We Were Here Forever Review (PC)

We’ve been big fans of the We Were Here series ever since it debuted on Xbox back in 2019. The blend of asymmetrical co-op puzzles and challenges are pretty unique to the world of gaming, and developer Total Mayhem have outdone themselves each and every time with bigger and more elaborate puzzles and scenarios. This rings true of We Were Here Forever, with some of the toughest puzzles we’ve faced so far while also being some of the most inventive. It’s taken myself and Tavern member Graham a couple of months to find the time to fully beat it, but it’s safe to say we’re glad we did.

First things first, this is a co-op in totality. There’s no way to play solo, which is fine but it does mean that if your partner isn’t readily available then it could take a while to beat, as it did for us. However, the puzzle action is of such quality and fun that we jumped on the game every chance we got.

When we had time then, we were greeted with the aforementioned co-op puzzles that require team work and communication like almost no other game out there. For the most part, players are within the same room but separated by various means, be it a small moat, broken lift, or simply a blockade. Each side has only half of a solution to the puzzle, so both players must make use of the in game walkie talkies to first figure out the what the puzzle is, then how to put the two halves together to make a solution.

Get used to this view – we’re often just out of arms reach of each other, but this soon leads us down far more divergent paths

It’s a challenging set up that is compounded by the fact that both players can’t talk at the same time. Press the walkie talkie button and it prevents any incoming chat from the other side. Or worse still, give a detailed explanation of what we have on our side only to realise we didn’t press the button at all… I lost count of the amount of times both of us fell foul of these issues, but at the same time it makes the experience that much more fun, especially once we got the hang of our communication rhythm.

All this has been true of the WWH games before though, so if you’ve played previous entries you’ll be pleased to know that it’s in the actual puzzles that Total Mayhem have upped the ante this time, and to great effect. There are more areas where we’re physically together, though not for long, but the scenarios here are some of the best in the series yet.

One particularly memorable scene had us descend into the depths of an underwater area. Graham was within Bioshock style chambers all nice and safe (and dry) while I was trapped inside a Big Daddy-esque diving suit, complete with a rapidly depleting air supply. We had to figure out how to redirect air flow so I could explore further while also trying to open the doors to progress – and not run out of air in the process. Another tough one had us arranging mannequins in a church pew according to hints all around both of our sections. We did end up using a little luck more than judgement here, but this was a rare example of the puzzle being too obtuse for our liking. For the most part we were able to deduce the puzzle and solution after a short while.

One other slight hiccup were some puzzles forced us to watch a slow – and I mean slow – scene after a timer ran out. Fail a puzzle a few times in a row and we get the same slow scene again, despite us already knowing we’d failed. Granted, this wasn’t every time but there were a few times this happened and it definitely grated on us at points.

Despite early appearances, this is one of the easier puzzles in the game. Others more than make up for it though.

Actually pulling it off is another matter though. Again, communication is key, but a lot of the clues are visual and require deft explanation – something I’m not exactly the best at. Trying to explain a specific shape to Graham was an interesting exercise, almost like a Rorschach test. To me, it looks like an upside down hat with a straw in it – to him, an upside down lollipop. Which meant some of the time we’d be explaining the exact thing to each other and not getting anywhere. Again though, this is part of the charm of We Were Here Forever.

We were constantly surprised at how clever each new area was, and in one early session what began as maybe a 2 hour go ended up taking us through until gone 1am, roughly six hours later. It’s easy to get lost in the flow once the solutions start coming, and as soon as we saw a new area we just had to have a nosey around before turning the game off for the night.

Total Mayhem have imbued the series with some deep lore but I must admit that I’m not entirely sure I could recount exactly what happened in Forever. Granted, the sporadic play sessions didn’t help but we were so focused on the puzzles at hand that we didn’t really pay too much attention to the tale. That’s not to say its not worth listening to the interstitial cutscenes and the like, but for us, we’d often be chatting about the puzzles we’d just beat while these were going on, meaning we missed a far bit of the exposition. There is a wonderfully put together mini-series on their YouTube page that fills new players in though which is worth checking out.

Even as I write this I’m struck by just how many great moments we had playing this. I don’t want to spoil any more of the puzzles or hint at solutions but I can’t think of one that we really didn’t enjoy. Of course, having a great excuse to play with a friend is always nice but when the game in question is of this high quality then it makes those evenings even more enjoyable.

Conclusion

The We Were Here series is in a class of its own, and Forever is the best entry yet. Grab a buddy and get ready to test both your brains over about 15 hours of gameplay that constantly impresses and brings new things to the table.

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This game was tested and reviewed on PC (via Steam). All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by the publisher.
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Good
  • Fantastic puzzle scenarios
  • Co-op experience is essential to the game
Bad
  • A couple of difficulty spikes
  • Story fell flat for us
9
Excellent
Written by
I've been gaming since Spy vs Spy on the Master System, growing up as a Sega kid before realising the joy of multi-platform gaming. These days I can mostly be found on smaller indie titles, the occasional big RPG and doing poorly at Rainbow Six: Siege. Gamertag: Enaksan

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