And His Name Is Just A Whisper In The Wind…
HIGH Quality atmospheric horror narrative.
LOW Being stumped at the very end.
WTF The cave was the perfect place for jumpscares, but luckily they didn’t do it!
As far as I can tell, there aren’t many interactive experiences that take place in Quebec.
This is something that the developer, Studio Chien D’Or, wanted to specifically address, so they studied how to effectively recreate the nineteenth century atmosphere of a rough and unhospitable place, yet one that would hold appeal for those trying to live and prosper there.
The Whisperer is a prologue to the still-to-be released adventure The Whispering Valley, so players can expect a short experience (one to two hours) and that they’ll be left with several questions that will (I assume?) be answered in the full game to come.
Structurally, The Whisperer is a classic first-person point-and-click adventure.
Players will be alone in the desolate, freezing cold of Lower Canada, picking up objects and solving simple puzzles, while trying to uncover what’s behind the sudden disappearances happening at a local trading post. While there’s not much mystery regarding the fate of the vanished — especially after the gruesome introductory sequence — uncovering what’s actually going on is quite intriguing.
It is not possible to move between locations freely, since movement is based on a grid — click on a path to walk towards a new place. Each area offers several details to examine while walking around. Finding and picking up items is the main activity, and while it thankfully never devolves into pixel hunting, a more effective way to indicate which items can be picked up would be ideal since having to roam the pointer all over the screen would probably not be anyone’s idea of a good time.
The puzzles are all quite grounded, never requiring the player to engage in any ‘moon logic’ the genre is known for. For example, a lamp is needed to go into a dark cave, or a shovel is needed to dig through snow and access a basement. It all makes logical sense. That said, there’s one bit at the end which I did not find easy to solve (it actually calls back to the introduction) so one small hint there would have been appreciated.
As mentioned, Studio Chien D’Or set out to recreate what it might have been like to be in Quebec in 1814, including ambiance-setting elements such as letters exchanged between characters and various period-appropriate objects which we will find inside the cabins. The minimal soundtrack and the constant howling of wind also work wonderfully to immerse players into a chill, unsettling world.
In terms of the graphics needed to carry a horror experience like this, The Whisperer definitely delivers with solid performance and detailed textures. Only some of the human models used are not of the highest quality and look a bit android-like, but in general it’s done well.
As an appetizer preceding the larger experience to come, The Whisperer checks all the right boxes and is perfect for anyone looking for a tasty horror morsel, and that goes double for players eager to explore a territory and setting that isn’t often seen in gaming.
Disclosures: This game is developed and published by Studio Chien D’Or It is currently available on PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on PC. Approximately 1 hour of play was devoted to the single-player mode and the game was completed. There are no multiplayer modes.
Parents: The game is not rated by the ESRB, but it contains blood, gore, violence and mild horror. Considering the themes of the narrative, including depression and self-harm, I would definitely recommend it to an adult audience.
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: This game does not feature spoken dialogue, all narrative is related through text. Text cannot be altered or resized. In my view, the game is fully accessible.
Remappable Controls: The game is controlled via the mouse, with the usual point and click movement, with some additional keyboard shortcuts (see diagram). It is not possible to remap the controls.