25/10/2020

๐Ÿฅถ We Were Here Together | Review | XBOX | *A Co-Op Puzzler that you should definitely bring in from the cold* ๐Ÿฅถ @WeWereHereGame #IndieGames #GameDev

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Long-time readers of my articles will know that co-op gaming really lifts me into the sky on wings of sunshine and so, when I received a couple of review codes for We Were Here Together, a first-person puzzle adventure, I instantly roped my brother in for some co-operative gold.

Game Title: We Were Here Together

Platform Reviewed: Xbox One

Rating: ICE COOL 8

Initially set on an isolated Antarctic encampment, We Were Here Together puts you in the snow-filled shoes of a couple of explorers in a research station. Very much focused on on-line Co-op, this, the third entry in the series sees your silent protagonists trekking off and solving puzzles in a bid to ostensibly locate your missing colleagues.

The first thing that grabbed me was the art style, which had a real Sea of Thieves vibe about it and really sets the tone for the game in how it maintains light-heartedness despite the occasionally spooky and tense scenes presented. The audio was also a highlight as the ambient, hypnotic sounds really helped me focus as we wrapped our brains around the puzzles that made up the ten chapters of gameplay.

Whilst the in-game characters have colour-coded walkie-talkies, designed to be used in tandem with headsets to allow the players to converse during gameplay, my brother and I typically play with our phones in speaker mode so we didn’t use that particular setup, although it would definitely have been far more immersive, especially as you have to hold down a button in-game to talk, very nice touch.

The game initially begins at a log-cabin research station and the immediate surroundings, taking in some valve placement puzzles and a radio signal that needs to be decoded. It instantly requires you to constantly be in contact and work in tandem; I was also a fan of how these early puzzles fit in neatly with the narrative. 

I won’t go into too much depth in relation to the puzzles but I will say that the game takes a somewhat fantastical-supernatural turn (I haven’t played the other games in the series, so this could be a common theme, I would assume so) which takes away from the realism of the relatively grounded early puzzles and I must admit, I would have preferred the game to remain based firmly in reality, although that is very much just my personal preference. That said, it was so satisfying when we had our ‘Eureka!’ moments in some of the puzzles and I always find it exhilarating when the mental cogs are turning as each player describes what they can see and how it relates in context to the conundrums set before them.

There are some issues that I’d like to point out. Some of the puzzles can require note-taking and are quite lengthy, especially when mixing certain items and working out formulas, which is all fun and involving – but if a player loses network connection, the game just isn’t trustworthy upon reconnecting and we tended to just restart the chapter (there are no checkpoints) in case of the puzzle ‘breaking’. 

For example, there were two cases where we lost and then regained network connection, with the game continuing as if everything was fine but the synchronicity had been lost and it was only after wasting a good few minutes we noticed that the puzzle in play was unsolvable and would require a restart so please bear this in mind upon losing connection with each other (which thankfully, only happened a few times during our 5-6 hour playthrough. 

Also, as with all puzzle games, there are definitely some puzzles which are less fun than others, just hope your second player takes a shine to the ones that don’t grab you!

In summary, We Were Here Together is a fine example of a co-op puzzle adventure and will very much be up your strasse if this genre is your thing. 

Its accessibility and the fact it’s age-appropriate for all means that you can get the family involved as well. 

I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for future games in this genre and from this developer (Total Mayhem Games) although I would be intrigued to see a more grounded, possibly adult title in the genre as well. I’m a horror-head, mind you.

Right, I’m off to turn the heating up.

❄️ RATING: 8 ❄️

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