Review for We Were Here Forever
We Were Here Forever is the fourth outing in Total Mayhem Games’s two-player, first-person, co-op series. Puzzle repetition and a greater emphasis on the story make this the most extended entry. While the puzzle design is more uneven, there’s still lots of fun to share.
You and a friend assume the roles of two explorers garbed in head-to-toe arctic gear. You’ll work through dungeons, caverns crisscrossed by wood platforms, a graveyard, and a trip beneath the sea. One sequence places you inside a dodecahedron, whose different sides need to be navigated, though craning to look around may leave some players queasy. So too may the game’s default field of view, which makes movement floaty and distorted, though you can correct this in the game options.
The We Were Here series has always focused on co-op puzzles, which typically involve separating players so they must communicate verbally. This time, a good proportion of puzzles keep the players in the same space so both can see the elements in play. This diminishes the experience from previous games, as much of the fun before was in describing things like abstract pattern-matching symbols to one another. When players aren’t together, typically, one is the leader, and the other provides support. In several instances, the supporting player offers bits of information, then waits for the primary player to complete the challenge.
There’s a slavish adherence to doing puzzles in threes. When trapped inside the dodecahedron, both players have to look around to see each other and to be guided through doors connecting the sides to arrive at the exit. Then…players do it all over again. Then a third time. There are minor variations each pass, but the extra iterations felt like padding in the fourteen-hour playtime. In the latter third of the game, the adherence to threes becomes less obvious, and the puzzles vary more but are also easier. One timed section has both players scrambling and will be a barrier to completion for anyone who doesn’t enjoy such sequences.
Previously, only small story pieces between a king and his jester were present. Here, the history of these two antagonists is revealed. While detailing the past, events are set up for the future; though how you and your partner got involved isn’t explored.
Communicating can be done in-game via a pair of walkie-talkies. If these are used, only one player talks at a time. The system works, but my friend and I found using a third-party application to chat freely more engaging. The game has a rich soundscape. Gears grind, steam-powered machines whir, and there’s even a conversation with a Kraken, conducted in groans and whistles. While exhuming graves, one player can become haunted with eerie whispers you can’t quite discern.
Both players need their own copy of the game. If you want to play but have no one to join you, you can search for a public game or host your own. One caution is that players are immediately disconnected at the end of the game. If you want a post-game chat, be sure to have your partner’s contact details.
We Were Here Forever may not have as sharp a puzzle design as previous games, but it makes up for that by providing answers about the king and jester. It’s a fun way to pass the time with a friend, but players should count on multiple play sessions given their length. Those who enjoy communicating and aren’t opposed to timed elements will be well rewarded here.