Ernest, are you taking a nap?
|Whalien: Unexpected Guests (2023)|
|Developer(s)||Forbidden Folds||Publisher||Forbidden Folds|
|Platform Availability||PC (Steam)||Genre||Adventure, Puzzle, Platformer|
For decades, humans lived within a mechanical whale; the whale took care of their every need until the people abandoned him after he became tainted by some odd creatures and slime. The whale had an AI that was called Fin and was sad when everyone left; however, one human stayed behind in order to help him.
You play as Ernest Hemingwhale (clearly a play on Ernest Hemingway) who is the human that stayed behind to help Fin. He stayed behind to help clear out the creatures and goo, but it definitely appears that Earnest is a bit lazier than the job would require. However, throughout the course of the game with the assistance of Fin and the Springpeople, Ernest is able to brave the many challenges and saves the day. He will obtain special gloves and pearls that will assist in the games many puzzles and platforming challenges.
Ernest will have access to your typical platforming abilities: Move and Jump. He will obtain new abilities by collecting the gloves and pearls. The game teaches you these abilities one at a time giving you plenty of time to fully grasp how to use them.
Push and Pull Gloves do exactly what they sound like; they push and pull objects that are near Ernest.
Mr. Push and Mrs. Pull are like grenade versions of these abilities allow you to push and pull objects at a range as well as affecting far more objects at a time than the gloves could. Essentially you will throw them and once ready, you will activate them. They will stay in that location until you call them back. This allows for some fun puzzle solutions. There are colored switches that will use these Pearls to open up new pathways.
Finally, there is the Pearl swap that will also you to switch between Mr. Push and Mrs. Pearl. If you have Mrs. Pull drawing in a lot of objects at once and then use the Pearl Swap ability, it will switch to Mr. Push immediately pushing all of the collected objects away. It is pretty fun. There are also some switch puzzles that will use this mechanic as well.
The game is very colorful and cartoony. This will be a turn off for some people, but I felt the graphics were very fitting for the story they are telling. Everything looks very good and the animation is mostly smooth. I am not a huge fan of the camera because I do often find myself looking at Ernest butt or crotch. The Pearl's and Fin's artwork are particularly interesting. Each of the Springpeople are also all unique from what I could tell.
The music in the game is fun, lighthearted, and well-suited for this game; many major areas have their own unique music. I enjoy the areas where the music changes based on what is going on. This is especially true with the last two areas of the game. They will not likely be memorable songs in the long term, but they certainly made a good impression during gameplay.
It was a surprisingly fun game. I was able to beat it in a single stream (roughly 2 hours) getting 90% of the stickers and all but a few of the achievements. It had some enjoyable puzzles that weren't very difficult and would be great for those looking for a more casual experience. I typically like more challenging puzzles, but I definitely appreciate laid back games from time to time.
I would have preferred the game to have lasted another 2 hours and actually expected the "But wait, there is more!" to pop up after the credits...but it never came. Again, that is fine and others may find the game to last closer to 3-4 hours giving them a fuller experience. Lately, there have been a lot of games providing free post-release content. I hope this game is one of those. I would love to have more opportunities to use the abilities like the Swap Pearls in other ways.
All of that said, this is the studio's first game, and they did a fantastic job with this short adventure. They have already received two awards for the game as well as being nominated for a third. If you like light weight platforming puzzle games, definitely check out WHALIEN - Unexpected Guests on Steam today.
WVGamers received a review copy of this game for review. This does not impact our honest review of this game.