Not often has a game featured late medieval medicine, an intriguing cast of characters and a plot riddled with suspense and history. Along came The Plague Doctor of Wippra featuring all of that in spades!
In The Plague Doctor of Wippra, you arrive in the sleepy medieval village as the replacement doctor, after the last one succumbed to the plague. As you go about your day, solving the medical problems of the inhabitants, you can form alliances, uncover the cause of this plague and escape accusations of heresy. There’s a lot going on for Doctor Oswald Keller!
The game plays as a traditional point-and-click adventure with an inventory system to collect items along the way. As you would expect, these objects will all become useful, from hints about treatments to make a lamp and far more. In some cases, like when making ointment, you must combine multiple items and even use them with objects in the world to complete the process. The level of depth here feels like a really solid process.
Where the dialogue and story are concerned is where this little indie really shines. From historical commentary on Martin Luther and how Germany dealt with the plague, to criticisms and racist remarks from the locals blaming a particular ethnicity. While historical in nature, it’s also a subtle indictment of events right now with reactions to the global pandemic. As you delve deeper into the story, events take a turn and you must stand up for yourself, and science.
Overall, the game is fun, say it is a little short and quite straightforward in terms of narrative direction.
Puzzles in The Plague Doctor of Wippra
The puzzles in this game take the form of medical treatments and the tasks you need to complete to be able to treat your patients. From creating a candle out of random items to see a patient better or treating a head wound with a silver coin. You even must scare a magpie away so you can use a feather to help you get some leeches. The puzzles are well thought out and what seems like an innocuous object will almost certainly have a part to play at some point.
Art and Sound of The Plague Doctor of Wippra
The music is the standout feature in the audio and visuals of the game. A beautiful score of strings and piano lent atmosphere, melancholy, and a small glimmer of hope in what would be a dire situation. Sadly, not present throughout, when it’s not there you do really notice it. Accompanying this wonderful score are the sound effects. While they don’t get used that often, the scene is really enhanced when they are. There are, on occasion, also differences depending on where you’re standing. This location-based approach to the sound helps them feel more real. For example, walking closer to a patient and making them groan more loudly.
Where the art is concerned, it’s a chunky pixel art that won’t necessarily appeal to everyone but don’t let it put you off. There is enough detail to enjoy the world of Wippra and the characters that inhabit it and being able to zoom in on certain things when needed (a patient’s head wound for example) really does add a lot. Even with the simplistic art I never felt like I was missing anything. I knew exactly what was going on.
The text is very clear in the game, which is appreciated as this is a point-and-click adventure. The game is also very text-heavy, so this was crucial and done well.
The Plague Doctor of Wippra is a clever critique of the global pandemic that hasn’t quite gone away, told through the lens of late medieval Germany dealing with the bubonic plague. At its’s surface though, it’s a great point-and-click adventure game with interesting dialogue, raised stakes, alternate endings and enough puzzles to feel satisfying. Sadly, it is on the short side and can be completed within a couple of hours. But it’s a couple of hours well spent.