The Whispered World is a point and click adventure game featuring one of the most depressed video game characters imaginable. The protagonist Sadwick, is a clown. Not in the figurative sense, but a literal one. Unlike most clowns, Sadwick rarely has a smile on his face and humor is far from the norm for our gloomy little jester. Sadwick awakens in the game after having another dark dream about his destiny to destroy the world. He has been haunted by these nightmares for some time now and it has affected him drastically to the point where he finds little if any enjoyment in his own life.
Sadwicks' negative outlook on life is rightfully justified because he doesn't have the most encouraging cast of characters surrounding him. His brother Ben seems to exist solely to berate his younger brother, never missing an opportunity to remind Sadwick that he will never do anything right or amount to anything. His grandpa is senile and at times completely forgets who his grandson even is. This way of life has led Sadwick down the depressing road he is on. The only ray of happiness in his life is his pet Spot who accompanies the boy throughout his journey.
Early in the game Sadwick goes out to explore the forest where he finds a goblin-like creature named Bobby sits by a lake. After Sadwick proves to Bobby that he is ready for a quest, Bobby informs him of kingdom Coronas' current state of affairs. The king has fallen ill and is on the verge of death and the kingdom is at risk of getting taking over by creatures called Asgil. The Whispering Stone is the kingdoms only hope at changing its' fate. Sadwick seeks out Shana to help him get this stone and save Corona. After the prophecy that has been told to him in his nightmares is all but confirmed by Shana, Sadwick is determined change his fate as well.
The core plot itself was interesting enough to keep me clicking through the game but what really stood out to me in a negative way was the overall pacing. As I stated earlier Sadwick is extremely depressed and reminds you of his condition every single chance he gets. Everything you click on or NPC you talk brings about a long conversation that always steers off topic. For example, clicking on a list of notes in the game will launch a long spiel about how depressing his life is or how much he hates his brother. Initially, I didn't mind his constant complaining about everything because it help build his character but after a few hours, it became more of an annoyance if anything. Sadwick voice isn't very pleasant to listen to either. I was surprised by the voice acting overall though. At times I didn't even want to click on areas I knew wouldn't help me progress just to save myself from another one of Sadwicks' whiny speeches. The bombardment of irrelevant dialogue drastically brought down my experience because in a genre focused so much on story, pacing is very crucial.
The game is riddled with hit or miss puzzles. Some I found to be rather easy to solve but the majority of the puzzles were very difficult and I was tempted to consult in a guide. After figuring out some of the puzzles, the solutions left me a tad bit irritated. Puzzles should give you a chance to figure them out and I'm all for making them challenging but some of the solutions are very far fetched and near impossible to figure out without some outside help. With that said, when and if you do figure out some of these cleverly crafted puzzles you'll probably get sense of euphoria that all gamers get when we accomplish something so difficult.
The atmosphere in this game astonishing. Everything is hand drawn and looks as if it came right out of a cartoon. This beautiful world is easily one of the best things about the game. The score is also immersing. Listening to it made me feel as if I was playing a game from the 90's and that's not a bad thing at all. I love the nostalgic feeling I got from the musical theme.
The Whispered World left me with somewhat mixed feelings. I found myself interesting in the story but burdened with the amount of dialogue and I enjoyed the immersive and beautifully drawn world but frustrated by the logic in some of the puzzles within it. The Whispered World isn't for everyone but fans of the genre may find a nostalgic treat in Sadwicks' lengthy journey.
Writer for Darkstation since 2014. I've been playing games my whole life and starting writing about them in 2010. Outside of gaming I enjoy anime and watching my Philadelphia Eagles let me down every Sunday. Follow me on Twitter @jsparis09