The Water Bird is a pleasant, original IF game based on the folklore of the Miwok Indians, who used to live in what is now Yosemite National Park in California. Similar to Bonnie Montgomery's Firebird, The Water Bird is a wonderful blend of solid writing, wonderful storytelling of an intriguing myth backed by extensive research, and logical puzzles. As the game's opening goes: "...this story takes place in that time long ago, at a time when the First People are in great danger. The terrible giant Uwulin, as big as a mountain, is roaming the land, eating every person he could catch wherever he went. No one knows where he came from, save that he came from the north, and no one knows how he can be defeated. But he has already walked over all the land, from north to south, devouring almost all the First People as he passed, and now he is returning to the north, catching those he missed the first time. |
You are Wehowhemah, a young boy living in a small village that was fortunate enough to be passed by by Uwulin when he headed south. Now, though, it seems that on his way back north he may be headed straight for you..."
Gameplay is straightforward IF: explore the gameworld, talk to the other characters, and solve puzzles that you come across. Some puzzles are quite picky about wording, but none is overly taxing. There are many footnotes in the game which give interesting anecdotes about the Miwok way of life, all of which are very interesting read and shows that the author has done a lot of background research to make the game as authentic as possible. Overall, despite a few pacing problems (the plot picks up rather too quickly at certain times and drags on a bit in others), The Water Bird is a pleasant, introductory-level IF that is well worth a look. Two thumbs up!
Reviewed by: Underdogs