There are a great many preteen texts that are universally beloved, and just as many that are widely adored for their camp, but aside from these runaway successes, this a difficult category of fiction to wield. Indicative of its adolescent nature, Whisper Willows is trope heavy. In terms of play and narrative, the game isn’t very nuanced; it has the substance of a Goosebumps novel.
The result is a game that feels like a series of half-steps. As you play through Whispering Willows, you’ll meet plenty of morbidly depicted ghosts, who often learn important moral lessons (or tell jokes). Another example is the game’s central mechanic that lets you astrally project yourself into a spirit form. Most puzzles involving astral projection, however, are solved by finding a crack in the wall, and then moving through it. There’s a lot of intrigue in Whispering Willows, but it never pans out in sophisticated ways. Despite having an effective visual style, Whispering Willows is a very slow and short adventure game that never develops beyond its cliches.
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