The Whispered World

Genre:   Adventure

Developer:  Daedalic Entertainment

Publisher:    Viva Media

Released:  May 2010

PC Requirements:   Windows 2K/XP/Vista, Pentium 4, 2.0 GHz or 100% compatible CPU, 512 MB RAM, 256 video memory, 2.5 GB available hard disk space , DirectX 9,0c 


Additional Screenshots



by gremlin


What is it?

What is it that tops the polls when we adventure gamers are asked what makes us play games in our favoured genre? It is plot, narrative, and story line every time. What do we complain about most? Repetitive sequels, copies, and knock-offs. So it is with pleasure that I write about a game that is most clearly none of these.

The Whispered World is a highly original story about a depressed clown, his pet caterpillar, and the end of the world. The game was developed by Daedalic Entertainment, and published by Viva Media – neither of which has a particularly high profile in adventure games, though they have had an association with Deck 13 Interactive (Ankh, Jack Keane, Venetica) in the past.

Is there a plot?

Sadwick is a clown; a depressed clown, with a large caterpillar for a pet. Sadwick lives and works in a small travelling circus with his brother, Ben, and their Grandpa. Sadwick is depressed because his brother treats him as if he is completely worthless, and because he suffers from the same nightmare every night, in which he is responsible for the end of the world. Of course, Sadwick doesn't want to be the cause of the end of the world, and so he resolves to do all that he can to avoid this fate. This leads to Sadwick's exploration of the Autumn Forest, and his journey to Corona – the home of the King.

How do you play?

The Whispered World is, at least in terms of mechanics, a conventional point-n-click adventure game. There are multiple hotspots in most of the scenes, which show a label when you move the mouse over them, and which will all show up if you press and hold the space bar. Exits are shown by the mouse pointer turning into a large red arrow. For the most part, Sadwick only walks, but double-clicking on an exit will usually make him jump to the exit without walking across the whole scene. There were times when Sadwick's pace was frustrating: those moments when you realise what you need is several screens away. But this is one of those games where you just have to relax a little, and go with the slightly slower pace.

Although The Whispered World has some controls that are on the keyboard (the hotspot indicator, the quick save key and so on) all that you actually need to play the game is the mouse. However, in order to make this work, the mouse has to be able to indicate three different types of actions on any given hotspot; look at the hotspot, interact with the hotspot, and talk to or about the hotspot. These actions are accessed by left clicking and holding the mouse button down for a bit longer than usual – this gives you a pop-up menu of the three action icons. I have to say that this was not an immediately obvious way of achieving this. 

Sadwick's inventory of possessions is accessed with a right-click, which was also not immediately obvious, but easier to find than the actions menu. In the inventory, you can combine items quite logically – trying every item with every other item rarely achieves much because the combinations are few and quite far between. Sadwick will talk about all the items, and all the hotspots, which helps to provide a rich texture of interaction with the world.

The puzzles within The Whispered World are varied. Some are inventory based, some are dialogue based, and some are logic puzzles that require a number of pieces of information from around the environment. One solution even depends upon the direction in which you pass through a particular door. There is a sliding tiles puzzle, which I found nicely challenging, but not too difficult. There are no puzzles that rely upon subtle colour distinctions, nor are there any mazes or sound-based puzzles. There are one or two small puzzles where timing is relevant, but none where it is difficult.

Notable Features

All the artwork in The Whispered World is hand-drawn and shaded, but very beautifully done. The environments are varied and atmospheric, and about 10 scenes scroll horizontally or vertically, leading to a nice parallax effect of foreground and background objects moving relative to one another as the scene scrolls with Sadwick's movement. Actually, that effect is put to use in one of the later puzzles too. Sadwick's story takes us from the arboreal Autumn Forest, to a village encrusted precipitously about the summit of a rocky island, to a hermit's hovel, and a complex of subterranean cliff dwellings (if that's not too much of a contradiction in terms), then to the oddest railway station I've ever encountered, and finally to a floating castle in the sky that includes an orrery of substantial size, and thence to the end of the world.

There is quite a substantial amount of dialogue in The Whispered World, much of it spoken by Sadwick; but there's plenty for Ben, Grandpa and the rest of the cast of 22 voiced characters to say. At the beginning of the story, when I first heard Sadwick (played by Robert Lyons), I thought I would grow to really dislike the voice. However the story is so sympathetic to Sadwick that I didn't find this at all. In fact all the voice performers give good performances – they are varied, clear and entertaining, and none of them can be accused of 'just phoning it in'. The bad guys are... not exactly all that bad – more theatrical – but some of the odd characters you'll meet along the way seem more than terrified of some cute little orange birds. This is a peculiar game; a comment that I think you'll find bears no contradiction.

There don't appear to be many sound effects in the game other than speech, music and Spot's varied noises. This is not a problem, as there is always appropriate music in the background. The music itself is orchestral in style, and it is all of good, if not outstanding, quality. The overall package is well presented, and pretty much bug-free in my experience of the retail version.

Any other novelties?

I have to say that the most novel feature of The Whispered World is the mighty, morphing Spot. From early in the game, Spot can take two forms, and he gains several more forms as the plot develops. His varied forms give him different capabilities and physical properties, all of which are used in solutions to puzzles throughout the game. You can access Spot's varied forms as they become available via a fold-down menu (like a page in a book) in the top-right-hand corner of the screen.


In the end, it is hard to fault the originality of the story of The Whispered World, or the excellent hand painted graphics, and the exemplary voice acting of this game. There are just a few moments in which a little clumsiness crept in: the action pop-up menu, for example. In fact, it is really only the clichéd resolution of the story that left me feeling a little let down, and thus the less than perfect grade.

Grade: B+

What do you need to play it?

Recommended Requirements:

  • MS Windows XP (min. SP2) or MS Windows Vista
  • 2 GHz CPU
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 256 MB RAM GPU
  • DirectX® Version 9.0c
  • DVD-Drive
  • Keyboard, Mouse

(I used a home built 64-bit Vista Home Premium SP1 PC running on an AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual 5200+, with 6 GB RAM, and a Sapphire Radeon HD4670 512MB video card with mother-board sound card)


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