The Whispered World

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The Whispered World
Whispered world cover.jpg
Developer(s) Daedalic Entertainment
Publisher(s) Deep Silver
Designer(s) Marco Hüllen
Composer(s) Hamburg’s Periscope Studios
Engine Visionaire
Platform(s)
Release date(s) Germany, Austria, Switzerland: August 28, 2009
UK, Scandinavia, France, Spain, Italy: March 2010
United States: April 26, 2010
Russia: October 8, 2010
Genre(s) Adventure
Mode(s) Single-player

The Whispered World is a traditional-style point-and-click adventure game for Microsoft Windows. It is designed by Marco Hüllen, developed by Daedalic Entertainment, and published by Deep Silver[1] in Europe and by Viva Media[2] in the United States. The four-act game takes place in a fantasy world and features a sad 12 year-old clown as its hero. The graphics are 2D and are all hand-drawn and animated. As of September 2010, the game has a cumulative score of 70/100 and 71% on Metacritic and GameRankings respectively.

Plot[edit]

Screenshot

The game takes place in Silentia, a dream fantasy world of a young, sad circus-clown named Sadwick. The story starts as he wakes up in his travelling circus trailer after having experienced a recurring nightmare, where he sees the world falling apart.

Sadwick wanders off to a nearby forest and meets Bobby, a Chaski, messenger of the King. Bobby is heading to Corona, the royal floating castle, to deliver a powerful artefact, the Whispering Stone, to the king. He claims the end of the world is near and that the land is already breaking apart and the Asgil, a hideous horde of underground creatures, are surrounding Corona. He tells Sadwick he has been unsuccessfully seeking an oracle named Shana who may have advice on shortening his trip, and asks Sadwick to help find her. Sadwick believes she could interpret his nightmares and convinces Bobby to give him the Whispering Stone to activate a secret passage that could lead him to Shana. Shortly after Bobby gets scared away and disappears in what Sadwick believes was an Asgil attack. Sadwick manages to locate Shana and finds out that his destiny is to destroy the world.

Shana directs Sadwick to a nearby island to find mysterious Kalida who eventually takes him near Corona. There Sadwick manages to listen in to the plans of Asgil leader Loucaux but gets captured and thrown in a jail cell. After successfully escaping, he manages to board a flying train to Corona, where he meets Bobby again who tells him that he is too late and the king has locked himself in his quarters. After exploring the castle, Sadwick finds a model of a planetary system linked to the flow of space-and-time itself. He meets the royal astronomer who tells him that the Whispering Stone represents the planet Silentia in the model of 5 planets and that he must repair the system to restore the balance and activate the fountain of the Water of Life to wake the king who has fallen ill.

Upon repairing the mechanism, a blue sphere from Sadwick's nightmares appears saying that Sadwick is inevitably ending the world. Trying to prevent that, Sadwick jams the planetary system's mechanism stopping time itself and breaking all of the world into pieces. The Asgil occupy what is left of the castle, but Sadwick manages to trick Loucaux and reactivates the planetary mechanism again, restoring the cadence of time. He escapes and arrives at the king's quarters, where he instead finds familiar settings and a large mirror. Upon looking into the mirror, another boy drags him into a room with two opposite mirrors. The boy explains that in reality Sadwick is this boy lying in a coma in a hospital while the blue sphere is his father reading him stories. Sadwick then breaks the mirror he came from and wakes up in the real world.

Characters[edit]

  • Sadwick: This 12 year old clown travels with his circus family from town to town. He is a sad, lonely boy who actually does not want to be a clown at all. He wears dull clothes: a brown-grey cowl with appropriate fool's cap. His only friend is Spot, a caterpillar. Against the advice of his brother Ben and his grandfather, Sadwick wants to explore the world and want to be an adventurer. Although he wants to solve the world's problems, he feels unprepared, small and insecure. Even whilst solving small problems, he has anxiety. Sadwick regularly has a nightmare about the end of the world.
  • Spot: The green caterpillar Spot is Sadwick's best friend. Spot follows Sadwick continuously. He helps his master by solving problems. Through the game, Spot gets some magical powers: he can make himself look like a sphere, can spit fire, can divide himself in five parts and can make himself paper thin. Near the end of the game, Spot falls in the "Fountain of Life" which seems to kill him. However, he only turned into a pupa. During last scenes he returns as a beautiful butterfly and greets Sadwick goodbye before leaving.
  • Ben: He is the elder, bullying brother of Sadwick. He is in many ways the opposite of his brother: big, small and coloured dressed. It is obvious he is the boss of the family, but he is not very smart. He is a fraud who swindles others only to earn as much money as possible.
  • Grandfather: He is a senile, old man. He frequently tells about his adventures. However, after some sentences he does not remember what happened or what he's talking about. He is also the cook, but his plates are mostly worse or contain toxic ingredients. Grandfather has a big underpant which gets lost with the wind. During the game, the underpant frequently returns - carried by the wind - and needs to be used to solve problems.
  • Bobby: He is a "Chaski", a representative of the king. He is arrogant and pretentious. Sadwick meets Bobby near his circus. Bobby is heading to the "flying castle" above the city of Corona to give the king the "Whispering Stone". As Bobby is afraid the Asgil are on his track, he asks Sadwick to keep the stone some time. After Bobby disappears, Sadwick decides to bring the stone to the king.
  • Shana: She is an oracle. Bobby is in vain to search her. She knows the shortest way to Corona. After Sadwick hears about Shana, he wants to meet her as she can also explain dreams. As Bobby disappeared, Sadwick starts to look for Shana on his own. According Shana, the shortest way to Corona is via Kalida. She also spills out it is Sadwick's destiny to destroy the world.
  • Ruben: He is an inhabitant on the island where Kalida is said to be found. Ruben appointed himself as the island's leader. He owns a pearl factory, but it was taken out of order as he is afraid the noise will wake up Kalida.
  • Bando: He works for Ruben but after the factory was discontinued he is unemployed. He hopes the factory goes back into production but also fears this will wake up Kalida.
  • Mulachei: This monk also lives on Kalida's island. His task is to replace/enlight the candles on the island. The light of the candles scare the Yakis, an irritant species of birds.
  • Kalida: The true nature of Kalida remains unclear for a long time. Thanks to Shana, Sadwick gets to the island where Kalida is to be found. The inhabitants say Kalida is in a deep sleep and can only wake up after performing a ritual. As the inhabitants do not want Kalida to wake up, they do their utmost to prevent someone can perform the ritual. Eventually, Sadwick is able to wake up Kalida. It turns out Kalida is the island: a big, flying animal. Kalida brings Sadwick to Corona.
  • Maurice: he is the station-master of the flying train to the flying castle above Corona. As the train is not in use anymore, Maurice is bored. That's why he opened a museum but as there are no customers, he is almost broke.
  • Ralv and Yngo: These talking rocks dream to take over the world, although they can't move from their current positions.
  • Loucaux: He is an Asgil, a demon creature. As leader of the Asgil, he wants to invade the flying castle to take over the throne. The Asgil already took over Corona.
  • Gourney: He acts as bodyguard of Loucaux. It is unknown what kind of creature Gourney is.

Gameplay[edit]

Parallax layer arrangement

The game is made using the Visionaire Studio engine.[3] The game features a 2D scrolling viewport with parallax layers. The game is almost exclusively controlled by mouse. The player holds the left mouse button over objects or characters to bring up an interaction menu with "look", "talk", and "use" options. The player may hold the space bar to have the interactive portions of the world, such as objects, highlighted. This shows differently coloured indicators for objects, characters, and travel points.

Sadwick is accompanied by his pet caterpillar Spot who may perform certain actions. Spot can transform into several different forms useful for solving various puzzles. The forms are unlocked as the player progresses through the game.

The game also features an inventory screen accessed by the right mouse button. Objects gathered from the world are stored in Sadwick's backpack. He may then use them in the world or combine them with other items.

Development[edit]

The game's development began in 2004 as Marco Hüllen's diploma work for Rhein-Sieg Academy of Realistic Visual Arts and Design (German: Rhein-Sieg-Akademie für Realistische Bildende Kunst und Design). He was then hired by now defunct Bad Brain Entertainment and a demo was released in 2005. Bad Brain Entertainment went out of business in 2006 and the game was discontinued and offered to the community to continue as (and only as) a freeware adventure. However, in 2007, the relatively new Daedalic Entertainment acquired the rights to the project and re-hired Marco Hüllen and the game was subsequently finished and released in 2009.[4]

Reception[edit]

The Whispered World
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 71.40%[5]
Metacritic 71/100[6]
Review scores
Publication Score
Adventure Gamers 4/5 stars[7]
Eurogamer 6/10[8]
GameSpot 5.5/10[9]
Gaming Union 7/10[10]
Awards
Publication Award
German Game Developer Award 2009 "Best German Game of the Year" and "Best Story"

The Whispered World received 70/100 rating from Metacritic[6] and 71.40% from GameRankings[5] score aggregators. Overall, the reviews gave the game above average scores, criticizing puzzle design and voice acting, yet praising hand-drawn artwork and emotional story.

Brett Todd from GameSpot deemed the game as average. He praised the game for "gorgeous [..]" and "beautiful painted scenery and cartoon characters", "dreamlike storyline", and "some good, logical brainteasers." However, he criticized it for "erratic voice acting, including a whiney, nasally protagonist." Although acknowledging "detailed script", he criticized "excessive dialogue" and pointed out that "some of the charm of this dreamy fairytale is lost because there is too much dialogue." He also noted that "[..] many puzzles [..] defy logic" and "common sense is trampled on much of the time."[9]

Darryl from Gaming Union praised The Whispered World as an undoubtedly "beautiful game" with "[..] a wonderful cast of characters and some lush scenery..." However, he criticized its gameplay "[..] in terms of puzzle plausibility", deeming progression as being "[..] down to dumb luck instead of logic."[10]

John Walker on Eurogamer praised the game as "absolutely beautiful" with a remarkable, enormous world. He also noted the "splendid writing" and that "jokes are often fantastic, Sadwick's remarks inventively downbeat." However, he criticised the delivery and the "excruciating" voice acting. He also noted "annoying [..] impossibly random moments" with illogical puzzle solutions and often having "no idea what you should be doing next."[8]

Nathaniel Berens from Adventure Gamers praised the "quality of the visual presentation" with "absolutely stunning hand-drawn artwork" and "excellent soundtrack", as well as "charming" and "emotional" story, and Sadwick and Spot as a "uniquely likeable pair". He also noted that "puzzles are generally quite clever", however criticized that "a couple of puzzles make no sense until after you’ve figured them out by accident". He also noted awkward humour and Sadwicks voice. He mentions that The Whispered World is "polished, well-realized adventure in the classic tradition".[7]

During the German Game Developer Award 2009, The Whispered World received six nominations, more than any other title. The game was nominated in "Best German Game of the Year", "Best Game Design," "Best Graphics," "Best Youth Game," "Best Story," and "Best Soundtrack" categories.[11] The game won "Best German Game of the Year" and "Best Story" titles.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ivan, Tom (March 23, 2009). "Deep Silver to publish The Whispered World". ComputerAndVideoGames.com. Retrieved June 5, 2010. 
  2. ^ Cortez, Hector (March 5, 2010). "Viva Media picks up 'The Whispered World' for North American release". MonstersAndCritics.com. Retrieved June 5, 2010. 
  3. ^ "The Whispered World". Retrieved September 21, 2010. 
  4. ^ Zachary, Martyn (April 20, 2010). "The Secret History of the Whispered World". The Slowdown. Retrieved September 18, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b "The Whispered World". GameRankings. Retrieved September 18, 2010. 
  6. ^ a b "The Whispered World". Metacritic. Retrieved September 18, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b Berens, Nathaniel (April 30, 2010). "The Whispered World Review". Adventure Gamers. Retrieved June 2, 2010. 
  8. ^ a b Walker, John (April 27, 2010). "The Whispered World Review". Eurogamer. Retrieved June 2, 2010. 
  9. ^ a b Todd, Brett (May 7, 2010). "The Whispered World Review". GameSpot. Retrieved June 2, 2010. 
  10. ^ a b Darryl (May 5, 2010). "The Whispered World Review". Gaming Union. Retrieved June 2, 2010. 
  11. ^ "The Whispered World: Frontrunner at German Game Developer Award with Most Nominations". JustAdventure. November 18, 2009. Retrieved June 2, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Deutschen Entwicklerpreises 2009" (in German). Retrieved June 5, 2010. 

External links[edit]