The Plague Doctor of Wippra Review – Of science and superstition

Gare – Thursday, October 6, 2022 6:01 PM
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The Plague Doctor of Wippra is an interesting project – it is a point & click adventure game, but unlike what you’d normally expect from the genre, you’re not taking on the role of a lone detective, a special agent or an adventurer looking for, well… adventure. Instead, it gives a common physician the spotlight: the titular plague doctor who takes up residence in the small medieval town of Wippra, and must find a way to practice his craft, even at the cost of having to come face to face with the ignorance and superstitions of his times.

Darker times

Despite the somewhat simplistic, intentionally retro-style visuals, The Plague Doctor of Wippra nonetheless sets its tone perfectly as it transports you to its medieval world – a simpler time with simpler medicinal techniques and more closed minds; the soundtrack is also quite beautiful and helps ease you into the world even when its narrative takes a turn for the darker. In fact, most of the game relies heavily on making choices and living with the potential consequences: the plague ravages the town and you’re trying your best, but sometimes doing the right thing is not enough, and you end up having to pay the price for it. That said, while the inevitable clash between science and superstition does rear its ugly head from time to time in a variety of forms, I sort of wish it could’ve been given a bit more attention instead of just a few instances. The finale also more or less tells you which of your previous choices ended up having grave consequences, and since the game does feature multiple endings, this could drive one to go back and try tackling things a different way. I was personally satisfied enough with the ending I got, but I imagine the feature will nonetheless give completionists something extra to do.

One puzzle a day…

In terms of being an adventure game with puzzles to solve and obstacles to overcome, The Plague Doctor of Wippra performs admirably enough. Its puzzles aren’t overly complex, but you certainly can’t just stumble through the adventure without stopping to think for a few seconds; there are several items to find, pick up and combine in various ways, and although there were one or two instances where I felt the solution was a little forced (or “video game-y”, for lack of a better term), I was overall satisfied with the game’s brain teasers. Not only do they give the player ample reason to thoroughly look around and try various things, they also provide a bit of insight into the medical practices of the Middle Ages, such as leeching, bloodletting and even the creation of natural healing ointments.

In conclusion

All in all, The Plague Doctor of Wippra is a pleasantly competent, bite-sized adventure game that will keep you entertained for an afternoon, especially if you’re looking for something with a more grounded, less fantastical theme. The puzzles mostly integrate well into the concept of playing a medieval doctor and the inclusion of narrative beats involving the clash of science and superstitious ignorance were also appreciated, although they perhaps could’ve been fleshed out a touch more. Go into this one with somewhat tempered expectations – it is a 2-hour-long experience, after all – and you’ll likely have a decent enough time with it.

The Plague Doctor of Wippra is available on Steam and GOG.

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