Stephen Meyerink
E3 2015: Whispering Willows Hands-On Preview
Those are some pretty graphics.
06.27.15 - 7:06 PM

Indiecade at E3 2015 was, unsurprisingly, a hub of activity and crazy ideas and weird-looking games that piqued my interest as I tromped through on my way to see Night Light Interactive's LOOT-published Whispering Willows. Savvy adventure gamers will note that this is the same game which was successfully Kickstarted and released on Steam and Ouya, now coming to Playstation 4 and the Vita (remember the Vita?). I spent a fair chunk of time playing the game myself, and enjoyed it enough that I had to force myself to step away.

Whispering Willows

"Like hey Scoob! Check out this totally bogus ghost!" "RHOST?! REEHEEHEHE"

If you've played the PC or Ouya versions, you should know to expect a 2D sidescrolling point-and-click-like adventure in which your character, Elena, can project her consciousness into an incorporeal ghost form. Said ghost can possess and move objects, float through narrow passages, and interact with the forgotten dead. The puzzles I played through were clever and not obtuse, and as I searched the Willows Mansion for clues regarding Elena's lost father, I was pleased with the amount of freedom given to explore and solve problems at my own pace. On occasion, the hoodie-clad heroine would run afoul of restless and rage-y spirits, leading to some simple, but tense chase sequences. Failure, I was told, would result in death, something I think isn't used to great enough effect in modern adventure games, so that won a few points with my Sierra-heavy adventure gaming sensibilities.

The game's aesthetics worked well, with creepy ambient sound, somber music, smart use of dynamic lighting, and attractive hand-drawn artwork creating a real sense of atmosphere in the lonely mansion. If you're a fan of adventure gaming as I am and haven't already checked out the PC version, I'd recommend giving this one a whirl when it launches on PSN this summer.