The Plague Doctor of Wippra is another fine example of an indie point and click. I always feel compelled to justify my stance and make no hesitation in saying I have a penchant for point and click adventures. But a pixel art game?! Surely that should put me off?
Games like Police Quest and Leisure Suit Larry got me hooked on the genre in the first place, and if you look at these visuals, you’ll see some similarities. But those games were about the overall experience and not puddle rendering and, “Look, I can see photosynthesis taking place on those leaves a mile away”’. In some respects, it’s a little hard to decipher what’s on the screen here due to the art style. No matter, it’s a fantastic game that encourages you to take your time.
Though a short game, The Plague Doctor of Wippra moves at a leisurely pace for many reasons. Could it be the factually accurate surgical procedures (bloodletting, tasty leeches, and applying vinegar to keep fleas at bay), pixel hunting for clues, or simply divulging in the beautiful, if sombre, soundtrack? All of the above. It’s thoughtful, methodical, and a joy to play. And yes, that soundtrack really is beautiful.
The Plague Doctor Of Wippra Review
But what’s it about? Set in medieval Germany, you play physician Oswald Keller and are assigned to the small village of Wippra. Far from a quiet life, the residents are hit by the plague, and it’s down to you to fulfil your duties and ‘do the right thing’. Choices matter here – both morally and based on the procedures you follow. As stated, the practices and beliefs are archaic and naive, and it all signals the tragedy of the era. The number of times Alexander Leps (Electrocosmos) pulled on my heartstrings was pretty frequent – which is a good thing, but it also prodded at the grey matter, potentially causing some bruising.
An early puzzle related to bloodletting completely threw me off. One of the characters provides some hints. You’d think the process of elimination or that hopeful ‘try anything’ one does in a point and click would suffice; however, working out how to solve the issue may involve more patience than you might anticipate. The Plague Doctor of Wippra is one of those games that pour into your everyday life (put that knife down!) as I found myself thinking about the story and looking up the history of Wippra, the plague, ailments, and… bloodletting using the Zodiac. Ha! Take that! I solved it. A double-edged sword as I could progress, but I also learned something in the process. Tell that to the next person who tells you gaming numbs the mind.
Anyhoo, there are a few more areas where you hit the wall. Yes, you know what to do, but it’s getting there, and often it might be a fluke, or you tried the same thing again, but used the wrong inventory combination/didn’t click on the right bit. Though I never got actively frustrated with the game, walking up and down in scenes unable to leave an area was challenging, and I even switched on the hint system (hotspots). It’s not needed, and, like the tooltip that accompanies the feature, the game has been designed so you won’t require it. It’s true; I switched it off.
There’s also a rare option to change your font from the default pixel style, to a dyslexic-friendly font and even a serif one. The latter was welcome, but all options look good. I played The Plague Doctor of Wippra on the Steam Deck and anticipated I could carry over my save game to the desktop, but it would not sync. That’s not a problem; it was a delight to play and, naturally, not taxing for the Deck to handle. Quite honestly, The Plague Doctor of Wippra gets two thumbs up from me. A little of that is nostalgia – for pixel art adventures, but the Black Death, engaging and powerful storytelling, and sparking that interest in learning about the history that… plagues this tale. I couldn’t help myself. Do yourself a favour, check this out, and say Vulgar Knight sent you