There aren’t many games that can only be played in co-op, but there’s a handful.
Hazelight Studios has somewhat cornered the market on the niche, what with A Way Out and It Takes Two. But it’s not alone in its quest to make gaming more co-operative: Total Mayhem Games is hot on its tail with the We Were Here series. It’s been around longer, in fact, with the first game, We Were Here, launching back in 2017. Since then we’ve had We Were Here Too, We Were Here Together and finally, the most recent release which has just landed on console, We Were Here Forever.
Each game in the series can only be played in online co-op, and you’re going to have to communicate with your partner if you want to succeed. You’ll often both be in different locations, for example, and so you may only have one half of a puzzle solution, with your partner holding valuable information. An in-game walkie-talkie ties the series together and so you’re going to have to frequently speak into it, with a microphone set up so you can talk through solutions with your partner.
Related: The Best Online Co-op Games on PS5
We Were Here Forever first launched on PC back in 2022, but as of this week it’s now available on consoles. Starting up the game, you and your partner will find yourself in different parts of an eerie-looking prison. You’ve got a door that needs a code, and a code scribbled on the wall – but the two don’t go together. You’ll need to communicate your code to your partner, and vice versa, if you want to escape.
It won’t be long until you and your partner meet for the first time, though, when you’re thrust into a bigger room filled with lots of smaller puzzles to solve your way through. We Were Here Forever holds back no punches when it comes to puzzle design, and some of what you encounter will really test your grey matter. But two heads are better than one, as they say, and by working together, you’ll be able to overcome whatever the game throws at you.
Thankfully, there is a baked-in hint system in the menu if you’re really stuck, with most puzzles offering a set of three hints. You’ll need to wait 30 seconds before accessing subsequent hints, though, and the first is purposefully vague as to deter you from using them. Of course, figuring out a puzzle completely on your own is always more rewarding. But it’s nice to know there’s something to fall back on.
It helps that We Were Here Forever looks great, too, at least on PS5. Its slightly cartoonish, fantastical aesthetic is beautiful to look at, and environments are a joy to explore. Even in the dark, dank cells you start in, there’s plenty of detail – and that only grows as you move to new environments. Moving from one area of the game to the next is quite the trip, as you’re never quite sure what to expect.
Is it a shame you can’t play We Were Here Forever by yourself? Maybe: after all, needing to grab an online friend or matchmake with a stranger is going to be a barrier to some. But it’s an understandable barrier: this is a game designed with co-operation in mind, and a version of the game that could be played alone would make for a completely different experience. There are plenty of single-player puzzle games already. Testing your brain in co-op, particularly if you’re playing with a loved one, is a wonderful experience, and We Were Here Forever does it so well.
We Were Here Forever is available now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC.