Whispering Willows Deluxe Edition
Third party DRM: SteamThis game requires a free Steam account to play.
"A horror/adventure puzzle game with an absolutely gorgeous aesthetic." - Kotaku.com
"If you are looking for something a little dark with paranormal undertones, you are going to like this game." - Alteredconfusion.com
Deluxe Edition includes:
Digital Art Book: A 56 page Digital Art book exploring the concepts and style used to create the art of Whispering Willows
Soundtrack: 10 Tracks of original music from Whispering Willows
Wallpaper: 1920x1280 Wallpaper of Elena Elkhorn
Young Elena Elkhorn embarks on a harrowing journey to find her missing father and discover the secrets of the Willows Mansion. Aiding her journey is a unique amulet, she received from her father, which allows her to astral project her spirit into a ghostly-realm and communicate with the dead. Play as Elena to find her missing father, use your astral projection to solves the mansion’s tricks and puzzles, help the lingering souls and discover so much more in Whispering Willows.
Immerse yourself in a beautifully hand-drawn 2-D world as you traverse the Mansion grounds
Allow the haunting music and chilling sound effects to send goosebumps across your neck.
Let the history of the Willows Mansion draw you into a plot full of twists and betrayal.
Explore the vast Mansion and unlock its puzzling secrets as you search for your missing Father.
Boring, old mechanics with a new coat of paint.Maghook | Aug. 2, 2014 | See all Maghook's reviews »
How can a game this day and age not support 16:10 resolutions? I have to play in windowed mode so the screen isn't distorted, which detracts from any immersion now that I can see everything on my desktop around the edges of the game. I tried to find a .ini file that would let me manually set the resolution but there doesn't seem to be an easy way around it. Going by the file structure it looks like this game was made in Unity, which should automatically support all common resolutions out of the box, I have no idea how the developer managed to impose such restrictions.
Entering and exiting a menu will restart the song playing on the main screen. Very jarring and sort of hilarious to hear the starting piano note "gong" constantly when changing the settings or reading notes. The cinematic before reaching the main menu is exactly the same as the cinematic when starting a new game, it's a silly bit of redundancy for those who like to sit and watch opening an cinematic in each of their games. You can use a controller but icons for the buttons continue to show up as a keyboard's bindings instead of a joypad's, this is another simple issue that could easily be fixed in the Unity engine.
The quality of the illustrations used are pretty high. Characters and backgrounds stand out quite nice, especially when the protagonist transforms into a spirit. The only downside is that the poor animation holds the game back. It seems like animations are running at 12 frames per second or less, typical for a cartoon like The Simpsons or Family Guy, but here they aren't as fluid or flexible. I'm reminded of point-and-click adventure games from the late '90s, but even then the movement of characters in games like The Curse of Monkey Island had some top notch animation despite being faced with limitations at the time.
The sound design leaves a lot to be desired. Flickering flames sound more like someone blowing softly into a microphone than crackling fire. Two or three types of footsteps and a droning, ambient soundtrack filled with tribal percussion and piano keys is all that you will hear for a significant portion of the game. Upon investigating an item the character will usually let out a strange sigh, whether it being one of relief or fear I can't quite tell.
Exploration is a chore, a tedium that should have been left back in the '90s. Every door you'll come across will be locked in some way or another, requiring you to move from room to room and location to location in the hopes that at least one of these doors you come across will be accessible. Then you'll find an item only to be forced to backtrack in order to open the first locked door, where you'll find another item that opens the fifth locked door, and then solve a puzzle that opens the third locked door. Repeat, ad nauseum. Madness.
There aren't enough opportunities that let you take advantage of the spiritual transformation mechanic. Its only purpose is to slow you down, whether through obfuscation or other means; there will be rooms with tiny holes that only your spirit can pass through but you'll have to keep a keen eye out as they're easy to walk past. Sometimes you'll use this power to speak with other spirits yet they generally won't divulge any beneficial clues or information that you couldn't have worked out yourself.
Whispering Willows is a slow and tiresome game to explore. It would have been better suited as a typical point-and-click adventure game, it certainly fits the mould so I am unsure as to why the developer chose the method that they did.