Reviews - Updated on April 7, 2022

Puzzles based on the use of the unique abilities of different characters, between which you need to intelligently switch, have become popular for a very long time. The trendsetter in this direction can be called The Lost Vikings, the first major game from Blizzard Entertainment (then the company was called Silicon & Synapse)? published back in 1992. Since then, in such projects, as a rule, the usual formula has been used: one character is strong, but slow, the other is fast, but weak, and stuff like that. The authors of Weakless, it would seem, decided to diversify this scheme, making one hero blind and the other deaf. But they still came up with variations on the Strong/Fast theme.

My own director

The disabled characters in Weakless are “twigs,” fictional arboreal creatures on a journey to save their native forest from ecological disaster. “An extraordinary story and a fascinating exploration of the world” – the promises from the press release lie. There is practically no history as such, it is presented only indirectly, including through cave paintings, although even without that the message is banal to the point of yawning. The forest is bad, there are some pipes and mechanisms all around, muck flows from the pipes, Rot is coming, and we need to restore the source of life-giving resin.

It is on this mission that the Blind and the Deaf are sent. There are no dialogues, cutscenes, cutscenes, humor or, on the contrary, no drama – we just go from point A to point B, overcoming obstacles and solving puzzles along the way. Yes, there are already mentioned rock paintings and other sketches, which, in theory, also reveal the world and history, but in this case, it was clearly possible to do more and better. Sometimes they are allowed to get distracted and turn off somewhere, so that the Deaf One makes a new sketch in his journal, and the Blind One finds a new unusual musical instrument and plays it. But, you see, it is difficult to call it “an exciting study of the world.”

Serving the number

These sketches in a magazine and performances on musical instruments are the only thing that gives out living characters in our heroes. And here I am again forced to point out the lies from the official description. “Cheerful good girl Deaf warms the closed introvert Blind with his cheerful disposition. And the calm and balanced Blind takes care of the fidgety Deaf” – where all this is in the game itself is completely incomprehensible. Hints of real concern, which smells like the promised “story of a strange and silent friendship”, appear briefly only in the finale.Weakless game review

These are our heroes looking at clues.

Blind deaf comrade?

The rest of the time, our heroes serve as tools for solving puzzles. And the latter are repeated over and over again throughout a very small game and have little to do with the declared physical disabilities of the characters. Yes, by switching to Blind, you will only see black and white outlines of objects in a small radius, but it’s great to hear what is making noise, playing or rumbling around. But the Deaf sees perfectly in full color, but the sounds in this case are either completely turned off or become muffled.

But these are only external manifestations, which are very few and rarely reflected in the gameplay itself. And the gameplay of Weakless often comes down to standard exercises. Blind, as the classic “strong” character in this duet, pushes heavy stones and boxes to clear the way, create a platform for the Deaf to move, or, for example, move him, standing on such a box, to the right place where a friend can continue moving.

And Deaf, being faster and more agile, sometimes does acrobatics to get where a friend can’t. But most often he uses the fruit tied to the head, and with its help activates elevators and elevators, makes water lilies bloom in order to cross the swamp through them, or pushes the thickets of plants that prevent the Blind One from passing. Also, he often stands on a pressure platform, which releases a bridge from the branches – of course, the second character moves along it. Sometimes heroes need to stand on such platforms at the same time.

Weakless game review

The architecture and design in the game is really interesting.

The ending doesn’t save

All these, I repeat, are puzzles for the interaction of two characters with unique abilities that are standard for such games. I generally keep quiet about the movement of heavy objects – this is not even a standard and a stamp, but vulgarity, if you like. At the same time, we manage the lion’s share of the time precisely with the one who sees – he moves faster, and in general, most situations are associated with his skills.

But the Blind One all the way in the right sequence knocks with his staff on special points decorated with strange runes, which allows you to climb higher or lower on a huge platform and move on in the story – this puzzle does not change throughout the game.

And only in the finale, really interesting things begin – there are more unusual situations, and a feeling of real interaction and help. For example, in pitch darkness, the Blind One takes the Deaf One by the hand and leads, guided by hearing, when the next trap is triggered. In another situation, when a slow brancher hears nothing, and therefore cannot properly navigate, they change places. But, unfortunately, these are only isolated cases that end quickly, as the game itself ends soon.

This is how, according to the authors, the blind see the world.

***

The only thing that was successful in Weakless was music using unusual instruments like oud, nice art, and really beautiful, sometimes even impressive landscapes. But even here it is not without a fly in the ointment. Given the clunky animations, slow movement, and intermittent texture stutters, navigating through these beauties is a joy to behold.

The result is a cool concept, but useless implementation. This is all the more offensive because the idea is really original, and the authors themselves at the end showed how it can be really interesting to reveal. What prevented them from making the whole game like this? They probably didn’t hear their testers and didn’t see what all this would lead to.

Pros: original gameplay concept with interaction between the blind and the deaf; beautiful landscapes; atmospheric ambient.

Cons: there is really no plot; the characters are poorly developed; puzzles are constantly repeated and almost do not use the original concept; bad animation; characters can get stuck in textures.

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