Game: WHALIEN – Unexpected Guests
Genre: Adventure, Casual, Indie
System: Steam (Windows)
Developer | Publisher: Forbidden Folds
Controller Support: Full controller support.
Price: USD $ TBD | UK £ TBD | EU € TBD
Release Date: January 24th, 2023
Review code used, with many thanks to Press Engine.
The end of January is almost here, starting an excellent year for long waited titles. Yet, to begin on the right foot, Forbidden Folds has brought a unique, short, and quirky experience that can keep players entertained for a little while.
A Loyal Worker and Fin the Flying Machine
WHALIEN – Unexpected Guests set their plot in a world where humans have no more space in their current world, so Whaley Wonky (indeed, there is a whale concept here) built a flying machine. Inside, many people lived, ate, and spent their days until the Squiddies, pink slimy alien beings, appeared inside the machine, causing issues and mischief.
Fin, the AI of the flying machine, constantly feels the Squiddies inside of it; sadly, all the people left the ship thinking it was a lost cause. Nevertheless, one loyal and altruistic worker, Ernest Hemingwhale stayed behind to help Fin. This hero does his best to help Fin, who has been his friend and home.
Even though the humans left Fin, some personalities are left to assist Ernest in his quest to get rid of the Squiddles. They are called the Springpeople. They try to keep everything working as it should, but once chaos boards the flying machine, they help Ernest by guiding him and sometimes giving him skills.
Some Springpeople ask for Ernest’s help, while others just mention a random fact. Still, they are friendly, funny, and extremely helpful when the time comes.
A Fin-tastic World!
WHALIEN – Unexpected Guests is a pretty straightforward adventure, but don’t think that means there are no secrets or exploration inside Fin. Filled with colorful rooms of the ship and clever mechanisms to move from place to place, this flying machine has it all. Besides an absurd amount of Squiddies chilling around, there are other things to find, for example, stickers that Ernest collects in his notebook, and it is usually harder to find or get to them.
Playing the whole adventure inside the ship sounds small in terms of location, but Fin is not any ship and, indeed, is bigger and more complex than it sounds. Based on a whale, it has a good amount of elevators and rooms.
One of the highlights of this game is its gameplay. It is easy to learn, with a smooth tutorial that does not feel forced or tiring. The only actions Ernest can do are to walk, jump, and pull and push things with his special gloves. This allows him to move around inside Fin through air vents or reach specific places and get rid of the Squiddies.
The puzzles in the game are challenging enough to enjoy the journey, and it flows with smooth movement and pleasing animations. When Mr and Mrs Push a Pull enter the scenario as Ernest’s gadgets, the player can interact with almost every object in the environment.
Colorful and Quirky
The visuals are spot on, together with the concept and the mechanics. It is recognizable the dedication of the developer behind it. That, together with the occasional dialogue and funny sounds, made the experience not only enjoyable but funny. The relationship between Fin and Ernest is cute and goofy, and each encounter with other characters is entertaining.
WHALIEN – Unexpected Guests is a game that does only a few things but does them quite well. It plays well, looks good, and offers an enjoyable adventure. That being said, it is a very short game that can be finished in one, if not two, sittings. It lasts 2-3 hours, which can be a positive thing sometimes. It is perfect for a simple, enjoyable, quick experience or a free weekend.
Final Verdict: Two Thumbs Up.