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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.
Release Date: Jul 9, 2014
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Buy Whispering Willows

Full Game

$14.99

Buy Whispering Willows: Deluxe Edition

Full Game + Digital Art Book, Soundtrack, and Wallpaper

$24.99

Buy Whispering Willows: Deluxe Edition Extras

Digital Art Book, Soundtrack, and Wallpaper

$9.99

Recent updates View all (5)

Controller Support!- Patch 1.16

July 29th, 2014

We're pleased to announce that we now have controller support for Whispering Willows. This was a heavily requested feature that we really wanted to deliver on. Whispering Willows is an adventure game that was made to be played on a couch. The game just feels right being played with a controller, so if you have one, we suggest plugging it in!

Since we released the game on Steam, we also fixed the following:

-1.15-

  • Cutscene quality improved

-1.14-
  • Elena can switch forms while moving
  • Game is playable offline
  • Multiple resolutions available

-1.13-
  • Secret easter egg ghost added from So Many Me
  • Fixed spawn points

As well as a bunch of bugs fixed across patches.

Thank you everyone for your continued support and feedback!

5 comments Read more

Patch 1.15

July 23rd, 2014

We are still working on controller support and hope to have it ready by later this week. In the meantime we fixed a few major bugs:

  • The screen would go black (and stay black) when starting the game with higher end hardware. This should no longer happen.
  • Cutscenes quality improved so they are less laggy and less pixelated

3 comments Read more

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 the 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

PC System Requirements

    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

Mac System Requirements

    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

Linux System Requirements

    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
54 of 67 people (81%) found this review helpful
1,606 products in account
28 reviews
4.3 hrs on record
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
Posted: July 9th, 2014
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23 of 26 people (88%) found this review helpful
1,672 products in account
37 reviews
4.1 hrs on record
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.
Posted: July 13th, 2014
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14 of 16 people (88%) found this review helpful
130 products in account
2 reviews
2.2 hrs on record
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
Posted: July 9th, 2014
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26 of 38 people (68%) found this review helpful
8 products in account
3 reviews
2.0 hrs on record
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).
Posted: July 8th, 2014
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17 of 22 people (77%) found this review helpful
319 products in account
2 reviews
3.8 hrs on record
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.
Posted: July 9th, 2014
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