out of it feeling a sort of bittersweet compassion for the protagonist. It’s very well done indeed – I’d highly recommend giving this one a try. Just maybe not during your lunch-break.

Whateverland: Prologue

I first heard of Whateverland by Caligari Games when a fellow member of an adventure game group on Facebook posted the link to a Kickstarter campaign. I decided to try the free prologue myself and then ended up becoming a backer because I was so impressed. Protagonist Vincent decides to steal a precious necklace from a mansion of an old women – who then turns out to be a witch, who sends him to a parallel world so he can reflect upon his poor life choices. More details coming on Friday!

Have you played any of these games yourself, or are there any other free titles you’d recommend to those feeling the pinch thanks to the Steam summer sale? Let us know in the comments below!