The forest is in danger and it’s up to two unlikely heroes to save it. It’s nature versus machine but without the use of actual people. Take control of Blind and Deaf in Weakless, who are tree people called Weavelings. As you can imagine, they are called that because one can’t hear and one can’t see. Working together is critical, and you must switch between the two in order to solve puzzles and traverse the forest. It’s a very casual game that really has no enemies, but instead has a kind of realization that something is wrong and about to get worse.
Here’s what I liked:
Fresh World — The forest is a pleasant place to be. It’s kind of a peaceful world and there’s no real violence you have to face. There is a little bit of lore spread about, and the collectibles help you see highlighted viewpoints and musical instruments. This coincides with each of the characters. The blind one likes music and the deaf one loves art. One of my favorite scenes is when you stumble upon a sleeping slug and have to have Blind hit the chime that he’s asleep on (I think that’s what it is). It seems like a simple scene, but it’s your first encounter and at this point, you might think it will attack you. Most of the world consists of little lights that appear on the creatures as well as on nature. It gives a bit of a “living forest” feel.
Sherlock Trees— Besides one annoying task, puzzles are simple yet fun and you’ll feel accomplished completing them. A lot of it is navigating the world. While switching between the two characters can cause bugs, checkpoints usually make it less annoying. If you’re looking for something you can enjoy and complete in one sitting, this does both. I liked how Blind was able to hit things with his staff to produce soundwaves. It made a few of the puzzles feel unique to this game. As Deaf, you could count on some light platforming to navigate the forest and to help Blind get around. Sometimes it’s nice to play a game where you don’t have to overthink things and never get really stuck. That is except one puzzle using conveyor belts, but that was the only tricky one.
Here’s what I didn’t like:
Buddy System — Two pals; one blind and one deaf; using one another’s senses to navigate the world. It seems great on paper. Getting it right is actually quite difficult. The blind character can use his staff to produce sound and get kind of a Daredevil’s view of things (image produced by soundwave). Maybe more people will get what I’m talking about if I say it’s like a bat or a whale’s echolocation. The surroundings are usually pretty, so using the blind one to navigate is never very interesting. You’re also a bit slower. So most of the game you’ll likely be only using the other character who is deaf instead. Using both to solve puzzles can be entertaining, but annoying glitches can cause some reloading of your checkpoint. The blind one just not following or getting stuck somewhere can be a small hassle. Many times I had trouble with platforms that raise and lower. One of the worst puzzles was when I was forced to use the blind guy. The deaf one fell down onto a system of moving belts. I had to roam around pulling switches, but you’re not only in black and white but the layering is awful. You can barely see what directions the buttons are making the little friend move. It’s a pretty subpar system that could have utilized the senses more than it did.
What The Trunk is Going On — There’s no clear explanation of what is happening. Your goal is to get from point A to B and help a giant tree survive. The characters don’t talk, nor is there any type of narration. Because of the lack of information, I will give you my guess which I don’t think is a spoiler. There is one scene you can find early in the game in which a UFO flies up and leaves. If you factor the ancient civilization feel and the fact that there are no humans, it might be safe to assume the whole planet looks like a forest and aliens are invading. I called the alien spacecraft a UFO because, without imagination, they just used the generic circular spacecraft seen since the beginning of movies. If this is really what the story about, it’s hidden in one scene that’s considered a secret, and is not on the normal route through the game. I think the world deserves a better story than the one I am assuming. If I’m wrong, then the story isn’t clear enough to appreciate.
A fascinating world with luscious forestry and an intriguing species. You can tell a lot of passion went into developing it. The puzzles are quite simple but still satisfying to complete. It’s short, which isn’t usually an issue for me, but the pacing seemed a bit off. I felt as if I were in the middle of a game because of how the puzzles go from easy to moderate in difficulty. Even though you have two characters to control, most of the time you’ll be using Deaf since he is fast and you can really appreciate the beautiful world. There are a decent amount of tweaks that could really enhance the experience while playing, specifically fixed bugs and a narrator to tell the story as if it was being read to you like a book.
Score: Reader’s Choice
Weakless was published and developed by Punk Notion on Xbox One. It was released on December 13, 2019, for $19.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.