When we were in London recently checking out some games during Rezzed, many of them served as great single-player experiences, but one game stood out to us as a very meaningful co-operative experience, and that's Total Mayem Games' We Were Here Together, which is the third game in the series that started with We Were Here back in 2017. These games are specifically designed for two players in mind, and before we get into this game, we should give you some background on the series.
The first game threw us into a mysterious castle, with each player in a different part of the castle and cut off from the other. The only means of communication they have is the walkie talkie in their hand, and last year's We Were Here Too also took us to a spooky castle, again relying on our friend's vocal instructions to help us through the various puzzles. You need each other to survive, and it can't be played alone, which makes the co-operative element vital to the game's structure.
This extends to We Were Here Together as well, which we played with the help of a demonstrator at Rezzed. We started off in a mysterious cabin in a frozen part of the world and immediately got to grips with what we were doing. The walkie talkie doesn't sound too different from being in party chat with each other, but the key thing here is that you need to hold a button down to talk, at which point you can hear your friend. It's all about concise and clear information, as you might expect.
You're not walled off from each other in this game though, or at least not as far as we can see in the demo we played. You're both free to explore the area as you please, although the puzzles require you to be in different places at once. The first puzzle we bumped into was a door with a shape in the middle, at which point we went and found a wheel to fit it, with our buddy giving us directions when they found the wheel first. You see, even when you don't need to help each other, it's advisable to share the wealth of knowledge still.
Once we left the warm shelter and cozy fire of the cabin we were allowed outside to see what was around, including a machine that could adjust the frequency at the top of the roof. One person had to stand at the top, while another adjusted the frequency from within, changing the height and spacing of the waves to match what the other was seeing. By tuning into those frequencies we heard a mysterious distress call, and we got a glimpse into the overarching story that will be coming in the full product.
While we didn't get to complete any of the other puzzles in this area before the time ran out, there was also a map in another room that gave us the ability to track coordinates, which we could do presumably using the numbers given to us on the transmission. There was also a green line to hit in a chamber of liquid, with one person controlling the pressure from outside and another watching this gauge from within, although we were really left scratching our head with that one.
Going from the Steam page we can still expect to visit a castle later on in the game, in case you were worried that we wouldn't, but the good thing about We Were Here Together is that you don't need to have played the other games to enjoy this, because it's just about working together to unravel the clues you're given. It's got a lovely simple style to it as well, meaning all the puzzles are made clear when it comes to where you have to go, even if the solutions might be a bit tricky.
All in all, we're impressed at the amount of cooperation this co-op game requires. A lot of the time co-op means a player can just jump in to help you, but here you actually can't survive or progress without your buddy in your ear, and neither can they without you. It's an intelligently designed puzzler that encourages you to think outside the box and communicate in ways you're not used to, and we're intrigued to see where this goes.