There's something deeply satisfying about overcoming obstacles in games. In the case of We Were Here Too, this hits when tackling increasingly challenging puzzles that require great communication and coordination. The latest chapter in the We Were Here series takes the foundations set up in the prologue and builds upon them with new puzzles and more story. We Were Here Too is the official first chapter in this series by Total Mayhem Games. The game pits you and another player against a series of rooms and challenges designed to test your reasoning and communication skills. Following immediately after We Were Here, the free prequel, you and a partner are separated and left with nothing but a Walkie-Talkie to communicate your surroundings. This is your most important tool and the key to your survival.
Right away, stepping into this game rewards you with intricate and detailed surroundings that surpass the first. Suits of armor, lava, and a number of new scenarios offer great scenery as you search for a solution to each new challenge. Without a doubt, I spent more time than the last game just looking at what was around me, hoping to find some new clue etched into the wall or even something that would tell me about the strange castle I was in. What really stands out is that each room was definitely hand-crafted for the best experience and feel for players, and when the music comes on everything fits together like pieces of a puzzle.
That music fits right alongside the game's mood and aesthetic, offering a subtle but consistent backdrop that really immerses you into the world. Even the simplest actions, such as unlocking doors and solving puzzles, have the most positive ring to them, driving you to complete the next puzzle with as much excitement as the last. The music sets the stage for both a feeling of peace and urgency. It's subtle at times, but doesn't overwhelm you when it picks up. The score adds to the intensity of certain puzzles and makes others feel a bit more serene. Beyond the ambient noise and mechanisms sounding off, you're still left with just you and your partner. The intensity of feeling trapped in each room definitely increases when neither of you talks to fill that void.
One of the bigger changes from the prologue chapter is the deeper introduction of story elements. The narrative is woven in naturally as you play, which gives a great sense of worldbuilding. Many of the rooms in the castle contain diary entries from two mysterious former castle occupants. Detailing a tragic tale of love, loss, separation, and transformation, these entries give players a bit more information about both the castle and the rooms they're entering, using slight context that generally applies to the puzzle in front of you. While the story wasn't particularly abundant, it was enough to whet the appetite and paint a picture of events that made the castle's nooks and crannies worth exploring.
Speaking of the game's puzzles, We Were Here Too amps up the difficulty of these brain teasers. While many of the symbol and matching elements that were key to the puzzles in the prologue remained in this chapter, there were some new twists that made it more of a trial. Some really stumped my party for extended periods of time, proving that they aren't traditional puzzles. You and your partner are blind to what the other sees, and you'll use your words to explain what shapes, images, and items are around you. From there, it's a matter of piecing together what to do with what you've found and correctly interpreting how to use it.
As an example, there's a particular puzzle involving knights, swords, shields, and maces. An unsurprising mix considering your surroundings. However, each player will see very different things on their side and must explain in enough detail the arrangement of objects to achieve a winning result. How good are you at painting a picture of the similarly shaped weapons and shields you see for this particular challenge? Much like completing a jigsaw puzzle or finishing a particularly difficult math problem, there's delight when you escape a room that's trapped you. The game has enough trials in each room to keep you busy without confining you for extended periods. There's just the right balance of challenge and reward to make this fun for anyone who has friends they play games with due to their co-op nature.
Puzzles themselves can be demanding on their own, but what makes the We Were Here games stand apart is the fact that players are fully reliant upon their ability to communicate. You live and die by the effectiveness of your conversational skills. You can't see what they see, and they can't see what's around you. There is no combat, and you won't have any NPCs to guide your way, it's simply your group's wits and coordination from start to finish.
That simplicity is why We Were Here is a gem for anyone with a dedicated co-op partner. This game is guaranteed to test how well you play together. There's no extra fluff and the controls are simply made up of movement, interaction, and voice chat. This makes for an experience fully focused on you and your partner's actions and words. Despite all that, the game still felt a bit on the shorter side and left me wanting more. Beating the game in one sitting, we clocked in at around a completion time of about 2 hours, but I feel like we breezed through a lot of the harder puzzles because of how well my partner and I got along. It's possible the game runs much longer for others, but we also didn't get too creative with exploration or trying to find secrets. Instead, we opted to focus on the puzzles and exploring the rooms as best we could. I definitely want to go back and explore more, which is a great win for any game.
We Were Here Too Review | Final Thoughts
Communication is once again key in this well-crafted puzzle-adventure. New tests are on offer for players to solve together, and additional story bits whet the appetite for future chapters. While the content certainly feels light after a first playthrough, the ability to play both sides allows for new experiences, not to mention new puzzle configurations to work out with a friend or online stranger. For players that enjoy working together with a friend and the added challenge of being half-blind to a solution, this is a great game for you.
We Were Here Too was reviewed on PC via Steam with codes provided by Total Mayhem Games.
- Well-Crafted Puzzles
- Good Pacing
- Fantastic Audio/Visuals
- Short Without Multiple Playthroughs