Co-op mode has been pervasive in video games for as long as we can remember, tracing back to the dawn of modern gaming back in the 80’s. Although there is a smattering of game titles that do this mode justice, cooperative modes often seem tacked on and insignificant. A lot of times a game’s design simply wasn’t built around the experience of multiple players. Not so much for We Were Here, an indie game by Total Mayhem Games that’s built around pure co-op and is not playable alone. While the game is rather short, clocking just over 40 minutes for us, it feels refreshing.
After connecting with a friend through a lobby (you can play with strangers, but a close friend is preferable) and watching a short cutscene where you and your friend travel through a snowy valley into an ominous looking building, the game sets you down into either a library or a medieval-looking dungeon. I say ‘either’ because you don’t actually start out together. You only get to meet up again at the very end of the game, and up until then, you’ll have to communicate through a walkie-talkie, guiding each other through a variety of puzzles looking to escape.
The beauty lies in miscommunication, the difficulty in communication truly creates a bond between players. If you start out in the library it’s your job to help the other player solve their puzzles so that person can, in turn, open doors for you to progress. Neither of you has all the pieces to the puzzle, so the game quickly turns into a game of 20 questions where you are both frantically describing your surroundings before one of you meets an unfortunate end.
Some of the puzzles are quite ingenious. They’re hard to describe without spoiling too much, but one puzzle has one player blindly grasping for levers that move theatrical set pieces on a stage in the other player’s world. That player has to listen to a narrator describing the story and communicate with the other player to move the set pieces in the right position throughout a five-act play. Be fast though, because a shadowy figure is moving up through the audience to kill you.
The back and forth puzzles between two players are fun and engaging. Too bad it doesn’t last too long because it’ll all be over in about 40 minutes. But it’s hard to fault the game for this since the game is free! Do you have a friend and some time to spare? Try out We Were Here!
EnomView Score: 8 out of 10
Check the game out: http://store.steampowered.com/app/582500/We_Were_Here/
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