Left to our own devices, with no landmarks or escape routes: the review of We Were Here Forever.
“One last attempt. We cannot give up now after all the progress we have made. A final, final stroke, there must be a solution to escape from this castle that wants to keep us locked up forever“.
Every evening spent in the company of We Were Here Forever – Fourth installment of the first-person series exclusively cooperative We Were Here developed by Dutch studio Total Mayhem Games, released a few months ago only on PC and now also on the Xbox and Playstation ecosystem – has turned out to be a pleasant torture, the effects of which befell me and my headphone buddy even after turning off the console.
I am on my way to work, and as I sit on the train, the puzzle that has remained unsolved and propaedeutic to continuing on to the next unexplored area comes knocking overwhelmingly at the door of my brain and begins to torment me again.
I thus begin to re-imagine the game environments and count the objects scattered around the room, which are essential for finding a solution to that damn mechanism that kept rotating last night without any logical sense. I then think back to the words of my companion-also stuck in another room next to mine-through which he tried to describe to me what he saw, what he could grasp, and what he could interact with to help me in the endeavor. By now, you may have realized something: We Were Here Forever had become my new obsession.
The power of words and imagination
To make it out alive from the castle diabolically devised by Total Mayhem Games, we need to be able to narrate everything we see on the screen, without taking anything for granted because the solution might be in that tiny, insignificant, almost imperceptible detail, like a guy’s hat painted on a picture.
Some puzzles are easily intuitive, while others could easily exceed half an hour, either because they are particularly complex or because they are linked together in a brilliantly brutal manner. Think of a Matryoshka doll: every time we lift one doll, there will be another ready to once again get in the way of our progression. However, the screams of satisfaction every time we smashed a porcelain doll into a thousand pieces proved to be fulfilling and liberating.
My companion, therefore, was away from me most of the time, and every interaction I had with my surroundings was often a help to him and vice versa, in scenarios that followed one another, changed among themselves twisting the gameplay.
Instead, in the rare cases when we were gathered, We Were Here Forever exploded into birdmanic sequence plans where each of our actions had to be perfectly coordinated to avoid repeating it all over again: pull that lever, then move over and activate the pendulum while I climb the stairs and turn that key with the ultimate goal of starting the prisoners’ escape protocol. All, masterfully illustrated by an old wall projector that played the actions to be performed, learned by heart after several failed attempts.
We had the temptation to look on the internet or to send us a picture on Whatsapp to make it easier for us to do so – the three clues suggested by the game in fact never helped – and yet, we always resisted the apple kindly offered by the snake, in the name of a superior video game gratification and all those battles we’ve fought together in fifteen years of Xbox adventures (want some more co-op games? Here five must-have games available on Xbox Game Pass).
I had never participated in an escape room in my life…well We Were Here Forever made me realize that maybe it’s time to fix that.