I’m a big fan of quirky and colourful platformers, so I jumped at the opportunity to review Whalien – Unexpected Guests. I hadn’t even heard of it before last week, but its dazzlingly weird vibe (as well as the mixture of physics-based puzzling and traditional platforming) ticked plenty of the right boxes for me. Turns out that it’s a lot of fun to play too, even IF it can be a bit on the easy side.
Check out some screenshots down below:
Whalien – Unexpected Guests puts players in the role of Ernest Hemingwhale, the last remaining person inside a giant mechanical whale known as Fin that had previously homed a thriving community. This all went awry when some squidgy creatures known as Squiddies arrived and started causing chaos, which leaves Ernest having to clean up the mess and get rid of them (all whilst getting a little help from some bouncy robots known as the Springpeople along the way).
It’s a quirky little tale that’s full of silly moments, but it gives a fun bit of context to the game’s platforming antics. There’s a surprising amount of lore to be found that details Ernest’s heritage and the lives that folk previously led within Fin, whilst the Springpeople keep Ernest informed and give him something to work towards on his journey. Don’t get me wrong, the narrative isn’t particularly deep nor is it full of surprises, but it’ll do enough to keep players entertained whilst completing their physics-based tasks.
“Whalien – Unexpected Guests offers a world that’s fun to be a part of, even IF it’ll rarely push your platforming or puzzling skills to their limit.”
Whalien – Unexpected Guests’ gameplay is made up of some simple platforming and some clever physics-based puzzling, with players not only able to use special gloves to attract or repel objects in front of them, but also able to throw special pearls across the environment that will either apply a pushing or pulling force to objects in their vicinity. These can be used in multiple ways to help you progress through your adventure, whether it’s by pulling inaccessible platforms towards you, activating objects that need a bit of force applied to them, or to push an obstacle out of your way, just to name a few. In fairness, the game has some clever level and puzzle design which utilises these mechanics in some really neat ways, with new ideas constantly introduced to keep the experience feeling fresh. Admittedly, there is a little bit of trial and error involved, especially since you might not necessarily know what effect your pearls might have on objects at first glance, but each area has an intuitive design that makes the puzzle-solving feel rewarding and, at times, utterly chaotic.
I’d be lying if I said that the game ever felt tough though. Whilst it does require some trial and error to learn what objects might do, it’s always easy to figure out exactly what you need to do afterwards, whilst the game’s platforming is rarely challenging. It’s very easy-going, and whilst that might lend itself to the game’s whimsical style (I could see it being really appealing to younger players), platforming fans who like a bit of a challenge might feel a little underwhelmed.
Check out some screenshots down below:
Still, it’s hard not to have a smile on your face when playing, especially with the game’s vibrant world and the messy antics you’ll partake in. Using the pearls can cause chaos in some levels with objects flying everywhere, whilst there’s also plenty of room for player ingenuity in how they approach some puzzles. Sure, there’s always a straightforward solution, but sometimes it’s more fun to play with the environment in different ways and take your own approach – especially since you can often put together some makeshift platforms. Whalien – Unexpected Guests offers a world that’s fun to be a part of, even IF it’ll rarely push your platforming or puzzling skills to their limit.
It all comes together to make for a really fun adventure that’s full of charming and silly moments. There’s even room for some action-oriented set pieces, whilst the game’s finale really ups the ante with some clever puzzling. It is worth noting that it’s not a particularly long experience though, with my playtime coming in at just under three hours. There are some collectibles to grab that might extend this playtime a little, but the game’s easier difficulty does mean that most players will find themselves speeding to the end credits quite quickly. But hey, the journey there is a lot of fun, so it’s hard to complain too much.
Whalien - Unexpected Guests Review
Whalien – Unexpected Guests offers a fun and quirky platforming adventure packed with satisfying physics-based puzzling. It’s ALWAYS cool to see how you can cause chaos across each environment with your handy gadgets, whilst the world itself looks wonderful, is full of colour, and feels good to explore.
Sure, it is a bit on the easy side and the journey isn’t a particularly long one, but there’s definitely plenty on offer here to keep puzzle-platforming fans entertained.
Developer: Forbidden Folds
Publisher: Forbidden Folds
Platform(s): PC (Reviewed)