Ouya isn't mentioned often anymore outside of cautionary tales. The short-lived console was a trailblazer for crowdfunding but ultimately didn't win many gamers over with its lack of titles worth mentioning. One of the few that did gain acclaim, however, is Whispering Willows
, a horror-adventure sidescroller from indie studio NightLight Interactive. Xbox One and Windows 10 gamers will soon get to try the moody title themselves when it's published via ID@Xbox.
The story centers around Elena, a young girl out to solve her father's disappearance using her ability of astral projection. With her mysterious amulet, she can transform into spirit form to solve puzzles, help others in purgatory, and combat more sinister specters. As it's been out on Ouya and PC for a while, there is plenty of gameplay to browse on YouTube if you're curious. We also received a collection of screens, or you can scroll to check out the game's trailer.
NightLight's David Logan said the original vision for the game was focused on what gameplay would be like as a ghost, but as writer Kyle Holmquist shaped the story, it evolved into players utilizing both spectral and corporeal forms of Elena. Holmquist also adds that the story is inspired by the conflicting versions of stories when Euopeans first arrived in North America. "The natives told stories of being enslaved and murdered, while the history books claim a more peaceful approach to the relations between whites and natives. We wanted to show that duality to players," he said.
Logan said horror games so often have players running through their worlds out of fright that players miss out on the sometimes beautiful visuals, so Whispering Willows
allows players to explore every "nook and cranny" of the Willows Mansion. The game has also been lauded for the music composed by Steve Goldshein and both developers believe the artwork overall was a huge draw when the game first came to Kickstarter. The game's vulnerable but ultimately strong female protagonist is also an asset, says Holmquist. "Elena is a strong girl, but we also made sure to keep her human; she has her moments of being scared, sad, and even angry. Those are aspects I really strove to portray in the game."
The title was revealed on a PlayStation blog to be releasing for PS4 and Vita on June 30th. That could mean Xbox will get it the following day, July 1st, but no confirmation has been passed to us so far. We've reached out to NightLight and will update this story as necessary. The Windows 10 release is also due at a date following the platform's late July launch.