To simply watch the introductory cutscene of The Whispered World -of a hand turning a page as they begin to recount the tale of Sadwick- is enough to give me goosebumps, it has been many years since an adventure game has presented such a chilling and promising premise. You take control of a young, low self-esteem circus clown, who is perhaps the most pessimistic and gloomy character that you will ever encounter in a game; so it’s very much to his surprise when he is fated to bring about the destruction of his world by an oracle.
What makes The Whispered World such an enthralling and magical game is not simply the beautifully hand drawn backgrounds and animations, it is the certain charm that the game has, with characters like your senile Grandfather, or the pair of rock brothers, each entity in the world has its own unique personality, it is a sign of a true adventure game in the making. But of course the real star of the game is Sadwick; whose innocent nasal voice and glum outlook make him an instantly identifiable character, and his pet caterpillar Spot is possibly one of the most adorable, and useful sidekicks to ever step foot in an adventure game.
The demo gives you around an hour’s worth of play, with access to three areas; the circus grounds, a shoreline and some ruins, you have only a couple of small problems to solve, but they are tricky enough to get caught out if you are not in the right frame of mind, however there is a very useful hotspot system; by pressing the spacebar you are shown all the interactive items on the screen, which proved very handy during certain parts of the demo; why has no one thought of this before is beyond me! The system for interaction is much like that used in Curse of Monkey Island; where a click and hold gives you the option of look, speak and touch.
After just an hour of playing I am already hooked, I cannot wait to find out the adventures that await Sadwick, and I do so hope that it is an adventure game worthy of praise I give it, The Whispered World is out 23rd April 2010 for Windows PC, and if the demo is anything to judge by, this game is going to be fantastic, perhaps even this decade’s equivalent to the Longest Journey.