We Were Here is a free-to-play adventure, horror, puzzle. and escape game released in February 2017 by Total Mayhem Games.
The game is played like a live version of those point-and-click escape rooms we used to play when we were kids, but with a buddy. This game can only be played in co-op where you can either play with a friend or find rooms within the game to play with other strangers also looking for partners.
You can play either as the librarian or the explorer; either you’re the one spouting the needed information, or you’ll be the one doing the dirty work. You play in first person POV, with your partner out of sight. Your only means of communication is via walkie-talkie, and you won’t be able to talk at the same time so you’ll really have to know when to properly stop talking. There’s no problem with batteries, however in my playthrough I did encounter a problem where my walkie-talkie just didn’t let my partner speak — we ended up using Steam call which I found more helpful.
You are thrust into a whole lot of different rooms each with puzzles to be solved to be able to progress to the next room. If you think being the librarian is safer way out… well, you’ll see. Haha! The main concept really is you need each other to finish the game, and no one is exempt from any funny business. You can die in certain rooms if your partner or you don’t act fast enough. Another experience I had with the game is that I couldn’t complete a step for a puzzle in a certain room, and I died probably 4 times. It only worked once, but I still died and I had to switch with my partner. It was honestly very frustrating.
I was pleasantly surprised with We Were Here’s graphics. It was more than I expected because the trailer doesn’t really show these kinds of shots; I wasn’t sure how well it would be when you’re actually playing already. But as you see in the screen grab, that’s actually how it is in the game. It’s dark because you’re somehow stuck in a castle, but not so dark that seeing anything becomes a problem.
A lot of what’s in the game is really interesting and weird. I think they add weirder things to make it more difficult for players to describe. My favorite things I see around me are funny paintings of dogs. Since the graphics are also well-made and well-executed, this makes the dark theme menacing coupled with the sound design, and can really set the mood for the “horror” aspect. As I hate horror, this wasn’t so bad. At least, in my playthrough. If you watch my playthrough (below), you’ll see me freak out at certain things I notice in the game — some I’m sure are there and some I’m not sure if they’re just glitches. If you watch far enough, you’ll hear my friend Javvy freak about things I can’t see.
Really good sound design, and talking via walkie-talkie also emulates the sound as if using a walkie-talkie in real life. My favorite moment for the game audio is at this particular room where you arrange a play. I think the best way to know when a game has good sound design is when you don’t notice it’s there. I say that because if you really notice the sound (note, not music/soundtrack) then there’s something odd and unnatural about the sfx. For We Were Here, I felt like it was mixed properly and really complemented the graphics and vice versa.
We Were Here is a great game to exercise proper articulation, and identification of your own surroundings. Your fast action and memory is tested and is actually quite a pleasant if not pressuring experience that seems to force you to use skills you didn’t think you’d need to use. I suppose in a way the game really challenges the player’s privilege (having sight) and teamwork: how well you can describe something enough for someone that cannot see what you can to picture it in their minds. For two players in separate rooms to really be able to describe their needs and/or surroundings is quite a feat, but it becomes a bit hard to accomplish if the game bugs. I was lucky to play with someone who knew me personally than a stranger, otherwise it’d be more awkward and probably wouldn’t have been a pleasant play.
Rating: 7.5 / 10
Thanks to my cousin Tammy for telling me about this game! Watch my playthrough with my friend Javvy here:
The game’s sequel, We Were Here Too, comes out within the year! Watch out for it: