Whispering Willows was shown at E3 this year. Are you up for solving this mystery?
During the Electronics and Entertainment Expo, I was able to stop by the Loot Interactive booth, which was a part of the IndieCade Independent developer’s portion of E3. One of the games Loot showed off at the convention was a horror game called Whispering Willows. The game is creepy yet fun but is it worth your time if you’re a PlayStation 4 owner?
Long story short, the mansion’s (one of the game’s locations) groundskeeper goes missing and it just so happens that the groundskeeper is your father. You play the role of Elena, who runs out of her home to the mansion to look for her father. When she gets there, she finds herself in the middle of a horror/mystery complete with ghosts and monsters.
You start out by finding the amulet and that lets you interact with the various spirits you’ll find over the course of the adventure. You have an “out of body experience” to interact with the spirits, possess different items like keys/knives to move them or to interact with spirits.
Elena isn’t able to see the spirits in her human form but the amulet will glow when you’re close to paranormal activity. The PlayStation 4 controller will glow the same color as the amulet and I thought that was a nice touch. It’s minor touches like that that show developers put the extra time into the project.
While you’re searching for your father, you’ll find notes at various points and locations that will tell the feud of the Kwantako Tribe and the White man. Flying Eagle, who is the first spirit you encounter in the game, is a member of the Kwantako Tribe. The notes feel like a loose telling of what actually happened between the Native Americans and the White man.
Whispering Willows tells the story in a chapter-by-chapter mode which works for the game. The game reminds me a lot of a point and click old school computer game, complete with inventory. That’s really the only similarities between old school computer game and new school. The game had a lot of backtracking and that gets old pretty quick. On the plus side, some games that have backtracking like this don’t usually have the ability to run. Whispering Willows doesn’t have that problem as you have the ability to run, outside.
You might not have the item you need to get further into the level and then you have to backtrack into another part of the level to find a shovel or a knife to cut weeds. If the items are small, like a key or knife, it can be hard to tell if you can interact with them in the environment.
The music and the graphics go perfect together as they both give the game that horror movie vibe. You can tell that right away when you’re crawling through the caves and catacombs and then you see blood on the wall. Monsters come out of nowhere at times as well and you have to think on your feet to deal with the situation because your human and one hit means that’s it. If you get hit, you’ll come back to where you last saved/last door you went in. When the monsters come out, that usually signals that you have done what was needed in the area.
You’ll interact with other spirits and those spirits will basically give you your missions for each chapter while you search for your father. During each new chapter, you’ll gain access to new areas in the compound/mansion like in chapter 3 when you gain access to the elevator. Mystery/horror games usually work like this where you advance over the course of the story.
Whispering Willows is a horror mystery game for the PlayStation 4 from Loot Entertainment. It’s plays like a classic point-and-click computer game and is just as challenging. The music and the graphics add to the creepiness and make you feel like you (as Elena) will never find your father. However, there is quite a lot of backtracking in the game, as you have to hit locations multiple times/locate items if you happen to not have it at the time. The negative points just slow the game down a little and for a “point-and-click” type game that’s slow anyway, that’s a little bit of a problem.
It’s these reasons that I’m giving Whispering Willows for the PS4 an 8.5 out of 10.
Score: 8.5 / 10