grumbel's The Whispered World (PC) review

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Pure adventure gaming fun with a few minor technical hickups

The Whispered World is a fantasy 2D point&click adventure released in 2009 and developed by Daedalic Entertainment. In the game the player takes control of the sad clown Sadwick, who after having visionary nightmares of the end of the world, ends up on a journey trying to prevent it.

Typically for Daedalic Entertainment the game has a few rough edges on the technical side of things. The game only supports 4:3 at a fixed resolution and scene switches or saving the game takes a little longer then it should. Sometimes the animation has a bit of a hick up as the game has to load in some more frames. None of them however are game breaking, just minor issues of polish.

Those issues aside however the game looks absolutely stunning, easily among the most beautiful 2D adventure games ever created. Not only are the backgrounds and characters well drawn, the game also has some simple, but effective, light bloom and flicker effects that brings the oftentimes candle lit scenes to life. The only thing lacking a bit is the animation, while it is well done, it lacks a few frames to look smooth. The fullscreen cutscenes the game has also aren't exactly up to Disney quality, but still look quite good for an adventure game, certainly better then in many other games.

The interface of the game follows a classic pie-menu with mouth, hand and eye verbs. The inventory opens up on a right click and works as usual. Spot, Sadwick crawler pet, acts as a special little helper that has to be used to solve some puzzles, similar to Max in the original Sam&Max game. Unlike Max however spot will learn new abilities along the way, these abilities can be triggered via a menu in the top/right corner that will transform Spot from his normal form into another one.

The puzzles in the game are extremely well designed and while they certainly fall a bit on the hard side at times, unlike other reviewers, I never found them obtuse or overly complicated. They pretty much follow the tradition of what you would expect in a good LucasArts adventure and with a few rare exceptions, you get more then enough hints along the way. Another remarkable thing is the interactivity, you can essentially use everything with everything and your character will always have something meaningful to say about the interaction, even if the interaction itself does not work.

Overall I enjoyed The Whispered World a lot, the graphics are fantastic, the puzzles are interesting and the story keeps you going. All the jokes the game tries to pull of, actually work and are funny and not just trying to be. One small critique of the games story I have is that the game could have used a village, one comes across numerous interesting characters, but they all kind of happen in isolation. This makes the world feel more empty then it probably should. The ending is also something that could have been handled better, while I didn't mind it as much as other reviewers, it could simply have used a little more build up. It happens all a little to sudden and then the credits start rolling, leaving little time to digest it.
 
The game was played in German and it took around 13h to complete it.

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