“We Were Here Too” is a two player co-operative puzzle game which centres on the effective use of teamwork, observation and communication. The game is set in an ancient castle filled with puzzles which stand in the way of your escape. In order to progress you must make use of a two-way radio to contact your partner and give them information or instructions which will be vital to your progression. ”We Were Here Too” is a standalone sequel to the free-to-play game “We Were Here”, which was also brought to us by the Total Mayhem Games’ studio, and shares the same gameplay style.
Before beginning your adventure you and your partner must first decide who is to take on the role of the “Peasant” and who the “Lord”. The role chosen directly affects how you experience the game as each partner will have their own unique adventure which intertwines at points throughout the play through. This adds an element of replay value which is otherwise totally unexpected in a puzzle game. We are accustomed to the fact that once you know the solution there is little challenge in the puzzle however, this does not always apply. As each role has a unique play through you will find that upon completing your first you are keen to experience it from the other side. In comparison to a traditional puzzle game “We Were Here Too” does things differently and instead of focusing on the puzzles themselves much of the challenge of the game revolves around the communication between the two players. The effectiveness of one partner to describe a symbol or explain what exactly they can see within their room can directly influence the other player’s ability to solve the puzzle. This is further compounded in time based tasks where tensions are high and your effective communication can mean the life or death of your partner. In many ways this makes “We Were Here Too” similar to “Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes”, another co-operative puzzle game which shares many of the same challenges and ideas.
One of the challenges I experienced with my partner was the traditional walkie-talkie scenario whereby if you are transmitting you cannot also be receiving. This meant that while my friend was talking to me I was unable to transmit to him until he had finished. Based on the problems caused by this, we adopted the popular use of the word “OVER” to signify the end of a transmission. Although I can without a doubt say I felt a bit stupid every time I said it, it certainly solved our problem.
The use of music and sound do a great job of immersing you in the game and even add further challenge to the experience. For example, there are moments where operating mechanisms are loud enough that they can mask your partner’s voice leading to further communication mishaps. Most notable of all is the use of music in puzzles which are time based. As you attempt to solve the puzzles the soundtrack changes over time to reflect the increased urgency and how much time you have remaining.
The background story is loosely fed to the player through the use of the introductory video and in-game books which can be read. The story itself is loosely linked to that of the original “We Were Here” however it is in no means necessary to play “We Were Here Too”. The books themselves feature hand written fonts which I found to range from barely legible to completely unreadable in the worst cases and unfortunately lead to me ignoring them completely. I’m not sure if this was a conscious decision by the developers or not however this limiting of access to the background story certainly gave me a negative impression.
Moreover, in terms of replay ability I found that although the majority of puzzles feature a randomised element this does not seem apparent for them all. Either that or the number of different solutions to a puzzle is simply not high enough. This meant that after our second or third play through me and my partner were able to remember some puzzle solutions from memory therefore defeating the need for back and forth communication. Overall as a puzzle game it does better than most in terms of replay value however I feel that it could have been executed better.
In conclusion, “We Were Here Too” is a great example of how co-operative puzzle games can work if executed well. Although it borrows some ideas from games such as “Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes” it is overall a unique experience which is both enjoyable and intriguing. However the games’ main shortcoming is that of playtime. In comparison to the original free-to-play game “We Were Here”, it is in no way significantly longer and so brings questions about its price point. Despite this I would still recommend the game to those of you who have played the original and enjoyed it, and for those who haven’t grab a partner and give it a go for free before making your decision.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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