We got off to a bit of a rocky start with We Were Here. 2 Players are required to even start the game, but technical issues meant we were struggling to get going. But, I was in it for the long haul and all I am going to say is I’m glad I waited. My play through was with our gracious leader Jamie (awww, shucks – Ed) and I think we both had the same thoughts and views on the game.
Developed by Total Mayhem Games, We Were Here at its core is a co op puzzle game with a little hint of horror. In this review I will avoid any hints or tips for puzzles, as it was quite an experience trying to figure them out with your co op partner. Be them very easy or sometimes terrifyingly hard (we shall get to the terrifying part later) the requirement of co-op adds a unique element to proceedings.
So you start of with being given the choice of playing as the explorer or the librarian. Both have very different roles throughout the experience to solve the puzzles. When you launch the title, you’re both put into completely different rooms and that is what made this such a fun experience. Not being able to see what your co op partner can required a whole new level of communication for me.
In order to communicate, We Were Here has a very interesting take on being able to talk with your co op partner, in the form of a walkie talkie! So you have to play the game not using any external voice chat, relying solely on the in game voice function via the walkie talkies. Chatting requires you to hold down a button to open comms – this also has the side effect of you both not being able to talk at the same time. It was fun not hearing your co op partner, the silence presumably meaning they were concentrating hard – until they figured out they were not holding down the button for the walkie talkie, leading to the oft heard ‘I’ve been talking for ages’ after they had realised. Looking at you gracious leader! (well, damn… – Ed) We did have a few issues with the comms though. Several times throughout our playthrough, the walkies abruptly stopped working. As you literally cannot play on without talking, we were forced to reboot the game each time. A fairly generous checkpointing system took some of the sting out of this, but obviously this is less than ideal.
The explorer starts off in a very small room with not much to go on. This is where communication is key. Jamie – as the explorer – needed to describe what he could can see accurately. As the Librarian, I soon got to work trying to match what he was saying to what was in my room. I initially found this role tough, so after little while we switched roles and played through with me being the explorer all the way through till the end.
The horror aspect of We Were Here started for me with a puzzle involving valves. I was seemingly locked in a room filling with water and for those who know me closely I have a irrational fear of being underwater or drowning. I am surprised Jamie still has ear drums after screaming into the walkie talkie what I could see if it was of any value to him with what he had in his room.
A few other bits make the game quite creepy too, with the maze puzzle having small jump scares and the audio adding a small feeling of suspense. At one point later on, Jamie had a fright of his own, with -and I quote -‘A scary floating crow man’ that gradually closed in on him while we tried to figure out a puzzle.While the creepy side of things never really pays off in a big way, there’s a constant sense of dread as you explore that really adds atmosphere.
Graphically this game is actually lovely to look at. The books you can interact with in the library to solve a puzzle later on have really clear text and react with shadows really nicely. There’s a slight pastel vibe to the art direction, which is great and everything has a nice sense of place within the world.
If you want a game you can play with a friend for a couple of hours, We Were Here really shines with is intricate puzzles. A few little hiccups here and there with not being able to hear each other aside, if you want a pick up and play co op game I would definitely recommend We Were Here. Doubly so, as it will be free on GwG by the time you read this.