There’s a really enjoyable brain-teasing lilt to We Were Here Forever. A strictly two player co-op built around the idea that the two players are generally kept separate, you’re given different clues and pieces of the puzzle to figure out, passing information and instruction back and forth with the ever-present walkie-talkie in your character’s hand. If you’ve got a regular co-op buddy and a penchant for puzzle games, this will be right up your alley.
With this, the fourth game in the series, there’s a great understanding of how to construct puzzles with these core factors in mind. There’s often an element of progressing through the environment together, opening gates and doors for one another as you go, or guiding your partner from a distance thanks to having a greater understanding of the maze they are trapped within.
And clear and efficient communication is absolutely vital when you have to very regularly describe unusual shapes to one another, running them through simple codexes and ciphers to reveal an answer, creating a picture together, and more. Really, there’s a great inventiveness to many of the puzzles, some of which had me grabbing for pen and paper to take notes.
That’s where strict walkie-talkie discipline comes in vitally important. You can’t transmit and receive at the same time, with the only concession to letting you know that you’re talking over your buddy being that a little bulb will light up when you’re receiving. For the sake of efficiency, you’ll have to fall back on the tried and true practice of ending every transmission with “over.”
It’s clever and it’s effective… but it doesn’t half get to be wearing for anyone that’s more settled in modern party chats where you’re always on an open mic, or where push to talk doesn’t cut everyone else out. Given the mental hurdles we were already leaping through, it was far, far easier to just hop into a party chat and put our heads together instead of dealing with annoyance and frustration at ourselves. That’s perhaps less straightforward if you’re not on the same platform for voice chat, with We Were Here Forever featuring full cross-play and even cross-save.
Another part of why we ditched the radios was because of the game’s save system. Progress is saved for your player pair on an individual basis, backed up to Total Mayhem’s servers, whether you sign up for a cross-platform account or not. That would be perfect, were it not for checkpoints not being granular enough during the opening chapter, only coming at the end of full multi-stage puzzle sections. Butting heads up against a room-spinning puzzle for half an hour before discovering a second version of the idea right after it, we decided to call it a night there… only to discover we had to re-do the first of these puzzles. For people trying to play the game in 60 or 90 minute chunks at the end of the day, this was an unpleasant discovery, and gave us a deep mistrust of the game’s save system throughout.
There’s a nice story to uncover through the game, of the king’s betrayal, the people that chose to stand against him and the current plight that you face. It’s built into some of the puzzles quite nicely with familiar names and ideas giving some common ground through multiple chapters. If those details wash past you, then you’ll generally have some exposition to enjoy between chapters as well.