Whispering willows is Night Light Interactive’s 2D puzzle-adventure game with lots of fun puzzles to explore in the spooky mansion of Willows Estate. You are heroine Elena Elkhorn, a young girl who is looking for her missing father, who is employed as a caretaker on the estate. Elena has this cool ability to change herself into a ghost with the aid of tear-shaped family heirloom amulet. This allows her to speak to other ghosts, possess and manipulate objects, and reach areas that she can’t get to in her regular body. Elena is Native American and this really adds some interesting elements into the Whispering Willows story line. Wortham Willows, is the person who owns the mansion and is credited for founding Elena’s town, but as the puzzles unfold, may not be the nicest person after all.
As Elena explores the mansion she runs across numerous ghosts who are stuck in the Estate. She can communicate with them and they help her along the way to finding her father. Sometimes the ghosts have died pretty tragically. In typical adventure story fashion, you are required to get a love letter, key, note, or other similar item to help the ghost complete what is needed in this world, so that they can move on to better places. This will open the next locked door or inaccessible area, till you meet the next ghost. These puzzles are not overly complex but I find that doesn’t take away from the game. The story telling is deep, fun and there is lots to learn about the Kwantako tribe that had first settled on the land. It feels like they kept the puzzles pretty simple so that you could fully stay immersed in the story. You can likely beat this game in a few hours of gameplay.
I really enjoyed the sounds used in Whispering Willows. They spent a lot of time designing unique spooky themes for each area. Creaking staircases, rustling leaves or whispering wind all help keep you in the mood. The cut scenes are done in a cartoony manner in lots of blues, greens and browns that keep with the spooky theme. Although there are spooky horror elements involved in the game, this is not a game that would put off squeamish or the easily frightened. It is a nice change from the horror genre of jump and constant anxiety scares. Instead you see Elena care for these spirits and learn about their plights.The game helps you to understand the brutal way that Native Americans were treated in the early days of America.
Overall Whispering Willows feels like you are playing a graphic novel or comic book that deals with some pretty serious issues.Whispering Willows main purpose is to connect with the characters and the story and feel immersed in the environment. Don’t come expecting insane jump scares and constant heart pumping anxiety, but a unique occult filled story that still packs some serious punch. Whispering Willows is a great different type of game to add into your collection.