This past weekend, I was lucky enough to try out the demo for survival horror Whisper Mountain: Outbreak. This isometric co-op horror sees you and three other players trying to survive a strange curse that has befallen a sleepy town in 1998.
That’s right folks, you’re a part of a small ragtag group that comes into a town that has horrifying monsters born from the corpses of the townsfolk in the 90s. Sound familiar? Well if it does it’s because Toge Productions, the team behind Whisper Mountain: Outbreak understands what makes a compelling, fun and cheeky PVE survival horror. By giving players callbacks, easter eggs and so much more they welcome all of us into their interpretation of a horror. Then they add their own flavour with a charming graphical choice mixed with a disturbing level aesthetic this makes Whisper Mountain: Outbreak an enjoyable experience.
What first struck me about Whisper Mountain: Outbreak was its charming 2.5D visuals. The resurgence of this graphical style, for me, has been genuinely thrilling. I love this art style because it adds to the retro aesthetic of the narrative. It feels like being in another corner of the Resident Evil universe. While everything is happening in Racoon City, across the country something even more disturbing is happening on Mt. Bisik, where this game is set.
Dipping a toe into the madness of Whisper Mountain: Outbreak with my friends
So when my friends and I booted up the demo, we tried a few rounds ranging from 3 of us to a full group of 4 players. The level the demo gave us access to was the Hospital and this level is riddled with corpses, monsters and demonic symbols.
The goal of the level is to get away in a truck and we’d have to refuel it and fit in a new battery. Unfortunately, both the fuel and the battery are deep in the bowels of the hospital. To get to them you’ll have to get past horrors, multiple puzzles of varying degrees of complexity and work with your team.
We only had one or two issues with our game, so the biggest problems we ran into were our level of incompetence and hordes of the undead. Speaking of the hordes, the game works on a system of every couple minutes your group will be swarmed by a growing number of corpses. I’m not sure if the hordes grew in number as we played, but it felt like they did.
The funniest part of the game for me involved one of my friends who did not know how to communicate with the rest of us, so he’d regularly disappear while we were trying to stay together. The game doesn’t have an inbuilt communication system, instead instead relying on a wheel of commands. We didn’t like that, so we hopped onto Discord and worked together from there.
So we worked our way through the hospital, killing corpses and getting the items we needed. I have to give a shoutout to the puzzles though. They were numerous and varied in style. I was impressed by the different puzzles we had to tackle. There was the usual lockpick game where you’d have to time it right to unlock doors.
There are however several other types of puzzles, there was a sound matching puzzle, a vault puzzle where you have to find the correct code and there’s even a fun three-letter puzzle that involves reading up on the World Cup. And to keep from repetition, whenever you start a new game the codes change. It’s this kind of element that allows for replayability.
One of the other factors that was fun was the various weapons that we had access to. We all had bats but with the stamina gauge, you have to be wary. You run out of stamina and you are useless. Thankfully there are other weapons. Players have access to a shotgun, a pistol and an SMG, and for those superfans of the genre, there is the mythical revolver, but you’ll have to find that one yourself.
The weapons don’t lower your stamina but they do run on limited ammo as well as your limited inventory size. Much like games like Resident Evil, it’s a juggling act to find the balance between space for items you need for puzzles, ammo and health. It’s a challenge even with a full team, but a welcome one.
I have to say, I’ve no problems with Whisper Mountain: Outbreak. I do have several notes though. When the game fully releases I hope they improve on every aspect of this demo. I’m hoping for more weapons, maybe some knives that are faster, but don’t deal as much damage. I’d hope there are more modes, perhaps a time attack mode, maybe one where there is friendly fire making the game even harder. I hope that they’ll introduce an inbuilt chat system for the game to add further ambience to the game.
There is a lot to enjoy within these eerie mountains and I know from past experiences with Toge Productions (check out my review and article about A Space for the Unbound to learn more) that they can easily improve on what we have right now. I’m looking forward to visiting Mt. Brisik again.