We Were Here Expeditions: The FriendShip from Publisher and Developer Total Mayhem Games
Short but fun puzzle game in the We Were Here franchise. Good for an afternoon co-op experience with a friend.
“We Were Here Expeditions” is a new series in the “We Were Here” franchise. “The FriendShip” is the first game in this new series and is a smaller game than the previous We Were Here installments. It also has a smaller price tag at only $4 US. It can be completed in around 1-2 hours depending on how good your communication, teamwork, and trust are with your co-op partner. Going for perfect scores on the 3 puzzles will likely require more time and practice.
Like all of the other We Were Here games this is a 2 player co-op game. You will need to work together to solve puzzles. Communication is key in these games as you will be separated from your partner with each of you only seeing part of the puzzle or clues. Each of the characters has a walkie talkie that you use to communicate with each other. So as you might have figured out, a headset with a microphone is mandatory if you want any chance at solving the puzzles.
The opening cutscene finds our intrepid duo on a ship in a storm-tossed ocean when they hear a distress call over the radio. They head toward the call and land on an island with an abandoned amusement park. As you may have guessed, the amusement park is Friendship themed. You and your partner will need to work together, relying on your friendship to make your way through the park. After navigating through the beginning area that teaches you the basics of movement and interactions, you’ll board a small boat and go on a long ride reminiscent of a certain pirate attraction at a certain magical mousey amusement park.
There are 3 stops along the ride where you’ll both deboard and work together to solve puzzles and earn a bronze, silver, or gold ticket to upgrade your ship. You can keep retrying the puzzles as many times as you want in order to obtain a maximum score and the corresponding max level upgrade. The first puzzle is based on Communication, the second is based on Teamwork, and third is based on Trust. These 3 things are the central themes of the game.
After completing the game you are provided with a QR Code to scan which takes you to a site where you get a little video of your upgraded ship going through the end of the ride as well as your Friendship Results. This was a nice addition to the game. The video is different based on your performance and has the classic freeze frame souvenir photo that you see at most amusement parks. If your Friendship Results are less than perfect, this addition might be enough to make you want to replay the game to increase your results and see the different ship upgrades and endings. They also have a custom story relating your adventure in the amusement park that includes a lot of little details about what happened during each of the challenges.
Overall, as fans of puzzle games we enjoyed the game even though it was a little short and we look forward to seeing what the next game in the series has in store.
We Were Here Expeditions: The FriendShip is on Xbox, Playstation, Steam, and Epic Games. A digital copy of this game was provided to SimpleGameReviews for the purposes of reviewing the game.
Rabbids: Party of Legends from Publisher Ubisoft and Developer Ubisoft Chengdu
Rabbids are up to their usual hijinks in this minigame filled party game. Can be played solo or local co-op.
Rabbids: Party of Legends is a party game with a crazy story. If you’re familiar with the Rabbids you would expect no less. It has local co-op for up to 4 players and is better when played with friends. You’ll start off picking your mode, either Adventure or Party mode, select your Rabbid from the 22 available to start out with (another 23 can be unlocked by earning XP through gameplay). Each Rabbid has a different look but they play the same way. There is no difference in abilities, just pick the one you enjoy the most.
Adventure mode is the story part of the game where you will play through 50 minigames. Most of these are fairly repetitive standard issue minigames but there were a few that stood out as better and more enjoyable. You can either play solo or couch co-op. If you are playing solo, you will play against AI characters with 1 of 3 difficulty options; Easy, Normal, and Nightmare. We found the Easy and Normal difficulties to be pretty much the same but, Nightmare really ramps up the difficulty. It seems like all of the AI players go after you more often than they do each other making it basically a 3v1 whereas on the lower difficulties everyone goes after everyone in a more balanced way. If you are finding Nightmare a little too hard, you do have the option to change the AI difficulty between levels. Once you select the difficulty options it is set for everyone and cannot be changed mid-game. Some of the games are team based, matching you up with another player.
Party Mode lets you create a playlist by picking a bunch of levels or a single level that you want to practice. Not all of the mini games are available at the start, you will need to earn Enlightenment XP by completing levels to unlock them in Party Mode. This makes it very helpful if you missed an achievement or trophy since you can keep replaying a level until you complete the requirement to unlock your achievement or trophy.
Overall it’s a fun party game with crazy colorful characters but we do wish there was an online option as not everyone has people local enough to come over for couch co-op.
Rabbids Party of Legends is available on Xbox, Playstation, Ubisoft Store, and Nintendo Switch.
We Were Here Forever from Publisher and Developer Total Mayhem Games
Possibly the hardest co-op puzzle game we’ve ever played. Creepy AF Jester included.
We Were Here Forever is a cooperative first-person puzzle solving adventure and is the 4th game in the We Were Here Series. When we say cooperative we mean it as there is no single player option. It is a co-op only game like the previous games in the series. You don’t need to have played the previous games before playing this one but there are some easter eggs referencing the previous games that you’ll spot if you’ve played them.
You and your partner must work together to escape the realm of Castle Rock. To escape you will need to explore several locations in the frozen realm and find the clues needed to solve the puzzles blocking your exit. It sounds pretty simple working with a partner solving puzzles, doesn’t it? But, wait! What if each of the players takes a different route seeing only what is in their area and the clues you need for your puzzle are in your partner’s area and vice versa? And what if sometimes those clues are auditory and only one of you can hear them? Not quite so simple anymore. Needless to say, a good headset for each of the partners, a healthy dose of patience, and good communication skills are mandatory if you want to be successful in this game.
The puzzles start out pretty easy, giving each of the partners the clues to each other’s puzzle. After solving a few of the simpler puzzles the game throws you into the deep end for some complicated ones which can be stressful as you will need to be working with your partner and communicating all of the time. This can be difficult if your partner does not share information and communicate effectively. Some of the puzzles were pretty straight forward for what you need to do to solve it, while others were not so much and kept us stumbling around trying everything we could just hoping to get lucky and happen upon something that worked. To say that the game does not hold your hand at all is an understatement. At times it feels like your hand gets slapped away.
This brings us to the game’s hint system that is not helpful at all as the hints are very general and more about the area that you are in and general gameplay tips instead of about the puzzle you are trying to solve and might be stuck on. We stopped even trying them after a few levels because they were useless. We would have loved to see the hints be more specific to the puzzle or current objective.
With communication being so key to just playing the game we found ourselves getting a little frustrated at each other. We realised that part of that was due to a lack of communication between us as partners while others had to do with the puzzles straight up not giving enough information or not giving clear enough information to solve them.
In a few of the later puzzles you needed to explain to your partner what you are seeing and hearing as well. This added to the challenge and frustration of the puzzle solving as trying to explain what a sound effect sounds like is not easy. Since some of the puzzles are timed you will need to clearly agree on the language you’ll be using to describe objects and positions/orientation/direction to let you communicate the information faster.
Overall we did enjoy the game but really wish the hints would have been helpful and that the direction/clues would’ve been a little clearer in some parts.
We Were Here Forever is available on Xbox, Playstation, Epic Game Store, and Steam. A digital copy of this game was provided to SimpleGameReviews for the purposes of reviewing the game.
PowerWash Simulator from Publisher Square Enix Collective and Developer Futurlab
Excellent power washing sim with a delightful story. Great for zen-ing out and relaxing after a long day.
There is something very relaxing about cleaning a dirty object and this game does a great job capturing that feeling. You might think it’s a simple simulator for power washing and it might be a little boring but, you couldn’t be more wrong. Yes, it is a simulator for power washing, that much is true. But this deceptively simple concept masks a really fun little story with some interesting characters.
You’ll start the game with a basic power washer and a text from a friend. As you continue cleaning you’ll see more messages pop up and the text messages are how you’ll be notified of new job opportunities. Most of these appear to come from referrals from your very satisfied customers. These on screen text messages are also how you experience the delightful story in the game.
If you miss some of the on screen text messages you can pull up your in-game tablet and reread them on the messages tab of your job. Sadly, when re-reading the messages in this tab it doesn’t tell you who the message is from so if you miss that when it first pops up on the screen you won’t be able to tell who said what later. We did notice that while playing co-op the messages only showed up on the host’s game. We would have loved to see the messages on both players’ screens and been able to tell who they were from when reviewing them from the messages tab of the job info.
There’s a solid difficulty progression introducing you to steadily larger or more complex buildings and vehicles to clean. They have different degrees of difficulty on the dirt and stains that need to be removed as well as the sheer size and shape of what needs to be cleaned. For every level you complete in Career Mode you’ll earn both stars and money. The money is used to upgrade your equipment, buy soap to make the cleaning a little easier, or buy skins for your character and equipment.
They helped balance the difficulty curve by locking the more powerful washers behind not just a price tag but also a “stars” requirement. This ensures that you have to be at least X far into the story before you can purchase them. Each level earns you 5 stars upon completion.
While cleaning, some of the stains are easy to remove while others will take more pressure (swapping nozzles) and require you to move a little more slowly over the area. The game does give you some “forgiveness” when cleaning during the earlier levels letting you complete areas without getting every speck of the dirt/stains. As you advance into the later stages of the game there is less wiggle room and it becomes harder to ensure all of the dirt is cleaned away. There is a dirt finder button which highlights the dirt for a few seconds. This becomes a mandatory tool on many levels. We would have loved to be able to double tap the button and have the dirt stay highlighted instead of fading after a second or two but that is not currently an option. We did find a few times that even using the dirt finder we were unable to see the dirt and had to go over the area again from different angles and pay close attention to corners and “seams” to remove the missed dirt.
The game doesn’t have a soundtrack, just ambient sounds (background noise) which is a good thing for a few reasons. 1.) If/When you’re power washing in real life, you probably have headphones in and are listening to whatever you want. 2.) With the amount of time it takes to complete some of the levels you will get tired of hearing the same songs over and over again.
There are a few different modes to play which adds to the replayability. Career mode is the story mode for the game, Specials lets you clean unique objects, Challenge Mode where you need to complete the job within a certain amount of time or within a set amount of water being used, and of course, Free Play which lets you replay any Career Mode level you’ve already finished. All but 1 mode is playable in co-op (Challenge Mode is 1 player). Career Mode lets you play in a 2 player co-op while Specials and Free play is up to 6 players which lets you complete a job very fast.
While playing the game in co-op we did notice a few things that seemed a little odd. Only the host was able to buy upgrades or soap from the shop. The second player could not use soap at all and only had access to the upgrades that the host had. We understand the upgrades as the second player could have already unlocked the highest tier equipment and made the job easier than intended. And as previously mentioned, the story texts only seems to show for the host. One of the benefits of playing in co-op (other than completing the job faster) was the second player got the same amount of money for completing the job as the host did. When the second player goes back to their own game they will have all of the extra money they earned while in co-op. When replaying a level in free play the amount of money you receive is pennies on the dollar compared to finishing the job in the career mode. Luckily after completing the campaign you should have more than enough money to get all of the upgrades, soap, and a few cosmetic items.
Overall we were surprised at how much we enjoyed the game and how fast the time flew while playing it. Don’t be surprised if you start playing it and the hours just wash away all while having some good clean fun.
PowerWash Simulator is available on Xbox, Windows and Steam.
Knight Squad 2 from Publisher and Developer Chainsawesome Games
Top down, fast paced, multi-player, medieval fantasy combat. Good for adults and adolescents. Multiple match options for online or local play. Supports cross platform online matchmaking.
Knight Squad 2 is an arcade style multiplayer game with both online and couch co-op options. As we’re sure you’ve guessed, it is the sequel to Knight Squad. Just like in the original game there are multiple Knight characters for you to choose from and more that can be unlocked by completing various in-game requirements. Some of the requirements are as simple as entering a cheat code while others can be a little more challenging like holding a special weapon for a set amount of time. Sadly, it really doesn’t matter which knight you choose. It’s really just a skin/color change and a unique “emote” that you only see on the character selection and match end screen.
There are thirteen different game modes to play and enjoy. Each mode has several arenas (different maps) to play on. Each of the modes plays a little differently with unique requirements to win. All of them have a fixed top down camera perspective. We found it difficult to keep track of which character on screen was ours from time to time with them all running around over the top of each other. The gameplay is fast paced and the matches are short. After playing them all once you’ll have a pretty good feel for which modes you prefer. Most of the game modes have a default time of 3 minutes which keeps the games short and enjoyable but this can be changed to make them longer or shorter to suit your preferences. Just like the Knights, you can also unlock new Battle arenas. Their unlock requirements are much clearer; all you need to do is win on the previous map to unlock the new one.
The game is easy to pick up and play, with the option to play against bots or people. The controls are also pretty simple which makes it easy for anyone to enjoy the combat.
The game has two big selling points. First, is the many customization options for the match’s variants. You can add modifiers, change the item spawn rate, or remove items all together. This allows you to keep the gameplay interesting and varied. Second, is that the weapons you use to fight the other Knights are great, weird, and even a little magical. You have both melee and ranged weapon options. Each of the arenas will have a few standard item spawn locations and a bunch of random ones. The randomized item spawns adds some challenge to the matches. When the weapons spawn and you run over them you will pick up a level 1 version of the item. Picking up the same item that you already have equipped will give you the maxed out version of it. The maxed out version does more damage and sometimes has bonus powers to it.
You can play with up to 8 players locally or online. We liked that they give the option to back fill missing players with bots. This really comes in handy as you can’t always get a full lobby when playing online.
Overall the game is fun to play with a group of people and would be a good addition to a party game list. If you enjoyed the original, you’ll love the sequel with its added options. Good for a party game. Price point may be contributing to lower online player counts.
Knight Squad 2 is available on Xbox, Nintendo, and Steam. A digital copy of this game was provided to SimpleGameReviews for the purposes of reviewing the game.