2010 (SE 2014)
The Whispered World is another Daedalic adventure game. So far it’s probably the least favourite of mine, but that does not mean it’s bad at all. It’s a very charming and funny game, and definitely worth playing for any old school adventure fan. The game tells a story of Sadwick, the depressed clown who has dreams (premonitions?) about the end of the world. He has a lovely little sidekick: a caterpillar named Spot, and together they start an adventure to find more about Sadwick’s dreams.
It can quite easily be deduced that the game is set in a fantasy world – which has weird creatures, magic and talking rocks. And of course evil that wants to conquer everything. The world is pretty interesting and I like the main duo. Sadwick’s depressed tone manages to be quite funny most of the time. Spot is my favourite though, the little creature could easily carry a game of its own. But in TWW it’s already been used very inventively in puzzles (with its several different forms), including a short moment in the last chapter, where the player controls Spot alone. It’s one my favourite parts of the game.
Sadwick really loves Spot and their friendship is one of the most touching things in the game. He still has a habit of criticising the poor creature a lot, but those moments usually end up being funny. There are many other colourful characters in the game, but I never cared for them as much as I did for Sadwick and Spot. They usually are very sidelined characters that appear just in one chapter anyway.
Each of the chapters take place in a different environment, which splits the game into a nice separate parts. And while I really appreciate the abundance and complexity of the puzzles and all interactable items, they can easily overwhelm a player. One does not know what needs to be explored to advance in the plot. On the other hand, just trying everything to everything is rarely as fun as it is in this game. The player should not forget to try all the items with Spot, as well as talk to the caterpillar now and then.
The whole conversation goes like this:
“Why do you have a globe when there’s no way to get off this island?”
“Just to depress curious clowns.”
“…It sure works well.”
In a way the plot of the game is very cliched “save the fantasy world” but the protagonist’s attitude and the whole premise of dreaming about him actually being the destroyer instead of the savior makes the plot a bit more interesting. But the road to the end is pretty long, perhaps even a bit too long. The last chapter, where the end is imminent and things are finally happening really grabs the player in, but in many occasions being stuck with a puzzle along the way dampened my enthusiasm to get back to the game. I did have a few weeks pause on chapter three. And there are a couple of purely annoying puzzles in the game too.
The art of the game is very beautiful, and the sound world works very well too. I know some people really hate some of the voice acting – especially Sadwick’s English voice. I don’t mind it at all, but I played the game with the original German speech and English subtitles anyway. The Special Edition I played had “an alternate ending” which is basically just an easter egg, but I don’t want to talk about the ending as it is rather impossible to say anything without spoiling it. SE also has achievements, commentary (which I didn’t use because it was my first playthrough) and some fixed graphics. In my opinion nothing really important. The game is usually super cheap in almost every GOG or Steam seasonal sale, costing like 2-5 euros, so it’s definitely worth that, unless one really dislikes the genre or setting.
I really loved the relationship between Spot and Sadwick too…. I found the ending so sad in relation to Spot but I completely agree that the bit where you controlled Spot was the most fun. I wish they’d bring out a game just about him!
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