Whimsy is, like its title indicates, a whimsical point-and-click puzzle game that is open to all. A terrific game with fantastic music and art design, with a finale that leaves you in awe. It’s pretty short and can be completed in under an hour unless you get stuck on particular challenges. It’s not too horrible, for the most part. We’re not puzzle experts, but it took us a while to figure out some of it.
The narrative of Whimsy is about a girl who has always lived in the forest. She wakes up one morning to see small crimson footprints outside her door. She pursues them, as any fearless protagonist would. They guide her into the forest, where she meets new woodland friends (and foes) and solves delightful puzzles.
There are many different sorts of puzzle games, but they may be classified into two categories: those where the puzzles are the only focus and those where the puzzles cannot operate without the context. While both have strengths, the ones of the second type are usually the most interesting to us: unlike the first, they don’t always have established rules and, even if they still require a solution planned by the developer to work, they give you the impression that you had a choice in how to solve them.
The second type of puzzle game is Whimsy: similar to an escape room, you must look around you for clues, but you can completely stumble on the solution in different ways respecting other players; there is no single way to play the game and sometimes you can solve a puzzle even before you notice the clues you needed. This enriches the adventure and, in some ways, makes it more enjoyable.
Like other puzzle games of this type, there is an aura of mystery surrounding the puzzles, and the imagery can be quite creepy in appearance, but the game is actually very serene or even funny: the characters in Whimsy are monstrous beings, but they are always nice to the player, never threatening them; it appears that everyone is having a good time in this strange world, which makes the game feel quite unique.
As other reviewers have said about Whimsy, it’s reminiscent of the Rusty Lake games in that the setting is a little surreal, the characters are enigmatic and mostly here to spout cryptic words, and the puzzles are enjoyable without being very difficult. We adore the background music, which is both subtle and appropriate for the scenario. The art style is distinct and intriguing.
The four dials where you need to be pretty accurate in their location baffled us, and we had to retake it (click out and re-click the puzzle) a few times before eventually comprehending it. There looked to be a bug with the bird, as it vanished from the table after being revealed by the potion, yet clicking in that spot brought it into the inventory as intended. We also found the writing tone to be a little uneven, occasionally joking, but generally mysterious, which we liked.
Unfortunately, the Whimsy game was pretty problematic and not that appealing to play if you are colorblind (like one of our colleagues). We liked the mood and wacky environment, but the puzzles were sometimes frustrating and unintuitive – this game wants you to focus on vision rather than logic, which we would be happy with if done better. The story is simplistic and never fully developed, and we wish the overarching message was shown throughout the game rather than at the end.
We’ve played two games by this developer so far, and we can see that the developer is still struggling with technical parts of game creation, but we enjoy the ingenuity and strange theme of the narrative (we thought the ending was very cool). We would suggest providing a dependable mechanism to close any text that displays over the game; it was occasionally stopping us from moving around and we had no idea where to click. Also, we believe one of the riddles solved itself, the one requiring you to arrange colorful cubes to obtain a water bag(?) (in an area with the dog).