“I sat in the dark and thought: There’s no big apocalypse. Just an endless procession of little ones.” – Neil Gaiman
We Stay Behind tells a mysterious tale set between dreams and reality. There is a comet set to devastate a small town, yet its inhabitants refuse to leave. Players must interview the residents of Laburnum Creek, explore the national park and discover the secrets within the curious town.
Developer: Backwoods Entertainment
Platforms: Windows, Mac
Available on: Steam
Engine: Unreal Engine
The We Stay Behind demo exhibits quite casual gameplay that consists of light exploration and conversations with various NPCs. It is reminiscent of a walking simulator or interactive fiction. This relaxed style of gameplay suits the experience well as it allows the player to focus on the less light-hearted narrative. For extra ease, it is possible to fast-travel between different locations using the in-game map. However, the demo appears to begin some way into the game so it is unclear whether this ability would need to be unlocked in the full experience or not.
The demo begins as the protagonist, Laura, arrives at a former spa resort and is greeted by a lady named Maggie who makes her some tea. Laura explains that she is a journalist writing a book and is advised to speak to some of the local remaining residents. Even within the short length of the demo, the drama inherent in the narrative and the conflict this causes between the different characters is quite apparent and rather gripping. The We Stay Behind demo is short but very intriguing, building suspense as the player engages with different NPCs and finally culminating on an intense cliffhanger.
The We Stay Behind demo has a stylised look and features some lovely, detailed 3D artwork in slightly muted colour palettes that are vibrant in places. The character models are a touch simpler but are distinct and fit the scenes well. The music includes melodic piano tracks that are very calm and gentle but can also increase in intensity during the narrative’s more dramatic moments. Ambient sound effects such as the birds chirping and water running help immerse the player in the outdoor environment and bring the national park to life. Overall, the game has a pleasing aesthetic that fits the gameplay and story nicely.
This demo will take around 30-45 minutes to complete and presents an intriguing glimpse into the full game. The narrative is mysterious and engaging with well-written dialogue and the gameplay is low-pressure and relaxing allowing the player to focus on the story. The art is lightly stylised and uses a clever mix of muted colours and subtle lighting to create a range of atmospheres across different scenes. Similarly, the sound design is evocative and immersive. Overall, the We Stay Behind demo has me curious, I recommend it to anyone looking for a mystery adventure with laid-back gameplay and am thoroughly looking forward to the game’s full release.
Looking for more waking simulators? Check out these reviews:
Paradise Lost – An Emotional Alternate History Walking Simulator – Dear Esther: The OG Walking-Simulator – The Search – An Abstract Delve into the Barriers to Creativity