The Waste Land – Review
Follow Genre: Action, Adventure, Indie, Metroidvania
Developer: Fledermaus
Publisher: Digital Tribe
Platforms: PC

The Waste Land – Review

Site Score
Good: 8-bit styled graphics, decent storyline, large variation of monsters and locations, open-world
Bad: No resolution or sound options to tinker with
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Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

The Waste Land is not the Wasteland that we know of, however it is yet another nostalgic title that will bring back fond memories of the golden years. The one-man developer studio Fledermaus gained inspiration for The Waste Land from the lengthy poem of the same name by T.S. Eliot and captured the despair from the poem perfectly in a well-crafted 8-bit styled world.

the waste land


As the game is deeply inspired by the feeling of despair from T.S. Eliot’s poem, so is the storyline. You play as King Zyron the Third, a great ruler of a vast land who has everything he ever wanted, including the thrill of the hunt. During one of his hunting trips, King Zyron the Third did something terrible and now his once beloved kingdom is in despair. He has failed himself and his people, now he must right his wrongs.


Many games are inspired by the 8-bit graphics that we grew up with in the 80s and often early 90s and The Waste Land is not an exception. While The Waste Land is inspired by T.S. Eliot’s poem of the same name, the visual design is inspired by Metroid and the Castlevania titles. This means that not only the graphics are inspired by these pixelated visuals but The Waste Land also has an open world that is often referred to as the Metroidvania styled open-world including day and night cycles that are inspired by the Castlevania series. All-in-all, the graphics alone bring back many great memories.

The interface menu is something entirely else although it remains to be subtle and fairly simple. However as we are in the modern world, one would expect some decent options to tinker with and these are non-existing. You cannot tinker with resolutions, sounds or control settings which has almost become a standard in the modern gaming – even if you do take the classic route. The user interface is just non-invasive to the rest of the visuals as the healthpool is represented by a simple white bar on the upper left of your screen.

the waste land scr01


The sound design in The Waste Land is as you would expect from a game that has taken the nostalgic retro route. The music is far from subtle and it does not help that you cannot turn it down in the main menu. However, if you are into the less-subtle arcade tunes from the golden years, you will end up finding the tunes rather catchy. The sound effects themselves are yet again not as subtle but clearly inspired by the old days – walking around in the forest will yield a sound that resembles a person walking on wooden board planks. The swinging of the sword is represented with a simple yet old-school styled “swoosh”.


The visual design in The Waste Land takes us back several years and the game controls continue this old-fashioned trend. Moving around is simply done with the arrow keys while X is for jumping. Shooting with the bow and arrow can be done by simply using the C-key while melee attacks are done with the Z-key. As the game has been developed in the modern age of gaming, you can use your controller but even here the game controls remain simple. The D-pad is for direction and the actions buttons are A, X, B and Y.

the waste land scr03

The Waste Land starts out quite simple with a small tutorial that teaches you a thing or two about the items that are scattered across the lands. Soon enough you will find yourself in the actual storyline, hunting down the monsters that now roam your precious lands. These monsters vary in design, sizes and abilities, providing enough variation of the gameplay to continue the game without boredom. The game requires you to explore an open-world which is not entirely linear. Revisiting locations you have visited before will make the previously slain monsters respawn but luckily these are dealt with rather easily. Along the way you will travel across towns that house some very interesting characters with each their own story to tell no matter how short it may be.

As there is a large variation of monsters in the game, there is also a small variation of equipment that you can have. These weapons, upgrades, secrets and bonuses can boosts your stats and abilities and can be found in the most hidden places of the lands. There are about ten weapons to be found, five swords and five arrow types, each having their own type of boost. Of course, the bow and arrow can reach enemies from a distance and is a far safer bet to survive but you must find these first and that is not an easy task on its own as the world is incredibly large. Luckily there are checkpoints scattered across the lands which also restores your health to full when you save the game.

the waste land scr02


The Waste Land is a perfect game to be blasted back into the past, almost Zelda-like in fact. The side-scrolling 2D 8-bit graphics are perfectly crafted in an open world with a storyline that is fairly attractive. With over fifteen hours worth of gameplay, you can’t go wrong with this title.

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Hi! I'm Jess and I’m a writer, dreamer and gamer at heart since the early ages. I primarily game on PC but occasionally also on PS4 and Xbox One. I have a tiny obsession for World of Warcraft and caterpillars but you may also claim I have a devoted passion for the gaming industry in general. If you want to hit me up, find me on twitter!

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