“We Were Here”, released February 3 of this year under publisher Total Mayhem Games, is a multiplayer game based around one’s ability to communicate their surroundings effectively. “We Were Here” is most similar to games “Amnesia: The Dark Descent” and “Myst,” popular horror games based around the idea of avoiding an unseeable monster while trying to escape a castle and figure out the mystery of why the player is trapped there. However, unlike those, “We Were Here” is completely free-to-play, and co-op play only.
The game’s basic story revolves around a pair of explorers in the Antarctic that happen upon a castle. Before the game starts, each player chooses a role, either Librarian or Explorer. The Librarian is trapped inside a smaller part of the castle, trying to figure out what various symbols mean and how to get their partner through the rest of the castle. The game gives each player a walkie-talkie, and this is the only way to describe one’s location and surroundings to the other. The Librarian has a key to complete the game, but no way to see what the other player is seeing.
The Explorer wanders through the rest of the castle, trying to locate their partner while communicating strange symbols and weird iconography. The Explorer unlocks rooms with certain actions, which also unlocks things on the Librarian’s part of the castle. While all of this is happening, the Explorer also feels as if something is coming after them because of both the soundtrack of the game and the noises that echo through the castle.
The biggest difference between this and other games is that the playing experience for each player is completely unique, meaning the game has a pretty high playthrough value. On top of this, the game will also be different with each partner one plays with, because though the game never changes, but the descriptions of the surroundings will. Even if you remember every solution (as can happen with puzzle games), the joy that comes with playing with a friend and watching them figure out how to play the game and navigate the rooms makes it worth playing again.
As of now, the game can be played either with or without a virtual reality headset, though either way requires a pretty hefty set-up in the actual computer for the recommended settings, as well as a microphone. The game only partially supports Xbox controllers, meaning that a keyboard is definitely the better option to play through this game with. The one major downside to “We Were Here” is the lack of save points, which means unless you have a couple hours to do nothing but play this game, you’ll have to restart it each time you come back.
Because it’s so new, “We Were Here” still has a lot of kinks to be ironed out, including the fact that only sometimes does the in-game walkie-talkie system work. However, between Discord and Steam Chat, this is resolved fairly easily. Despite all of of this, out of 507 reviews, “We Were Here” is ranked “Very Positive”, with 457 of those reviews being praise of the game’s unique features and play. The best part, however, is that the game is completely free. “We Were Here” is definitely worth a few hours of your time.