Interact with the spirits of the dead, solve the puzzles of the mysterious mansion and help Elena find her missing father in the horror/adventure puzzle game: Whispering Willows.
User reviews: Very Positive (140 reviews)
Release Date: Jul 9, 2014

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Recommended By Curators

"I would therefore sooner recommend the game to inexperienced puzzlers and those looking for a good story about Native American folklore."
Read the full review here.

Recent updates View all (9)

October 29

Game Connection Europe!

Whispering Willows has been nominated for three awards- Best Downloadable Game, Casual Game, and Story Telling at Game Connection Europe!

In light of these nominations we decided to have a sale and what better time than Halloween! Whispering Willows and the Deluxe Edition are 33%-66% off until November 4th!

1 comments Read more

October 16

Walk Speed Increased- Patch 1.2

We were getting a lot of comments on how players wanted Elena to be faster (and the pace of the game) even after we added running outside, so we increased her walk speed by 50%! This should be a noticeable difference, let us know what you think.

We also fixed quite a few lingering bugs in this build. I hope you enjoy!

Patch Notes:

  • Increased Elena's walk speed by 50%
  • Fixed a bug that occurred while holding space and forward- Elena would "stutter walk"
  • When entering Catacombs, Elena will appear closer to the base of the stairs
  • Added a glow to when Elena is scared walking, so you can see how close she is to the creatures (especially helpful in the Trophy Room inside the Mansion)
  • Fixed a bug where you could get multiple Small Keys from the Conservatory
  • Fixed a bug where in the dream sequences, pushing Q while possessing an object would make Elena disappear (as if the game tried to return to her human body). You'd be forced to quit and start over.
  • Added Unity logo to intro because we appreciate the things they do for us ːCatacombSkullː

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Reviews

“A horror/adventure puzzle game with an absolutely gorgeous aesthetic.”
Kotaku

“If you are looking for something a little dark with paranormal undertones, you are going to like this game.”
8.5/10 – Altered Confusion

“Steam users have a delightful adventure game to look forward to.”
8/10 – Noob Feed

About This Game

Young Elena Elkhorn embarks on a harrowing journey to find her missing father and discover the secrets of the Willows Mansion. Aiding her journey is a unique amulet, she received from her father, which allows her to astral project her spirit into a ghostly-realm and communicate with the dead. Play as Elena to find her missing father, use your astral projection to solves the mansion’s tricks and puzzles, help the lingering souls and discover so much more in Whispering Willows.

Game Features

  • Immerse yourself in a beautifully hand-drawn 2-D world as you traverse the Mansion grounds
  • Allow the haunting music and chilling sound effects to send goosebumps across your neck.
  • Let the history of the Willows Mansion draw you into a plot full of twists and betrayal.
  • Explore the vast Mansion and unlock its puzzling secrets as you search for your missing Father.

Deluxe Edition includes:

  • Digital Art Book - A 56 page Digital Art book exploring the concepts and style used to create the art of Whispering Willows
  • Soundtrack - 10 Tracks of original music from Whispering Willows
  • Wallpaper - 1920x1280 Wallpaper of Elena Elkhorn

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows 7
    • Processor: 2 cpus 2.3 Ghz to 2.69 Ghz
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4000 or higher
    • Hard Drive: 3 GB available space
    Minimum:
    • OS: 10.7 or higher
    • Processor: 2 cpus 2.3 Ghz to 2.69 Ghz
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4000 or higher
    • Hard Drive: 3 GB available space
    Minimum:
    • Processor: 2 cpus 2.3 Ghz to 2.69 Ghz
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4000 or higher
    • Hard Drive: 3 GB available space
Helpful customer reviews
89 of 107 people (83%) found this review helpful
4.3 hrs on record
Posted: July 9
Games like this are hard to judge on face value alone. When you take more common, action oriented titles, it can be easier to tell from just a minute or two of uninterrupted gameplay footage if a game is going to be worth your time or not. But slower paced, narrative focused titles, like Whispering Willows, are considerably harder to figure out from just viewing a short trailer. Games like this are driven by their quality of narrative and puzzle design. Does the crisp and whimsical imagery evident in WW’s screenshots affirm a similarly elegant literary and brain teasing experience? Unfortunately, no, not even close. But Whispering Willows is still an endearing first effort by fledgling studio Night Light Interactive, even with the game’s numerous flaws. In fact, it’s more what the game doesn’t try to do that is most disheartening.

I’ll begin with the most egregious error this game makes: the quality of narrative. The story is thus: young Elena’s father has gone missing, and has been for some time. After waking from a particularly vivid nightmare of her father being held captive by something, she races to an old, decrepit mansion, of which her father is the groundskeeper. She soon meets the ghost of her ancestor, who teaches her of her heritage, and of her innate ability to leave her body and walk the earth as a spirit, allowing her to commune with the ghosts of those who have yet to pass. What follows is a supernatural tale of loss, deceit and the darkness that festers within.

In truth, the narrative plays out like cross between a darker Goosebumps tale with bits of Clive Barker’s grotesque imagery. This is partly due to the art style; it just doesn’t convey feelings of foreboding and fearfulness that I believe the narrative wants to. Worse, the story takes virtually no risks. But what really hurts the experience is the quality of the dialogue. Throughout the adventure, you will speak with the deceased, and often be asked to find items of importance to them to progress through the story. The dialogue that occurs here is just, well… the best thing I can call it would be, “serviceable”. The dialogue is so often uninspired and plain that it would keep me from really caring for any of the characters’ plights.

I feel I’ve spoken enough on the negatives of the narrative, so let’s move on to the disappointment of the game’s main mechanic, your spirit form, and the weak puzzle design dependent on it. The lack of pluralization is not a mistake, Whispering Willows’ mechanic of Elena’s spirit form most often offers only a single type of puzzle throughout the game. You will come across locked doors, and you will either need to pick up a poorly hidden key or flip a switch. Usually, this means that there is a finely carved, perfectly square hole in the wall or ceiling near to you for your spirit form to slink through. Do so, and there will be a bright blue glowing thing for you to interact with. This interaction opens the door. This is how nearly every “puzzle” in WW plays out. I can only think of a handful of individual puzzles that do not play out in the same way, though they themselves were no more complex than filling a hole or playing Simon Says with a moveable object. The simple puzzle design falls in line with the game’s progression; it’s largely linear, with nary a handful of instances where you will have to seek out an item outside of the area you’re already in. Even then, though, the item’s location is always spelled out for you, so this is really no more than a mode of adding longevity to this short adventure. And it is short. In total, I completed the game in under three hours.

Whew, that was a lot of negativity. How about we move on to the more positive aspects of Willows? Speaking purely of the in-game graphics and art style, my opinion is decidedly varied. On one hand, the environments that you explore never amount to anything special, and much like the dialogue, they are content with remaining largely serviceable. The same can be said for the few human characters in-game, who, along with some stilted animations, look oddly plain. This is in stark contrast to my favorite portion of the game, the ghost designs. Their visages reflect how they died, and their appearances range from the grotesque to cringe inducing. Their designs are absolutely phenomenal, and it’s evident where the best of the artistic talent went in the creation of this game. The same can be said for Elena’s own spirit form, whose flowing hair and glowing visage look fantastic, especially in the light of the full moon in outdoor areas.

While the dialogue between yourself and haunting spirits itself does the overall narrative little favor, your interactions with the ghosts of the mansion’s grounds are enriched by the previously mentioned collectible notes scattered along your path throughout the game. Each is one of several diary entries left by the formerly living, and each tells a tale of their final days. While few of them are terribly unique in their subject matter, finding that final piece of each story provided me a greater driving force for playing than the main narrative itself.

As negative as this review has been, the greatest fault I can levy against this game is not what it does poorly, but rather in what it does not even attempt to do. Given all that has already been done with a similar ability in other games, why is Elena’s spirit walking ability as limited as it is? The game is content with delivering only the most lackluster and plain variation possible. And the dialogue... in an adventure title such as this, gameplay often takes a backseat to the narrative. Only, in this case, both aspects are severely limited in their designs. If the sole gameplay mechanic is to be as limited as it is, why was the dialogue not given greater love, to compensate? The game is so filled with potential, and occasionally, this potential appears as though it’s so near to bubbling to the surface, only to be pushed back down below by weak interactions and the umpteenth recycled door “puzzle”.

I did not hate my time with Whispering Willows. Though admittedly, my want to love it so completely has perhaps made me more critical of its faults. I’ll leave it at this: Whispering Willows, for all of its promise, is content with providing only an unenthusiastic effort on its part. For every glimmer of something fresh and unique, of which there are a few, Willows buries it under less-than-uninspired dialogue and consistently recycled puzzle design. I beat the game, with all of my fumbling, in under three hours. By the end, my only thoughts were on what could have been, had this game taken just a little more risk, rather than on my final moments with Elena. There just isn’t enough content or thought put into Whispering Willows to make it fully recommendable.

6.5/10
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34 of 42 people (81%) found this review helpful
4.1 hrs on record
Posted: July 13
Whispering Willows is a side-scrolling adventure game where you play a girl named Elena who's gone to an old abandoned mansion to find her missing dad. She quickly discovers this place has a thin veil between our world and the spirit world, and with a special necklace, can part her soul from her body and rejoin them again. With her newfound supernatural powers, she goes to find her dad and learn the history of the estate.

Gameplay is pretty simple, you walk around, observe and occasionally interact with objects, find items, and open doors. Your amulet begins to glow when near spiritual energy, in which case you press a button and you let your soul be free. Your soul can't interact with most real world objects, but can see ghost and talk with them, and turn into a tiny flame to fit into cracks. You can also possess blue glowing objects to interact with them. There's a few puzzles, and occasionally some threat appears, in which case all you can do is avoid them and run.

It's got some interesting concepts, but honestly I felt a lot of its ideas were severely underplayed. Your ghost powers are cool, but they feel really underutilized and lack any real form of challenge, except in like one occasion. There's enemies, but they're so few and far between, and most of them are easily avoided and are hardly threatening, except on a single occasion. And the game does this with almost all of its elements. It has like one moment that's kind of unique and interesting and somewhat challenging, but then that's it, it doesn't continue to build on its interesting concepts, it sort of sits on what it's comfortable with. It really left me with a feeling that I wished the game would of been more daring.

There's very few puzzles, and the only sort of challenging ones are at the very end. There's horror 'moments', but there's only really one scene that's even kind of creepy. I don't know, maybe I'm being too hard on it, but I was left with wanting the game to be more than it was at the end.

What the game is as opposed to what I want it to be is a very pretty fetch-quest game where you go back and forth between locations collecting items.

And it does look very pretty. Some nice lighting effects, matched with textured objects, unique rooms, interesting sights... It's really a visual treat. The style the game has is definitely its best element, and the number of varied locations were nice to look at.

The sound is good too. Music is appropriate with a few very pretty tracks, the game is not fully voiced but the character groans and sounds worked well with the game, and they had some good ambient sounds in the environment.

The game also did an interesting job at delving into Native American folklore, which was interesting to see unfold through the course of the game.

But honestly, outside of this, I don't have much to say on the game. It was not really remarkable to me, there were periods I felt the game was just a bit dull. The threats are hardly threatening, made even less threatening on the off-chance you die that you'll start-up almost immediately where you were as this game throws checkpoints up the wazoo. The puzzles were always the kind where the solution was right next to where the puzzle actually was, the ghost are nothing more but flavor text NPC's. And the story just felt very tried and not at all remarkable, with obvious developments and an almost cheesy climax and resolution. I mean it's not inherently a bad thing and there's nothing wrong with the game, but it just is way too safe. Outside of its very interesting aesthetic look and pretty decent sound design, there's nothing remarkable about the game, it really feels like a good engine and concept wasted on a rather cookie-cutter game.

I'm disappointed with it, but it's not a bad game. It has some interesting ideas, and has a good feel to it as you go through worn-down environments, and I'd say worth a play if you really like its style and don't mind a rather routine and simplified adventure game around its style. But that's what it is at the end of the day, and it's a game I don't think I want to go back too, or will remember a month from now.
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22 of 25 people (88%) found this review helpful
7.1 hrs on record
Posted: October 6
Whispering Willow is a Very story-rich ( good tag indeed ) 2D Creepy game, Noticed how I said creepy because it is but not sure if it falls under the category of "Horror" for reasons i will discuss in this review

The game sucks you into this deep dark cold atmosphere I actually felt a cold breeze when the character gets cold, The art is done so beautifully it gives the game that feeling of success and the soundtracks are great.

It took me 6 hours to finish the game with 100% achievements probably could'v done it faster , I would say the game goes around 5 hours or so, and it has no replay value pretty much a one-time deal BUT that does not make it a bad game,

Other than the amazing atmosphere it leaves you in , Whispering Willow succeed greatly in the story , all the notes and diaries are well-thought and it seems like it was supervised by a professional author because it is well-put indeed, deep meanings and nice choice of words.

The animations are great I'm not that crazy about the Elena's voice and reactions to objects though.

All those saying this is a Hard puzzling adventure horror , To be honest the puzzles in this game are really easy, it highlights the object you're supposed to move, and uses common sense to know where to put it at next
The reason why i am not calling this a horror game, because they outdone it with the atmosphere BUT forgot the usual jump-scares, Yeah us gamers complain when we see a horror game with constant jump-scares because thats not what horror games are about, But this game really needs some ( in the entire game i had only one ) and thats bad, I kept expecting some but never saw any, and with that set atmosphere it creates unpredictable jump-scares so they should'v used that to make the game much more exciting and alive but its sad that they didn't.

The idea of leaving your body as a soul to do things your body cant is refreshing, though it can be a bit annoying because its not as fast as you'd expect it to be, Same for no-running indoors ... its frustrating but you get used to it, i was hoping for parts where you have to run from monsters or hurry up to get to a place by running but running is restricted only to outdoors, and when you press the sprint button indoors the character breaks 4th wall and says "uh-uh" annoying lol ...

have that said the game does keep its spooky elements, and piecing the stories together with the notes, the character design , the backgrounds the lightning effects, all so wonderful 10/10

So TL;DR
( Its a Spooky 2d game, lasts about 5 hours maybe 6 for full game, beautiful story, great artwork, and great gameplay, but dont expect jump-scares because the game don't do that )

-Pros
1 - Graphics , artwork , style , Atmosphere, Soundtracks, Animations, and effects
2 - Gameplay, Story, Character designs, And levels

Cons
1 - It did not place jump-scares which are a good element in horror games and would'v worked perfectly in this game.
2 - Sometimes i feel that the game is kinda slow because of the ( no indoor running )
3 - The fact that the game went on 2 Bundles ( groupees and blink bundle ) and both bundles were less than 5$ because i guess they didn't make enough sales ? They could'v just reduced the game's price to 9,99$ and do a 33% sale or something to do it


So basically I would recommend this game on full price but since I did not get it on full price so I wont, its your choice to do it I already did my best explaining what this game is about and the gameplay hours if you're fast enough, Don't get me wrong support devs is something we all love but it kinda bums me out when people buy a game on full price and a few days later it goes on a bundle for 10% of the price that also has a lot of other games.
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22 of 26 people (85%) found this review helpful
13.0 hrs on record
Posted: September 17
This was a surprisingly fun and polished adventure game. I wasn't expecting a lot from it when I picked it up in a recent bundle, but I thoroughly enjoyed it all the way through. It has a very polished feel to it with a lot of good going for it from its art style, musical score, sound effects, game mechanics, and even has quite a bit of humor.

It is tagged as a “horror” game, but really it falls more into the supernatural experience than true horror storytelling. While there are elements of creepiness and some scares, it is more of an uneasy feeling of dealing with ghosts and spirits than monsters. There are a couple of instances where you will be shocked, or surprised by events that creep up on you forcing you to run away from danger, but overall the atmosphere is more of a haunted house feel. The music is atmospheric to a spooky story, and fits well with old mansions and graveyards. The music is quite good overall, and mixed with some eerie sound effects you will feel some uneasiness while wandering around the game.

The game is focused on telling a story of a young girl who cannot find her father. She goes looking for him and ends up at an old mansion where it seems an old rich guy who was a mayor and founder of his town used to live and get up to some nefarious practices. Things look abandoned and filled with secrets as all the people that once resided here are long gone. You are introduced to an array of characters through notes you pick up, as well as a neat mechanic that you get almost immediately. You gain an amulet that allows you to switch to your spirit form and this form is the only way you can solve certain puzzles, or interact with other spirits you will come into contact with. You won't likely miss these as the amulet will glow and make a sound when you are near an instance that requires the swap. This is explained in a way that you are part of an Indian ancestry and that you are in a place where spirituality and otherworldly events seem to be more common. I found the story and presentation well done for the majority of the game. While there was almost no voice acting in the game you got a lot of lore for the people in it through messages you find in notes and diary entries, as well as conversations with spirits that appear as a bubble above their heads. These are all short conversations so not having a voice actor for this is no big deal. I didn't find the lack of voice acting to be a negative at all for the presentation. The girl you control does make some noises and sounds when she looks at certain things, or does certain actions at times. Even laughing at weird scenes and the like so there is some of that. The game isn't fully voiced so you will have to read a little bit at times, but never an excessive amount of more than a couple paragraphs at once in a diary entry. The ending may have been a little weak, but the journey to get there was fun and enjoyable so I still was pleased with the story overall.

The art style is well done. It reminds me of the comic book style you see in a game like Mark of the Ninja, except this is darker and more geared towards those old 1800s mansions with the background settings. The gameplay is certainly nothing like Mark of the Ninja, but the graphical style absolutely is similar. It is a 2D side scroller that will have you walking outdoors, or inside mansions and other old time grounds of a mansion like the gardens, catacombs, and guest homes. While indoors you can see a couple of floors at a time, but your room is highlighted and lit up while the other rooms are either completely dark, or just dark enough to where you can see their outlines. This too is very much like how the settings in Mark of the Ninja looked.

As mentioned earlier in the story section, you get the mechanic of turning into a spirit, which is necessary to solve certain puzzles. The way this is used makes the game pretty fun to solve these puzzles even though the puzzles themselves are very easy. You will have to use the spirit to go through walls and small cracks that you couldn’t get through yourself to pull a lever, you may have to use the spirit to possess an object so that you can move it and open a new path for you to continue, you may need it to deal with finding areas you can't find by reading hidden messages with the spirit form. While the puzzles in general were very easy throughout the game, I found the mechanics of getting around and the cleverness of using these mechanics fun. I enjoyed seeing how they would be used and it lead me to strange ways to enter and gain access to ares that seemed to be blocked before.

Although this is considered a horror/supernatural tale, there is good amount of humor in the game. Some is clever, some very corny, and a fair bit of puns are used. The humor was fun and gave me a few chuckles as I played with there begin many instances of a dark humor to lighten the mood at times. Toss in a lttle bit of "cuteness" too and you have a little bit more appeal to the ladies probably than guys besides just the main character being a female.

I would recommend this game to most adventure fans that are interested in a casual and fun experience. Normally I would want a game that is deeper meaning and serious, but I just found this game to be fun to play, cute, and well made. Lovely art style, great music and sound effects, quite a few laughs, fun mechanics in dealing with puzzles, and just a generally polished experience.

The negatives, and things I would like to see in future games from this developer would be more in depth and difficult puzzles and the possible addition of voice-acting. Another negative and something to be aware of is that during cut scenes, the game will SKIP them if you press ANY key on your keyboard. So taking a screenshot with F12 will skip the cut scene and you most likely will not be able to go back to a save before this as this has auto-saves. Also, the automatic save system with no ability to go back, like I mentioned with skipping a cut scene by pressing F12 is a must to change for future releases. Otherwise I was very satisfied with the game, and recommend it.

8/10

The game works perfectly fine with the Xbox 360 Gamepad I used, including on menus (which is what FULL controller support means), so this is definitely a Big Picture game you can use from the couch.

Game has Trading Cards and Achievements. Achievements are fairly easy to get with about 14/20 being story related and the other 6 being things you may want to look up before you play so that you can get them all in one playthrough.
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47 of 73 people (64%) found this review helpful
5.3 hrs on record
Posted: July 9
It’s an odd feeling to be drawn into an experience designed to haunt you in as beautiful and elegant a way as Whispered Willows. The exquisite hand drawn art combined with a dark, supernatural overtone almost seems to jump out of the screen toward you, rattling your bones but demanding your attention. Dig a bit deeper though, it becomes rather apparent that Night Light Interactive’s ghost story relies quite a bit more than it should on smoke and mirrors, eschewing compelling mechanics for comparable but uninspired design, which is less a disappointment because the end result is a menagerie of excellent and mediocre components, and more because of what it could have been.

Elena Elkhorn is a rather troubled young girl. Plagued by visions of her missing father, she embarks to the Willows Mansion in hopes of finding and saving him from the horrors she sees in her dreams. As it would happen, the lands the mansion are built upon exude a powerful spiritual energy, which Elena has the power to control through her family’s amulet, allowing her to project her spirit out of her body to help her on her way. Doing so quickly unveils that the mansion has a dark history, that only the spirits of the dead can still recount.

If this sounds a bit haphazardly contrived and thrown together, it’s because Whispering Willows does about as good a job introducing its characters and plot as I just attempted to. Vast portions of the narrative are taken without question or explanation, told through brief exchanges in dialog that fail entirely at turning any character into anything but a blank slate intended to advance the plot, or allowing the narrative to grow past the predictable first layer. It feels rushed and thoughtless at the best of times, and painfully written at the worst (which the cheeseball of an ending would be part of), like a book that’s had all but the most crucial parts removed.

Contrasting this though (and making the previous paragraph all the more complexing), is the rich backstory presented in the notes you find scattered throughout the grounds. Written mostly in the form of diary entries, they do far more to flesh out the story than anything of the dialog, creating a series of interconnected tales that all eventually fold into the present day. They are also responsible in invoking the surprisingly sinister nature of the plot, which begins as little more than a depressing history lesson but evolves to a supernatural downward spiral of one man’s grief and his tireless determination to remove it, whatever the cost.

As you make your way through the grounds of the mansion (and eventually venture inside), Elena’s power to enter spirit form come into play for more than talking to ghosts, allowing you to posses certain objects and move them from afar. It’s a mechanic with great potential, but I was a tad disappointed that for being a large part of the narrative, it’s used sparingly during actual navigation and puzzle solving. Whispering Willows also suffers a great deal from including far too much “dead space”, which is to say rooms and environments that serve no purpose but to turn you around and pad out the experience. They also caused me to get lost on a continuous basis, as with no hint or objective system there is little in the way of player direction.

Whispering Willows’s biggest asset by far is its mesmerizing art design, gorgeously hand drawn and filled with character. It sets the tone for the experience while leaving enough color and childlike charm to keep from crushing you under the weight of its own wickedness. Some animations are clumsier than they could have been, and the cutscenes unfortunately plagued by slowdown (hopefully a bug that will soon be patched), but otherwise I was enthralled by the vivid look of the game and desperately hope any future projects by the developers will continue to use it.

Whispering Willows is a flawed experience salvaged partially by the character present in its art design and lore. The conflicting qualities of its parts result in an uneven but not entirely worthless adventure, but one in dire need of polish and a better editor to scrape it all together into something more cohesive. I enjoyed my time at Willows Mansion, but find it difficult to recommend with sincerity to another. It has me hopeful for what the developer does next, but not entirely sure they accomplished much with their first attempt.

Full disclosure: Whispering Willows was reviewed using a copy of the game provided by the developer.
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29 of 43 people (67%) found this review helpful
2.0 hrs on record
Posted: July 8
First impressions are here.
I cover what's postive/negative about the game. Short version: It's a beautiful game that plays somewhat unintuitively, with simple mechanics. Its horror slant is certainly lacking, but that doesn't necessarily detract from the game. All-in-all, an impressive first effort, hope to see some better mechanics the next time around (assuming Night Light goes on to other proects).
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21 of 29 people (72%) found this review helpful
3.8 hrs on record
Posted: July 9
Graphically I have to say that this game looked amazing, the level of detail that was put into this game, and the art style seemed to fit the game perfectly. They also were able to make you feel and see that something has corrupted this place. I also have to say that the spirit form in this game looked right out of a top notch comic book. Actually all the art could have come straight out of a comic book. I was also impressed with the use of doors that either brought you into a room in front or behind you. This made the at times very slow pace of the game bearable.

The sounds in the game definitely gave off the vibes of horror game. I do wish that the characters were voiced. I think that would have added a little something extra and pulled the gamer in that much more.

Alright so lets talk game here, as you might have noticed I already made mention of the slow pace of the game, you are going to be walking the entire time. There is a time for running but it happens in such a small part of the game that you are going to wish you could do that elsewhere. I enjoyed the twists and turns in the story and the puzzles that had to be solved with the assistance of the ghosts that you could interact with when in spirit form. I also appreciated the fact that the puzzle aspect of the game required the spirit form to make things interesting.

Now the problem with this game comes in the form of if you ever get lost or perhaps missed something big in the game, you are going to wander around, and when you do that you are going to do that in a walking form, so if you ever have a moment of clarity when you remember where you are headed you might find yourself having to do some serious backtracking/walking to get there which can definitely hurt the gaming experience. At the same time, though, if the running mechanism was in the game there's definitely a chance that you are going to miss something, either a spirit you might want to talk to or extreme danger.

One thing that I did appreciate about this game was that there were several layers to it. If you really didn't care about the story, it wasn't going to slap you constantly in the face, you could just look for the keywords in the conversations and then move on. If you were looking for an in-depth experience you could have this as well with the notes and letters lying around the game that gave you more information on the characters and the setting. There's also the middle of the road approach where you can get the story and you don't have to read those extras you find throughout the game.

This game definitely is not for everyone. There's a couple little glitches in the game when it comes to interacting with the actual mansion and triggering the chapter titles even when you are in a different chapter, but overall you're going to find a very solid game. If you are looking for something a little dark with paranormal undertones, you are going to like this game. Now there might be times where you are going to get frustrated with the walking everywhere, but if you stick with it you will find a solid game in the end. So after making it through this entire game I have to say that it deserves an 10 out of 10 from me.
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16 of 20 people (80%) found this review helpful
6.6 hrs on record
Posted: July 10
Recommended - Puzzle platformers and horror games are both genres that come a dime a dozen these days, but if you can set aside your prejudices and accept some of the rough edges that come with indie games in the genre, Whispering Willows is an easy sleeper hit. It doesn't break the mold, but what it does do, and do very well, is draw you along a compelling story.

Full review is available here
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12 of 13 people (92%) found this review helpful
3.9 hrs on record
Posted: August 25
Whispering Willows is a side-scrolling adventure. It does have its horror elements (and a few "EEK!" moments) but overall this is a game of exploration and story-discovery.

Options include choice of Controls (I used the default), separate sliders for Sound Effects and Music, a slider for brightness (so we can choose how environmentally dark we want it!), Language, Fullscreen/Windowed, Screen Resolution, and Graphics Quality.

All of the controls are given to you as you play but I'll list them here for you, anyway. ;) The default controls are as follows: Arrow keys or W-A-S-D for movement, E for Inventory, Q to switch to your astral form, Esc. for Menu or Cancel, and Space or Enter to interact with things.

Since the gameplay is exploration-based, the devs chose not to add a running ability... but they changed their minds after getting feedback from the fans. You can run when you are OUTSIDE ONLY by holding down the Shift key.

You CAN miss things if you don't take the time to explore everywhere -- don't make assumptions that what looks like a dead-end is *actually* a dead-end! For the most part, you won't be able to miss things, however. Any time your character touches something important, you'll get a pop-up at the top of the screen telling you to hit the Space key to pick it up, possess it, move it, or whatever interaction is necessary at the time. You can look at your inventory at any time, but you don't actually need to -- all inventory items are automatically used when you need them.

The story is told via notes and letters that you find as you explore. I recommend reading them immediately, and you can do so by hitting the Esc key when you find them (the game will tell you that every time you find one of them :p ) If you're not sure which character wrote the letter, just hit the Esc key -- you'll see the newest note's name highlighted. ie. William Wortham 3/15.

As you explore you will discover and -- in your spectral form -- be able to talk to the many ghosts that populate the grounds, as well as "possess" items for a short time and squeeze through small openings. Although these openings have little sparkles around them, I *still* managed to miss a couple. Another way to notice those small areas is to switch to your spirit form. When you get near one, you'll switch from your full-form to a little bluish flame.

So how do you know when to switch forms? You are wearing an amulet, and when it starts to glow, you know that you are getting near a ghost. Otherwise, you just need to keep an eye out for small spaces, and things that don't quite look right.

You might think that being a side-scroller, there would not be much depth to your environment, and you'd be wrong. ;) There are multiple layers to every area you visit, not just "front" and "behind". My preferred method of play is to fully explore an area before going through any doors or going up/down stairs, but that's not necessarily what works best in this case. 'Nuff said.

You CAN die in a few spots, but luckily you won't have to re-do much, as the automatic saves are well-spaced. Survival is not dependent on reflexes, it's all about patience and/or moving your character to the right place.

Overall, I enjoyed the game, and think it was definitely worth playing.
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12 of 13 people (92%) found this review helpful
3.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 23
Whispering Willows is described as horror/adventure puzzle game. Let me break down single genres.

Horror - i can´t fully agree with this tag. I know horror is wide term, and it shelters a lot of subgenres, but WW doesn't feel horrory enough for me. I am horror junkie, i watch horror movies since i was 9 years old, i played some horror games in my life as well. WW is more mysterious, and some freaky ghost won´t made this even little scary.

Adventure - i might go with it. You are basically on the quest to save your father from grasp of evil spirit, so adventure is quite adequate.

Puzzle - yes we have some puzzles here, and because i am dumb as pile of bricks (also i played after night shift) i had some troubles to follow even the easiest puzzles, and most of them are not so hard to solve. Just pay attention to details, and hooray.

So for me WW is more mystery/adventure puzzle game.

In terms of technical aspects, i really can´t speak about major flaws.
I really like visual side of game, cut scenes might have been slightly better (it is just nitpicking don't bother).
Sound and music on high level and probably my favourite aspect of game.
Length of 3 hours is appropriate and i think i would get bored if i should play for 1-2 hours more.

And finally story. I seriously enjoy storytelling. I may not read all journal pages, but i felt people who made WW really put their focus and effort to present this twisted story as interesting as they could. Elene with my lead found out, what story is behind gigantic mansion, what happened to residents, and of course what happened to her dad. I like pace of storyline until the very end, when it all goes gooey and mushy.

Overall Whispering Willows is game you can enjoy. It has great elements, and what matters most is your taste about some particular things.

8/10
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12 of 13 people (92%) found this review helpful
1.6 hrs on record
Posted: September 25
I give it a 10/10 Great storyline and fun puzzles totally worth the price. Im glad i bought it.
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14 of 17 people (82%) found this review helpful
3.3 hrs on record
Posted: September 3
Whispering Willows is a shallow game both in terms of story and gameplay. The shallowness is eerily reminiscent of Atari's Haunted House. The game makes a fizzling attempt at being scary/creepy. The few puzzles the game offers require zero cranial activity. The main character may have been improved by utilizing a stronger personality, but with the limited story elements it probably wouldn't have mattered.

The character movement is unnecessarily slow. As I progressed further in the game, this slowness eventually started giving me a feeling of "God, hurry up and end." Being able to run outside was nice, but the slow pace inside seems to be the result of a developer looking to extend an already short game. You know a game has issues when it tries its hardest to make you not want to finish it. And yet sometimes I amaze myself at my persistence, or maybe I'm mistaking that for stubbornness.
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20 of 28 people (71%) found this review helpful
2.2 hrs on record
Posted: July 9
Great Detailed storyline.Great puzzles and well worth the price :D Glad to have it as a new addition to my steam library.


8/10

-bit slow movement speed..can get a bit annoying
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10 of 10 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.1 hrs on record
Posted: October 26
In Whispering Willows you play the role of a girl running out of the house to an ancient mansion. See, her dad vanished there, so she wants to find him. Mum doesn’t, if the intro is to be believed, and wants her to stay home.

Our intrepid heroine has but to find her father and avoid all the cleverly placed sinkholes around th- ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥it woman!

So, we start off in the crypt after taking an unrelated fall. The uniqueness of the game lies in the fact that you can tear out your own spirit with the aid of a shamanistic artefact and fly around outside of your body, to get into small rooms and the like.

The goal, then, becomes to use your spirit for to ghost around, do ghostly things, meet ghostly people, and ghost with them.

Oh, and save your dad and escape the mansion from death hell. And probably apologise to mum, who’s perhaps a bit miffed now.

The graphics are good, the sound design is competent, and the gameplay’s uniqueness makes it a lot of fun.

Recommended!

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=332299095
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13 of 16 people (81%) found this review helpful
4.5 hrs on record
Posted: July 31
EDIT: Finished the game in less than 5 hours. Review is now updated.

I was interested in this game because of the beautiful graphics and its horror setting. But while the storyline was quite dark, there's not much 'horror' in it. Finished it in less than 5 hours but I spent a lot of time wandering around just to see what I missed to get to the end of the chapter. It might take less time if Elena could run.

+ Beautiful graphics
+ Easy puzzles
+ Suitable soundtrack
+ Good premise / story
+ Loved the notes that tell the back-stories. Wish we could read more about the other ghosts.
+ Loved the idea that Elena has a spirit form that can solve some of the puzzles for her.

- No map. A map would really be useful in this game, made too many wrong turns (or doors) when I back-tracked to try to get to an intended room.
- Elena walked soooo slowly that it annoyed the hell out of me. I was bored while waiting for her to get from point A to point B.
- Repetitive. It seemed like all I had to do was to pick up notes (a lot of them too) and talk to ghosts.
- A lot of ghosts with some back stories but most of the were not memorable.
- I wished that Elena would have a weapon to protect herself with against threats. I mean, she has powers, she should be able to do more.
- Anti-climatic ending. At the end of the game, I was like, "That's it?!?!"
- There's a windowed mode, but you can't click or alt-tab to desktop while in-game (linux - Ubuntu 12.04).

(updated) In short: I kinda like it. It started off slow but it has a nice story progression. I was annoyed with the pace and the ending but I did enjoy the game. Recommended if you like puzzle games. It might be too slow for those who don't.

On Ubuntu 12.04.
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10 of 11 people (91%) found this review helpful
3.9 hrs on record
Posted: August 8
I do enjoy my puzzle games, But i was getting kinda stale on the same old puzzlers with no story. I never heard anyone mention or play this game So i am fortunate to have found it. Its a pretty calm game that has a spooky side with spirits. Its adorable and touching with superb visuals, This is just what i've been in the mood for.
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17 of 24 people (71%) found this review helpful
4.0 hrs on record
Posted: July 14
Whispering Willows is a beautiful game. Unfortunately, it's true only if you use 'beautiful' as a word for 'very pretty' or 'extremely pleasant to look at'.
The gameplay and puzzles are repetitive and boring. The story and writing are mediocre. You're looking at, give or take, 3 hours of walking past gorgeous backgrounds, listening to a decent soundtrack, doing same things over and over, solving a few childishly easy puzzles, dying maybe 2-4 times, hardly ever getting scared or actually caring about any of the characters.
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8 of 8 people (100%) found this review helpful
4.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 12
+Beautiful art style
+Asmospheric
+Engaging story

-Lacking proper controller prompt
-Indoor walking speed is too slow (fixed in patch 1.2)
-Limited variety of puzzles

9/10 (old score: 8/10). Satisfied Kickstater backer. Please consider releasing it on GOG.com.
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10 of 12 people (83%) found this review helpful
5.4 hrs on record
Posted: July 29
Whispering Willows is a charming side-scrolling adventure. Even though it's a short and overpriced title, it still manages to please the customer. 15$ for a 5 hour game with no replay value is a bit too pricey in my opinion, 10$ would have been more than enough, but anyway, it's not for me to judge. Still i would recommend purchasing it on sale.

You'll love the beautiful artwork. The story feels compelling enough, and the soundtrack & noises convey the spooky atmosphere fairly well. But that's about it. There is no real challenge in finishing it. The puzzles felt too easy and predictable. During the whole game while you look for Elena's father, you'll encounter quite a few ghosts which will ask for your help giving pretty specific leads, which, combined with the diaries you can collect - will reveal the story step by step . Also, while the game is mostly about exploration - there is no map of any kind which makes it frustrating on occasions.

I really liked the perspective it offers, although there are too many holes for it to be a fully recommended title. "Buy me, play me, forget me" - Whispering Willows
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27 of 44 people (61%) found this review helpful
5.6 hrs on record
Posted: July 7
Whispering Willows
Now, this, this is a game.
Best played at night, this game is incredibly atmosferic.
Puzzle with some horror elements, very nice.

My video-review : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GeCskL4vXog

I have played four hours so far, and i have to say, the game holds me pretty captive. If i wasn't stuck, i would still by playing even now.
The has a lot of strong point and few weak ones. The weak ones are
For some reason, the game runs fine on 60fps. But, cutscenes are very laggy. Not sure why.
It doesn't have a map, which is kind of needed, it is pretty big game after all.

But other than that- Really strong game. Hell, i'll say it, this is one of the contenders for my Top 10 2014.
Definetly worth it, in my opinion.
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