Hey, we should talk. You know…about We Should Talk? Sorry. I had to.
‘We should talk’ are dreaded words for most of us. These three lonely syllables are so threatening to everything we hold dear, and immediately send us scrabbling for salvation. Well, that’s what this game is all about. Despite how depressing that might sound, I really wanted to review this game, lovingly brought to us by Insatiable Cycle and Whitethorn. My expectations were in good hands, because I loved it.
I was drawn to We Should Talk because I’m a sucker for good narrative games, character-driven experiences and stories. I’m a lover of books, words, language, nuance, and all that comes in between. This game perfectly illustrates exactly what I love about words. It highlights all that is incredible and frustrating about language.
We Should Talk is about a relationship that’s facing some difficulties. You’ll play as a character at a bar, and as the night passes, you’ll spend some of your time talking to a number of people. This includes other people at the bar, who will often try to get into your pants because let’s face it, you’re hot. You’ll also spend some time texting your partner, who’s back at home and has some worries about the relationship.
Your job is to select your words carefully to ensure that your relationship survives the night. Of course, you can and might even be encouraged to play the opposite way if you so wish, annihilating the relationship like the anarchist you are – gotta get those achievements, amirite? – but I like to think the aim is to help it to survive. I’m a hopeless romantic and I get way too drawn into these stories about people made of pixels…Anyway, the tagline is ‘Can your relationship survive the night?’, so that’s me convinced!
Each narrative selection element is done in several parts, which is really refreshing: I don’t like the way so many games put you squarely in a certain box when you select a certain response. This game, on the contrary, creates endless opportunities for answers and provides the nuance other games are lacking.
By ‘several parts’, what I basically mean is that you’ll be asked to create a sentence, which will be separated into, say, three segments. You’ll be asked to choose from a number of options for each segment, so there’s loads of possibilities as to what you can produce.
Playing this game, unless you just want to watch the world burn, you’re forced to think deeply about each choice of language, a luxury we squander all too often in real life – and you’ll have to deal with the consequences of bad choices, some of which are really quite brutal. What does the way I’m saying communicate to this person? Does this phrase place the blame on another, leading to a potentially tense situation? Am I being understanding?
I think there’s actually a potential that everyone could learn a lot from this game, particularly about how our words communicate different sentiments. All of these choices will bring you to a number of different endings, some that will be heart-breaking.
Artistically, this game is also nice to look at. The graphics are fairly simple, but smooth and gorgeously colourful with some lovely neon lighting and pink-blue-purple colour palettes that are an aesthetic dream. The chill music playing in the background adds to this beautiful experience.
At £5.59/ $6.99 (£5.19 on Steam), We Should Talk is a really cool narrative-driven game to add to your collection. Each run is super short and sweet, which gives you all the more opportunity to go back and try a different path as many times as you like. It’s out now for PC, Mac and Nintendo Switch.