We Were Here Too is the most recent title developed and published by Total Mayhem Games which hit Steam February 2, 2018. The title is the immediate successor to the studios free-to-play title similarly named We Were Here (EN: How original). Both titles throw in an additional challenge to the puzzle in that the player doesn’t have all the clues in front of them and instead is reliant on a voice on the other end of the walkie-talkie. In the game, you’ll be saddled up with another player: in fact, it’s a requirement.
As you jump into the story, you find yourselves lost in a blizzard and come along a very convenient but conspicuous shelter.
A giant castle looms most uninvitingly, but when you compare it to freezing to death, what could it hurt? As you enter the castle, it’s very apparent that it was a terrible decision, and since you’re already heading down the path of appalling choices, you may as well split up. I mean, you have walkie-talkies, after all. It turns out you’re not great at making intelligent decisions, but it will put you in a fantastic position to make a game out of it!
Throughout the castle, each player is confronted with information to help the other, or objects with which to interact. While the puzzles themselves are not all that complicated, the primary struggle you will deal with is communication issues. Giving robust descriptions on both sides is key to forming the correct mental image and, once that happens, most of the puzzles become incredibly easy. We Were Here Too adds to this communication challenge by using a pair of the world's oldest walkie-talkies — which doesn’t support full duplex, which means only one player can talk at any given time. You’ll know that your partner is trying to speak by an incandescent bulb on the top of the radios. In which case you’re required to let off of the button to hear them.
Every puzzle is put together logically and is far from impossible. However, similar to other recent puzzlers, like Keep Talking, and Nobody Explodes, communication can be much more difficult when the time is running short, and your life is on the line. When you’re in danger of falling into pits of lava, which is surprisingly close to the surface for the frozen wasteland outside the castle, or moving walls about to crush you, it will get your mouth moving faster than your brain, and that lack of details will surely be your downfall. Not to worry — there’s a checkpoint system in place, so you don't have to start from the very beginning.
As mentioned above, the game requires multiplayer, so your options are to find a friend or search for a lobby with a random player. Total Mayhem does this exceptionally well. Getting into games with a steam friend and using the voice chat was flawless even before the official launch date. They’ve also thought far enough ahead to give you the ability to set your language and be able to search for players with rooms created in that language, as you can imagine a language discrepancy would make for a very short, or an excruciatingly long playthrough. Total Mayhem understood their scope of players and planned their technology accordingly, and it went off without a hitch, and we’ve all experienced when the opposite is true.
Avoiding this pitfall bodes incredibly well for the developers.
External appearances would suggest this an incredibly large castle, filled with elaborate traps and systems to unlock doors, ornate stained glass, and the occasional specter. However, it doesn’t take a tremendous amount of time to traverse the construction. The first playthrough seems to be around three hours or so. After the initial run, while the sequences and objects change (generally similar), so future plays will be quite a bit quicker. It will be interesting to see the number of permutations available then watch people do speed runs through this labyrinth. You’ll likely play it at least twice because if you miss something the first time, you’ll be forced to sacrifice one player for the safety of another… or both starve together… likely one will die first leading the other to cannibalism only to die alone and starving anyway.
The Verdict: Great
The primary focus of We Were Here Too is the difficulty of communicating the puzzles and the co-op gameplay, and Total Mayhem excelled in this regard. The choice of music went from eerie music complimenting the atmosphere to intense moments moved to an intriguing decision to play light rock music, which is meant to amp up the intensity — but it’s difficult to tell if it’s really in balance. As you release the button of the radio, there is a pleasing squawk, but no additional filters have been added to the voice audio which sounds just like a steam call, which takes away from a bit from the immersion but may help with clarity of communication. Ultimately, it’s hard enough to describe everything without the additional hassle of being able to understand your counterpart.