Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Oct 212019

Over the weekend, I played the side-scrolling horror adventure game Whispering Willows.

Whispering Willows puts you in the shoes of Elena Elkhorn, a girl who heads to the mysterious Willows Mansion after her father goes missing there.

She soon learns she is descended from a shaman who once lived in the area and has the ability to enter the spirit realm. This ability is a core part of the gameplay, because as you explore the mansion and its grounds, you’ll need to frequently leave your body behind to solve puzzles in areas you can’t reach.

Entering spirit form also gives you the ability to talk to ghosts, which sometimes just provides a bit more dialogue but often plays a role in the puzzles you must solve.

Numerous notes left behind by various characters flesh out the story of what happened in the mansion, and it really is a somber story. Once again, this is a horror story that ends up feeling more sad and haunting than anything else. Overall, I enjoyed it, although the final sequence feels a bit rushed.

Click for Whispering Willows spoilers
It felt to me like Wortham gave up a bit too quickly. I liked the idea of showing him how past events would have gone if he hadn’t reacted the way he did, but I thought some of those moments needed more weight, especially when he learned that Flying Hawk really would have helped him talk to his wife again.

He’d been built up throughout the story as the driving force behind all the terrible events there, so really having him see the consequences of his actions would have made the climax feel stronger.

Meanwhile, the gameplay is pretty solid. It’s simple and the puzzles are fairly easy, but it has that nice gameplay loop I like of getting keys to unlock doors and gradually being able to explore areas that were blocked off before. The final chapter had some frustrating parts, but not enough to damage my impression of the game.

I’m not sure I’d necessarily call Whispering Willows a horror game, but it’s certainly a spooky one that has its share of creepy moments.

So if you want a spooky game about ghosts, a haunted mansion, and the tragic events that occurred there, it’s worth giving Whispering Willows a try.

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  One Response to “Celebrating All Things Spooky: Whispering Willows”

  1. […] After a look at Dreamscaper, they showed Embr, a game about “uber firefighters” currently in Early Access. Next up was a multiplayer game called First Class Trouble and then a montage of games from Physicality Games. One of the games getting a physical release from them is Whispering Willows, which we discussed last year. […]

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