Whispering Willows: Help a Young Girl Harness the Powers of Heritage to Save Her Father
When adults fail, move aside–a teenage girl is here to save the day. Elena’s father Elkhorn, a groundskeeper for the mysterious and malevolent Willows estate, has gone missing and the tween has no choice but to arm herself and venture forth. Along the way, she learns the secrets of Wortham Willows, an ambitious settler who led a group of white colonists into the Wild West, destroying the lives of his friends and the Elkhorn tribe in the process.
Of course, the story doesn’t end there. Aggressive settlers violently displacing native people is not a new story, and so Whispering Willows adds shades of grey by providing the perspective of the Elkhorn tribe through the lens of Flying Hawk, a shaman. All of this, naturally, filtered through Elena’s increasingly disturbed point of view as she attempts to understand what happened and how it pertains to her father.
Whispering Willows shines when it comes to depicting how motivations and prejudice fuel the actions of each individual, and the supernatural world it creates is both lovely and creepy. Eerie noises rattle from within empty cages–but Elena unlocks her spirit form and sees bony white creatures struggling to escape. Of course, not all spirits are so easily contained, and while some may be willing to trade with Elena and help her, others simply want her dead.
The gameplay is unfortunately slow–Elena has a tendency to plod and the game never quite builds up the sense of urgency you’d think she’d have–but the story and worldbuilding are strong enough to hold interest.