We live in a world where communicating in video games basically doesn’t exist. In recent years, online games don’t have many players chatting, an issue that drives me crazy. What makes We Were Here such an intriguing experience is that it requires players to talk to each other. Without communication, you simply cannot progress. So how does this cooperative, first-person puzzle game stack up among the rest? Let’s dive in.
We Were Here puts two players in the role of adventurers who find themselves trapped inside a massive labyrinth. When the journey starts, both players are in different rooms. With a walkie-talkie in hand, both players must communicate with each other to solve that room’s puzzle. We Were Here requires two people to play the game via Xbox Live, and you need to use in-game chat to talk. While my co-reviewer and I discovered after-the-fact that you can use party chat, it takes away from the intended experience that the developers envisioned.
Grab a buddy and play
One player is an explorer while the other is a librarian. I chose to be the explorer, and my friend took the role of the librarian. When we started, I picked up my walkie-talkie and walked aimlessly around the room, looking for a way to unlock the door in front of me. I saw runes and other symbols but didn’t know what they meant. Through communication, my partner told me what those runes meant, and helped me progress. By completing the puzzle, it opened the door for both of us and allowed us to continue. While the first few puzzles were simple, the challenge ramped up rather quickly. Communication is vital because it’s easy to get lost or die in certain rooms. We Were Here is in first-person, and is relatively simplistic in nature. You walk and look around with the sticks, and then use another button to interact with items. There aren’t many gameplay mechanics, but that’s not the point with We Were Here. The whole concept is working together with a friend, and that’s what makes it such an endearing game.
A sense of unease
There’s plenty of mystery in We Were Here. Why are you in this labyrinth? How did you become separated from each other? What secrets lie within the halls of the massive structure? These are answers you don’t find out, but not knowing anything about the surroundings left me nervous. It also doesn’t help that on multiple occasions, I saw something lurking around, which could not be confirmed because my partner and I were never together. We Were Here isn’t a scary game, but the uncertainty of not knowing what was around the next corner freaked me out a little.
It’s over before you know it
A positive and negative of We Were Here is that it’s not particularly long. We finished the game in a little over an hour, only struggling on two particular puzzles. The overall experience might take longer for other players, but great communication skills with your partner can yield quick results. We had no idea how long We Were Here was going into it, and once we were hooked, the credits started rolling. There wasn’t any hate towards the game, but I wish it would’ve lasted a little longer. There is replayability in terms of playing as the other role, but I’d advise doing that with a different partner since you’ll both know what to do if you experience We Were Here again with the same teammate. Additionally, since the puzzles are predetermined (with the exception of different rune variations), much of the charm and mystique don’t exist in new playthroughs.
Excited for the future
I thoroughly enjoyed my time with We Were Here. It’s a charming indie game that attempts to do something new with the puzzle genre. What I admire the most is that it required me to talk and work with someone to complete my objectives. I’m so used to playing games alone or being silent when playing with random people online. It’s because gamers don’t seem to want to talk to people anymore. We Were Here will be a test for some people because if you want to play, win, and move forward, you’ll have to start talking. The developers are prepping for a sequel that they announced after the credits, and if it’s as good as this game is, I can’t wait to dive back into that labyrinth with a friend again and solve some truly creative puzzles.