Daedalic Entertainment’s hand-drawn animated adventure follows the tale of Sadwick, a sorrowful and depressed clown haunted by nightmares of a crumbling world. It turns out after a visit to a local oracle that these visions have a much deeper meaning and with his faithful companion Spot by his side, Sadwick embarks on a world saving journey crammed full of bizarre creatures, colourful backdrops and head-scratchingly challenging point and click puzzles.
Point and Click adventures may be a dying breed that have slowly but surely taken a back seat to the more action-orientated games but as The Whispered World shows there’s still plenty of creativity left out there to warrant their existence. The Whispered World’s main strength is its storyline, which is injected with the sort of clever, tongue-in-cheek humour that we haven’t encountered in a similar adventure since the superb DiscWorld games.
The tale of a depressive young clown, who embarks on a journey to the kingdom to find out how he can save the world and stop himself from being depressed in the process, is certainly unique, as are the range of weird characters you come across, not least Sadwick’s shape-shifting, blue blob sidekick Spot. Throw into the adventure game melting pot some stunningly designed hand-drawn backdrops that offer real depth and contrast to the 2D characters and their animations and you’ve got a game that manages to both capture you mentally and charm you visually.
Despite Sadwick's slightly annoying Joe Pasquale-like nasal voice, his depressive nature and sarcastic, downbeat humour makes you care about his character. As a result, the strong script and colourful gameworld charms and sucks you into the gameworld which is jam-packed with stimulating point and click puzzles.
The interface is simply designed but works effectively. You scan the areas with your cursor looking for objects and people to interact with. Click and hold over an item and you're able to choose whether to examine, interact or communicate with it. Right click opens your bag which shows all of the stuff you’ve collected, which you can then drag from one item to the next combining things, or drag to areas of the environment to solve a puzzle. It’s a no thrills, no spills, very basic, yet totally effective control method that point and clicks veterans should appreciate.
Like any point and click adventure there’s the odd ridiculous puzzle thrown in that doesn’t seem to make any logical sense, but will have you clicking on everything and combining every object in your inventory, so it can be frustrating being stuck in one area for a long period of time while you work it out. But many of the puzzles have been well thought out and the game is full of those Eureka moments where you all of sudden realise exactly what you need to do. There's a nice twist in the game that allows you to interact with Spot and use him to solve riddles. We won't spoilt the fun here, but Spot actually shape-shifts into various forms that allows you to use his unique abilities to solve puzzles -- further evidence that the developer has tried to add fresh ideas to a stale genre with the both storyline and elements of the gameplay.
The Whispered World does carry with it some of the small annoyances that often plague point and click titles. Unnecessarily long sections of dialogue that are just trying to make you laugh rather than progress the storyline can get tiresome. As can waiting around for sections to load as you move from one area to another. As previously mentioned, there are also some puzzles that don't make sense either, so you may find yourself jumping straight to the Internet for a walkthrough. The Whispered World is, however, the first point and click adventure in a long time that has engaged us in its world of charming characters and unique storyline. If Sadwick's voice would have been less annoying we would have enjoyed it more, but the variety of challenging puzzles, weird and wonderful characters and simple interface make it an accessible and utterly charming adventure.
Unique storyline brimming with clever humour
Stunningly designed hand-drawn backdrops
Enjoyable interaction with your sidekick.
Sadwick's voice can be irritating
Some illogical puzzles