Bonjour, mon ami! Looking for a detective adventure in French? Perhaps The Whispering Valley is the game for you, or shall we say, La Vallée Qui Murmure? We could, but as this website is in English, and my French is abysmal, let’s stick to the English language version.
Set in Sainte-Monique-Des-Monts, Quebec, 1896, to be precise, you’re sent to a remote village that is potentially cursed. Your job is to remove? exorcise? – exercise(!?) the supposed evil that is causing the residents to do things… untoward. Be warned: there are some triggers here. It’s not a jumpscare, blood and guts experience, but a psychological one, with suicide themes.
The Whispering Valley, from Studio Chien d’Or, is a first-person point and click experience. However, note in your ‘what games to buy’ journal that it isn’t the conventional Monkey Island type of adventure but a first-person puzzle game. Think an understated 7th Guest without all the amateur dramatics. Not familiar with the game? Do some research. The internet is your frenemy.
The Whispering Valley Review
Booting this on the Steam Deck was as sexy as wearing socks to bed. It was clunky and fiddly to move around with no animation when navigating a room. Retiring to one’s study, a.k.a. the desktop, it became clear that this had nothing to do with the Deck and is based on that VR-like structure of clicking an area to progress to a new location. It’s a throwback to older games and a bit clumsy; it’s easy to click a place to explore, only to find it returns you to a location you’ve already been.
Still, putting The Whispering Valley on the desktop with everything set to ultra and 1440p was the ticket. The visuals in this game really are very nice – if incredibly dark – but it’s the sound design that won me over. The atmosphere was fantastic and had me uneasy (as it should), giving anyone with an overactive mind a rollercoaster of a ride about what’s going to happen next. It’s unlikely that ‘that thing’ you’re thinking will materialise, but again, it evokes some moods at the very least.
Without giving away too much of the plot, the gameplay is essentially puzzle-based, locating items to fill in the gaps and then the exploration, though the latter is quite limited. In some respects, The Whispering Valley reminded me of those old CDi games you would navigate using a CD/DVD remote. It looks great, but the level of interaction is minimalist. Any comparisons? A mixture of Dark Room and the upcoming Nascence, though the latter felt a little bit more eventful.
The Whispering Valley is an intriguing game. Before this iteration, there was a prelude called The Whisperer, which you could also check out. Alternatively, if you want to make that jump now, you can buy both for a reasonable price on Steam. Again, it’s a subtle experience with decent visuals, excellent sound production and certainly a memorable atmosphere, though it is reasonably short and might not offer much replay value. Unless you like loitering around in the dark, abandoned villages looking through the windows of the locals and petting their dogs.