When you have no nobody around you to rely on, you have to learn to trust in yourself. Or the other solution is to bend time and utilise many versions of yourself. And that’s exactly what Flat Head Studio offers in its latest puzzle game We Are One. Merging a critical take on current environmental issues with VR puzzle gameplay, in our We Are One review for Meta Quest 2, XR Source finds a videogame burning with ambition yet lacking the expression of others in this field.
In the world of We Are One you play as a newly awakened seedling tasked with one goal, stop the destruction of the forest. Evoking scenes from many an apocalyptic sci-fi movie, machines have begun to ravage a once green and verdant land. To halt this environmental massacre you need to team up with yourself, creating time loops to pass weapons and other useful items between your alter egos.
Captain Planet time!
We Are One is essentially a puzzle game merged with a wave shooter. You’re given fixed positions to start from, with the goal of destroying every enemy insight as quickly as possible. This is primarily achieved by loading up a Shootbranch with ammo and picking the machines off one by one.
Levels are arranged so you can’t complete the goal from a single location by yourself. Puzzles invariably involve passing guns between your various iterations, ammo or other items. As the game progresses you’ll be able to use shields to defend yourself and repel enemy fire. Things start to get complicated once multiple time loops are employed in the later levels. Timing actions so they all perfectly intertwine with three, four or more of you is a fun headscratcher.
Muck up a time loop and you can redo the very last one. Needing to redo any more involves restarting the entire level again. And if the destruction of forests wasn’t enough, We Are One encourages the ultimate sacrifice, shooting other saplings for the greater good. This game is darkly brutal!
Time is of the essence
Graphically, I love the look of We Are One. It’s a very stylish cel-shaded aesthetic that’s both rich in detail and vibrant in colour. What I would’ve liked though is a bit more flexibility in the puzzles, as a lot of the 50 levels are very linear in nature. Most tend to offer only one solution, so there’s trial and error trying to find it. The game really shone for me when there was greater freedom to complete each one, much like The Last Clockwinder. A similar time loop puzzler, The Last Clockwinder gives you complete freedom to “play”, generating more of an immersive bond with the game.
We Are One isn’t a particularly long puzzle game, most will likely finish it in 3-4 hours depending on if they get stuck – a basic hints system is available for when they do. The real hook is that We Are One is built around speedruns Every level is timed and Flat Head Studio has included a “Ghost Replay” option so you can save your best puzzle-solving sequences. You can also view top replays from other players.
We Are One review conclusion
When it comes to time loop puzzle mechanics We Are One does an excellent job. The levels are enjoyable and well thought out, even if the difficulty does ebb and flow somewhat. Great to look at, easy to pick up, and with only arm-based movement to worry about We Are One is ideal for VR players no matter their experience. It suits seated and standing play and for the competitive among you, knocking those times down is an ever-increasing challenge.