Photo above is property of Infinite Whys
Company: Infinite Whys
Game: Whispers in the West - "The Portrait" and "The Break-In"
Country: United Kingdom 🇬🇧
Language: English, German, Japanese, Spanish (Latin American), Spanish (Spain)
Type of Game: Video Escape Game 📱
Date Played: August 1, 2023
Difficulty (based on 4 players): 7/10
Size of Team: 2-4 Players
Time: 60 Mins. (Average)
Price: $6.00 USD for the game and 1 core mission, $25.00 USD for the game and all 6 missions
The small frontier town of Brimstone is once again in need of your help. Somebody has broken into the Brimstone Bank and stolen what looks like to be a mere handful of petty cash. Now why would they risk getting caught for just that? All you have is a handful of confounding facts, confusing evidence, and contradictory statements from the town's colorful cast of characters. What really happened here, what motives were at play, and who stood to gain?
Grab your posse and get to the work, use your unique abilities along with your powers of deduction to collectively decipher this well spun scenario. The clocks ticking, if we don't have an answer by the third day, we may never have one.
Video above is property of Infinite Whys
🆃🅷🅴 🅶🅰🅼🅴 🅿🅻🅰🆈
Howdy partner, somehow I've gotten myself into another cowboy themed game review, but I'm much obliged. Co-op mystery games are a rare but special breed, and Whispers in the West has done the beloved genre justice. It's a point and click side scrolling mystery game, set in a small town on the frontiers of the Old west. A place populated by bandits, drunks, charlatans, sinners, heathens and god fearing people alike, and a few honest people. Up to four players can play simultaneously, choosing one of four unique characters with unique special abilities that have the potential to unlock their own special information about the case. You witness the scenario, strategically coordinate your questioning of NPCs, use a system of presenting objects and other NPCs to elicit more information from NPCs, pin and share information, use your special abilities to uncover your own special bit of information, and scream theories at each other while chaotically running around the map in hopes of an answer before the very short clock runs out. The interactive phase of the game - as opposed to the straight deductive phase, given to you in intervals between days when you are given unlimited time to deliberate - is a fun mess of information collection and thinking on the fly, and is really the meat of the game. It is a matter of coordinating your investigative party alongside the narrative unfolding by your deductions and interactions, and if you've ever dealt with people before, you know how wonderfully enraging this can be. But that's the fun of coop games, trying to make it work. Time is limited (although you can set the time to unlimited), and the principle puzzle within the information gathering game is to use the bare information which with you are presented with through the scenario to direct your investigation in a way that utilizes the "presentation system" to connect the right person or object to the right NCP so as to elicit a new response and with it new information. If I present my sheriff's badge to the timid drifter he may feel compelled to give me new information he was otherwise reluctant to share with others, or if I ask the banker about the blacksmith he might reveal that the man is in fact heavily in debt. This system has the virtue of being active and easy to get into, so that everyone is free to pursue their own lines of questioning, but it is also hard in a fun way in that the mysteries are complex enough that it challenges the players to effectively coordinate their information gathering and deductive. The goal and the means are straightforward, but because of the time limit you generally cannot brute force your way to the right information, and so you will be frantically sharing and weaving your individual threads together in a way that is very nerve wracking but exciting. The unique powers highlight the diffusion of information and the need to communicate, which again accentuates the most fun aspect of the game: trying to get everyone to be on the same page. Honestly, the mechanic is well thought out and sets a standard for how a cooperative mystery games should be designed.
Photos above are property of Infinite Whys
You are presented with a scenario, but even through the process of information gathering, you will never be given a smoking gun per se. The presentation mechanic is the principle puzzle within the game, of connecting relevant persons and objects to persons for whom these objects might have a significance, and so potentially elicit a revelatory response. You are uncovering the web of connections which will eventually lead you - through proper deduction - to the one and only possible answer. Usually there is a bit of subtle direction included, meaning you can kind of read the characters and gain an idea of whether they are lying or not, which adds a bit of depth to the process of questioning. The scenarios themselves and the puzzles - well at least the scenarios I played - were really well thought out multi-layered, and offered a clever set of facts and narrative developments that were satisfying to work through. They were also very plausible without being obvious, which is all important to how a mystery is judged in the end.
Photos above are property of Infinite Whys
The games a blast, it's really a great format, it's well written, and it's only limited by the strength of the individual scenarios. I hope they keep supporting it, and add new mechanics and characters. The presentation mechanic, though shallow in ways, is relatively deep enough to make the core mechanic both challenging and rewarding, and the cases are well thought out enough to be deductively interesting. And the coop - many loving relationships will be tested as you try and work through these ones. But what's life without a little strife, life is confusion, communication, and this throws you right in the middle of that chaos. My biggest gripe with the game is the pricing, and the length of the missions, which if you split the cost it is reasonable - and i should mention only one of you needs to have the full game or mission for each of you to play it - but it feels like they got a little too smart for their own good with the pricing. They make the game cheap to buy and try the first scenario, which you would think then they would have a post buying the game bundle for those that liked it, but not so, if you don't buy the whole thing outright then adding scenarios looks to be quite expensive. It feels like a short sighted monetization scheme to squeeze players, and that also contradicts the logic of its introductory offer. But I digress! I present to you humble mystery gamer my own deduction: Coop mystery games are few and far between, this one is really well done and a lot of fun to play with friends and foe alike, so go out and try it.
(If you do decide to try this game, give us a shoutout or tag us on social media so we know you heard it from "ESCAPETHEROOMers"!)
Disclosure: We thank Infinite Whys for providing us with a sample of the game. Although a complimentary experience was generously provided, it does not impact our opinion on the review whatsoever.