I’m sure I’m not the only person out there who had a mom or dad who thought he should “be more social” and “stop playing so many video games”. Of course with the ever increasing popularity of online multiplayer games, these two things aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. But in these times of social distancing, how are you supposed to get that fix that only a conversation with a stranger at a bar can give you? Well, while it’s certainly not a perfect replacement, We Should Talk is an interesting and very unique conversation simulator with enough content to stretch its seemingly short playtime into a much deeper experience.
We Should Talk is a short story driven experience about relationships and communication. You play a woman just arriving at your usual watering hole for a quick drink. In the short time you’re there, you’ll interact with friends, strangers, and lovers and what you choose to say will make a difference. Whether in person, over text, friendly, or hostile, every conversation you have can be manipulated in your favor, as long as you’re careful. Characters will act flattered, offended, or any number of ways in response to what you say, so be sure to choose your words carefully.
Each sentence in We Should Talk is broken into parts that the player must put together in order to form the desired phrase. It can be difficult to tell exactly which words are important, but through subsequent playthroughs you will learn what different characters react to, which not only gives you more control over the narrative, but it also provides insight into each individual character’s personal experience. Though We Should Talk is incredibly short with a total playtime of about fifteen to twenty minutes, you’ll want to give the story multiple tries if you want to see everything the game has to offer. The short playtime means that each decision and scene was given more care than would’ve been possible, if the game were much longer, and this becomes obvious the more you experiment with the mechanics. With nine different endings, you’ll need to get creative to unlock those last few scenarios.
Victory in We Should Talk is largely determined by the individual player. Would you like to maintain a strong relationship with your current love interest or flirt with strangers? Do you support your ex and his passions, or do you insult his dreams and make him regret ever knowing you? With so little initial context, much of these choices are determined by how you perceive these characters in the moment. Is Steph, the bartender, being friendly, flirty, or nosy? It depends entirely on how you personally perceive your interaction with her which will, in turn, determine how you respond and how the night proceeds.
We Should Talk features a low poly aesthetic and a charming, laid back atmosphere. The neon lights and muffled music that form the bar environment fill me with a strange sense of nostalgia as most of the bars and restaurants near me are still shut down. Characters have unique designs, but can appear pretty stiff most of the time and their faces are a lot creepier than I think was intended.
We Should Talk is certainly not the longest or most beautiful game in your library, but I can say without a doubt that you have never played another game like it. The unique dialogue system is enough to give We Should Talk a shot, but the multiple endings, charming atmosphere, and interesting characters will keep you playing after your first playthrough. As consumers are bombarded by bigger and flashier worlds and mechanics, it’s nice to see a developer get back to the basics. To create something out of passion that provides a one-of-a-kind experience. We Should Talk provides that experience.