I have a friend named Fro who gets sent to these awful assignments in San Francisco as part of his work. While it majorly sucks that he’s sent there for weeks, it does make for some great Xbox Live playtime.
A few days ago, we thought we’d try out one of the games that was offered for free on Xbox Live Gold. It was titled We Were Here, and neither of us knew much about it except that it was an online co-op experience.
So, we both thought, ‘Why the hell not?’
What followed was the most enjoyable three hours I’ve ever spent playing a video game.
The controls are simple and easy to learn. The game is played in first person, so you have the typical configuration of right and left sticks controlling the camera and movement respectively. There are a crouch and a jump button, but since the game’s not a platformer, you don’t have to worry about those too much. A button to pick up items is the most important control, followed by the delightful walkie-talkie button.
That’s right, folks. The game insists that you abandon that Xbox Live party since the game’s in-chat system is an integral mechanic. The two players have to radio each other, using a bumper to pull up a radio that they speak into. Only one person can talk at a time, and in a game where the two of you are separated for the entirety of the game, communication is key.
In essence, We Were Here is a puzzle game. It was developed by Total Mayhem Games, and I’m so surprised no one else has struck the gold they did with this game concept. If I were to try and describe it in a single sentence, I’d say it’s an escape room in video game form.
One player is the explorer, and they have to make their way through a confusing and treacherous castle. The other player is the librarian, and they’re stuck in a room with charts, books, projectors, and paintings that can help the explorer on their journey.
Together, the two of you have to escape.
This game is absolutely delightful. I had a blast playing it, and I can’t say I’ve had the same experience while playing any other game.
It’s challenging, but not too hard, finding that perfect balance between testing your brain and breaking it. It really and truly relies on communication because the explorer and the librarian do not know what the other is seeing unless they’re told.
Fro and I actually had to say, “over” after we were done speaking so that we didn’t clog up the line of communication and speak over each other. And we really brushed up on our…describing skills.
Plus, the game has a touch of fright. When the explorer is in a certain area, some kind of monster haunts the hallways. Fro started flipping out over the walkie-talkie when he saw it, since he was the explorer, and I was just safely in my little library trying to help him out.
The ending to the game would be my only gripe, but I’m not going to say what it is so that I don’t spoil it for anyone. Let’s just say it leaves you thinking there’s more, when there isn’t. (Unless there is!)
We Were Here was perfect for a single sitting-game session. It’s available on Xbox and on PC. If you get it, I can guarantee you won’t regret it. Just be sure to play with a friend.
I rate We Were Here a play-with-a-person-you-know-and-can-joke-with-and-it-also-wouldn’t-hurt-if-they’re-on-the-intelligent-side.