Since 2017, Dutch developer Total Mayhem Games has been quietly engaged on the We Were Here sequence, a trilogy of cooperative-only puzzle video games that places us within the footwear of two explorers who discover themselves trapped in castles, dungeons, snowstorms, deathtraps, and all different method of escape rooms. The entire trilogy is a bit uneven, however for essentially the most half they’re all fairly good, particularly since no different developer scratches this explicit asymmetrical co-op puzzle itch fairly just like the We Were Here sequence.
The newest, We Were Here Forever, is – to place it fairly merely – an absolute glow-up. It’s beautiful, with incredible artwork path that takes you from the acquainted citadel interiors to surreal dreamscapes, a spooky deserted village, and far, far more. There are important boundaries to beat to get essentially the most out of We Were Here Forever, not the least of that are having to purchase two $18 copies so you’ll be able to play with a like-minded good friend (sadly it’s not as beneficiant as Hazelight was with its co-op hits A Way Out and It Takes Two, which embody a free good friend go.) But in case you’re capable of hook in somebody who loves escape rooms and asymmetrical puzzles as a lot as you do, you’re each in for a co-op journey the likes of which I’ve not often seen.
We Were Here Forever locations you and your buddy into the boots of two anonymous explorers who, for untold causes, discover themselves locked inside sequence mainstay Castle Rock. There is an ongoing story connecting the We Were Here video games collectively, but it surely’s not required information to benefit from the self-contained plot of Forever, which itself is serviceable, however actually not the explanation anyone is right here.
We Were Here Forever, is – to place it fairly merely – an absolute glow-up.
It’s the puzzles that are the star of the show, and the ways that they manage to test the teamwork, observational skills, and communication of you and your partner are in a league of their own. I’d hate to even go into too much detail of individual examples or show too much of them out of fear of spoiling their solutions, but there’s a wonderful mix of navigational puzzles, where one person has to guide the other through a section using information only they have; symbol-recognition puzzles that force both of you to describe obscure symbols to each other in order to fulfill some sort of shared goal; asymmetrical races against the clock; tricky logic puzzles; and more. The list just goes on and on, with enough content that it took me and my partner around 12 hours to complete them all.
More often than not, you’re split up from your partner and have no frame of reference for what it is they’re seeing. This process of not only figuring out the useful information in your area, but then also piecing together how it interacts with what they’re seeing is just so uniquely satisfying. Every small breakthrough was something we celebrated, and when we finally got through a whole puzzle and were reunited there was genuine elation every time.
The puzzles are tough, but there’s always a logic to them.
It’s worth mentioning too that having a good partner is a necessity, and your mileage with We Were Here Forever may vary immensely based upon who you play it with. There is random matchmaking available, but that’s absolutely not the way to go here – I’d highly recommend playing through it with a good friend. Teamwork like this requires patience, persistence, and keen observation skills. There are also a bunch of fun opportunities to horse around, playfully troll your partner, and sometimes even do some good ol’ fashioned sabotage for a quick laugh, and those moments help add some much needed levity to a story that takes itself perhaps a bit too seriously. That’s great with a friend, but getting stuck with a bad actor partner by luck of the draw would give them a lot of opportunities to be obnoxious.
The puzzles are tough – there’s no getting around that – but there’s always a logic to them, and if you really hit a wall each person can call upon three hints per puzzle that each do a decent job of pushing you in the right direction. Even with those lifelines, though, expect to spend a good chunk of time bashing your head against the wall trying to figure out a solution. In a good way, I swear. Even the puzzles that we spent the longest amount of time trying to figure out had that “eureka” second that made all of it value it.