We Were Here Together Review
Developer/Publisher: Total Mayhem Games
Release: 10th October 2019
2 years ago I and a friend discovered a free, little indie game titled We Were Here. Centered around an asymmetrical riddle coop experience where both players don’t see the others screen but rather have to communicate what they see and figure out the puzzle’s solution by communicating. After the follow-up which was a step-up in pretty much every regard, a third installment now released a few days ago and certainly brings some new interesting ideas to the table.
Once again, We Were Here Together centers around two explorers getting trapped in the omnious castle. This time around though, there’s some more context with an introduction to their expedition camp and how they got there in general. While I initially thought the whole expedition idea would be used to vary the experience through other environments and maybe even a whole new main one, it’s used more as a lighter slide into the main dish: The castle itself.
Unfortunately, at this point, I kinda wished for more than just very familiar 3 hours in this castle I visited two times already. While Total Mayhem Games certainly tried mixing things up through new riddles and a bigger scope of them (sometimes mixing in 2-3 puzzles in one room) the core experience begins to feel a bit too familiar for me. Still, the core remains the same vera appealing coop experience known from the previous two games, at first glance.
However, there’s something at its core that kinda felt off during the whole playtime. While I and my friend loved both previous titles, there were some rougher spots in We Were Here Together we never quite had before. On the one hand, the bigger and sometimes more complex riddles like one about coordinating lifts are fun and more unique than everything before, we could never get into the same rhythm.
After some time, I think I figured out why exactly some puzzles tipple over themselves at times: For one, some of them, in particular the ones about communicating pictures or words to each other don’t nail this perfect balance between easy but hard to describe and hard and hard to describe. For example, a stupid picture is easy to discern but hard to describe, an intricate, detailed one is hard to make out and even harder to describe, leading to confusion way easier. Some of the here present puzzles, especially one later on, fall into this trap. As a result, We Were Here Together can be pretty frustrating from time to time on top of not really innovating the formula in meaningful ways.
So, what I took away from the 5 hours I and my friend spent with We Were Here Together. At it’s core it still features most of the basic puzzle designs, added some new ideas on top of that and also went a bit overboard here and there. I still don’t get why the “prologue-y” beginning was necessary but compared to many other coop adventures of this kind, it’s still the best one released this year.
[A Review Code was provided by Total Mayhem Games]